Societal attitudes towards abortion

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Societal attitudes towards abortion have varied throughout different historical periods and cultures. One manner of assessing such attitudes in the modern era has been to conduct opinion polls to measure levels of public opinion on abortion.

Attitudes by region[edit]

Africa[edit]

  • South Africa: A 2003 Human Sciences Research Council study examined moral attitudes among South Africans:[1]
    • 56% said they believed that abortion is wrong even if there is a strong chance of serious defect in the fetus.
    • 70% said they believed that abortion is wrong if done primarily because the parents have low income and may be unable to afford another child.

Europe[edit]

  • Austria: A May 2007 OGM survey examined Austrian opinion on the morality of abortion, asking, "Personally, do you think of abortion as a moral issue?" 20% of those polled replied, "yes, always", 59% replied "yes, under certain circumstances", 19% replied "no, never", and 2% replied that they were "not sure".[2]
  • Czech Republic: A May 2007 CVVM poll found that 72% believe abortion in the Czech Republic should be allowed "at the request of the woman", 19% that it should be allowed for "societal reasons", 5% that it should be allowed only if "a woman’s health is at risk", 1% that it should be "banned".[3]
  • Republic of Ireland: A January 2010 Irish Examiner/RedC poll about abortion in Ireland found that 60% of 18-35 year olds felt abortion should be legalised, and 10% had been in a relationship in which an abortion had taken place.[4] A January 2010 opinion poll conducted by Millward Brown Landsdowne for the Pro Life Campaign found 70% of people questioned favored constitutional protection for the unborn under circumstances where intervention to save the mother's life was legal.[5] A January 2013 Paddy Power/Red C poll of 1,002 adults found that 29% of voters believed that there should be a constitutional amendment to allow abortion "in any case where the woman requests it". Support was highest at 37% among 18-35 year olds.[6]
  • Great Britain: A January 2010 Angus Reid Public Opinion poll asked "Do you think abortion should be legal under any circumstances, legal only under certain circumstances, or illegal in all circumstances?" 36% responded that they believe abortion should be legal in all circumstances, 55% that it should be legal in certain circumstances, and 3% that it should be illegal in all circumstances.[7]

2005 poll of ten countries[edit]

A May 2005 Euro RSCG/TNS Sofres poll examined attitudes toward abortion in 10 European countries, asking polltakers whether they agreed with the statement, "If a woman doesn't want children, she should be able to have an abortion". [8] Results were as follows:

Country "Very much" "A little" "Not really" "Not at all"
Czech Republic 66% 15% 8% 10%
Finland 54% 20% 9% 13%
France 55% 23% 8% 13%
Germany 40% 24% 10% 24%
Italy 29% 24% 16% 25%
Netherlands 37% 22% 11% 26%
Poland 23% 24% 19% 29%
Portugal 32% 20% 12% 30%
Spain 41% 18% 8% 27%
United Kingdom 43% 23% 10% 19%

Eastern Europe/Eurasia study[edit]

An April 2003 CDC/ORC Macro report examined sentiment on abortion among women aged 15 to 44 in six former-Comecon countries, asking, "Do you think that (in any situation) a woman always has (or should have) the right to decide about her (own) pregnancy, including whether to have an abortion?"[9] The results were:

Country Azerbaijan
(2001)
Czech Republic
(1993)
Georgia
(1999)
Moldova
(1997)
Romania
(1999)
Russia
(1996)
Yes 80% 85% 79% 81% 78% 72%
No 20% 15% 21% 19% 22% 28%

Among those whose response was "no" above, it was then asked if abortion would be acceptable under selected circumstances. Positive responses to this subsequent question were:

