What are American and Western European Views on the Legality of Abortion?

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Image: Bethania Palmer, Snopes, 2018.

According to the Pew Research Center (2017), majorities in every one of the 15 Western European nations surveyed take liberal positions on abortion, saying they support legal abortion in all or most cases (with a median of 81%).

People mostly likely to take these views are in Sweden (94%), Denmark (92%) and Finland (87%). The lowest three of the nations surveyed where people are to take liberal positions on abortion are Ireland (66%), Italy (65%), and Portugal (60%). A median of 75% of Christians surveyed say abortion should be legal in all or most cases. Christians who are “highly” observant to their faith are far less supportive of legal abortion when compared to “less” observant Christians. 87% of religiously unaffiliated adults support legal abortion in all or most cases. Women and men show similar levels of support for legal abortion with the exceptions of Norway and Portugal, where men are more likely to support it. This might be explained due to the fact that women in these countries show higher levels of religious observance, which goes hand in hand with more opposition to abortion.

Views on the legality of abortion are much lower in the United States where 58% of U.S. adults according to a 2018 Pew survey said that it should be legal. 37% of Americans believe abortion should be illegal in most or all cases. There is little to distinguish in number between blacks (60%) and whites (61%) who say that abortion should be legal in all or most cases. Hispanics evidence a greater division as 49% support legal abortion while 44% say it should be illegal in all or most cases. The religious group most likely to view abortion to be morally wrong is evangelical Protestants (77%), while just 24% of the religiously unaffiliated see it similarly. Jehovah’s Witnesses (75%) and Mormons (70%) say abortion should be illegal in all or most cases

 

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