America is split down the middle when it comes to the topic of abortion, according to a new poll. The poll, released by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), garnered national attention by the size of its survey, which was over 40,000 Americans. The study found that 54% support legalized abortion “in all (23%) or most (31%) cases, while (40%) believe that abortion should be illegal in most (25%) or all (15%) of cases.” While the study revealed that Americans are divided on the topic of abortion, two questions within the study garnered encouraging responses for the pro-life movement.
First, 77% of Americans believe that birth control should be provided for low-income women through government insurance programs, but 48% don’t think those same programs should cover abortion procedures. This is significant because it underscores the fact that a majority of Americans do not support taxpayer funded abortion. “Solid majorities of all major religious groups in the U.S. support government-backed health insurance programs covering contraceptives,” the survey said. “Those numbers decline among all religious groups on support for covering abortion.
Second, the poll revealed that 27% of pro-life voters will only vote for a candidate who aligns with their pro-life beliefs, while only 18% of pro-choice voters will only vote for someone that holds their abortion beliefs. This shows that while pro-lifers will be motivated to vote specifically on the issue of abortion, those on the pro-choice side are less likely to do so. When comparing the study to the exact 2014 version, there is little to no difference in the polling numbers, but the differences noted in this study “are statically significant” and tell a bigger story, according to Natalie Jackson, the director of research for the Public Religion Research Institute.
The survey, which is segmented by religious beliefs, shows that, although white Catholics are in line with the rest of the nation when it comes to being split on abortion, Hispanic Catholics are a different story. “When we pull out the Hispanic and Latino population they’re divided heavily by religion and by place of birth. A healthy minority of Hispanics are evangelical, and the study looked at the attitudes of Hispanics born in the United States, Puerto Rico and Latin America separately.” The study showed that while 55% of non-white Catholics support abortion, compared to 37% who don’t, 52% of Hispanics do not support abortion, while only 41% do support it.
Out of all respondents surveyed, Hispanic Catholics were most likely to say they became less supportive over abortion, as opposed to those who had become more supportive. Comparing this statistic to those of white Catholics, it seems to be a dramatic change. According to the survey, 9% of white Catholics said that they have become less supportive of abortion, while 8% said they are more supportive. Although the changes in statistics are small, they could weigh positively for the pro-life movement. Abortion has been and will continue to be one of the most controversial issues in the upcoming election cycles. Pray that the hearts of people in America are changed to the gravity of abortion.