Country Azerbaijan
(2001)
Czech Republic
(1993)
Georgia
(1999)
Moldova
(1997)
Romania
(1999)
Russia
(1996)
If the pregnancy endangers woman's life 83% 91% 80% 71% 69% N/A
If the child might be born deformed 80% 74% 80% 88% 70% N/A
If pregnancy endangers woman's health 70% 72% 70% 38% 52% N/A
If pregnancy resulted from rape 67% 71% 40% 43% 42% N/A
If family cannot afford to support the child 65% 16% 23% 32% 29% N/A
If the woman is not married 66% 8% 22% 16% 23% N/A

North & Central America[edit]

  • Canada: A December 2001 Gallup poll about abortion in Canada, asked, "Do you think abortions should be legal under any circumstances, legal only under certain circumstances or illegal in all circumstances and in what circumstances?" 32% responded that they believe abortion should be legal in all circumstances, 52% that it should be legal in certain circumstances, and 14% that it should be legal in no circumstances.
  • Mexico: A November 2005 IMO poll about abortion in Mexico found that 73.4% think abortion should not be legalized while 11.2% think it should.[10]
  • Nicaragua: An August–September 2006 Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research poll on the legality of abortion to save a woman's life found that 20% of respondents felt strongly that it should be "legal", 49% felt somewhat that it should be "legal", 18% felt strongly that it should be "illegal", and 10% felt somewhat that it should be "illegal".[11]
  • Panama: A May 2005 Dichter & Neira/La Prensa poll found that 89.4% disagreed with abortion and 8.3% agreed.[12]
  • Canada: A January 2010 Angus Reid Public Opinion poll found that 40% of Canadians think abortion should be permitted in all cases, while 31% support it with some restrictions; 41% say the health care system should pay for abortions only in emergency cases; 53% say under-aged girls should need parental consent for abortions.[13]
  • United States: A January 2010 Angus Reid Public Opinion poll found that 30% of Americans think abortion should be permitted only in cases of rape, incest, or to save the woman’s life; 44% agree with banning abortion coverage through insurance companies subsidized by the government,while 42% disagree; 31% claim pregnant women don’t have enough information about alternatives to abortion.[14]
  • United States: A February 2007 CBS News poll about abortion in the U.S. asked, "What is your personal feeling about abortion?", and 30% said that it should be "permitted only in cases such as rape, incest or to save the woman's life", 31% said that abortion should be "permitted in all cases", 16% that it should be "permitted, but subject to greater restrictions than it is now", 12% said that it should "only be permitted to save the woman's life", and 5% said that it should "never" be permitted.[15] The Gallup poll has obtained the following results:[16][17]
Gallup opinion poll results in USA since 1975
2003 Poll 2000 Poll 1996 Poll
Legal Illegal Legal Illegal Legal Illegal
First trimester 66% 29% 66% 31% 64% 30%
Second trimester 25% 68% 24% 69% 26% 65%
Third trimester 10% 84% 8% 86% 13% 82%

Oceania & Australasia[edit]

  • A 2006 poll, conducted by Roy Morgan Research, asked, "Do you approve of the termination of unwanted pregnancies through surgical abortion?" 65% of the Australians polled stated that they approved of surgical abortion and 22% stated that they disapproved of it

South America[edit]

  • Argentina: A September 2011 survey conducted by the nonprofit organization Catholics for Choice found that 45% of Argentineans are in favor of abortion for any reason in the first twelve weeks. This same poll conducted in September 2011 also suggests that most Argentineans favor abortion being legal when a woman’s health or life is at risk (81%), when the pregnancy is a result of rape (80%) or the fetus has severe abnormalities (68%).[19]
  • Brazil: A March 2007 Datafolha/Folha de Sao Paulo poll found that 65% believe that their country's current law — which allows abortion in cases of rape or endangerment to life — "should not be modified", 16% that it should be expanded "to allow abortion in other cases", 10% that abortion should be "decriminalized", and 5% were "not sure".[20]
  • Chile: A July 2006 MORI survey found that 26% believe that abortion is "justified" while 74% believe that it is not.[21]
  • Colombia: A July 2005 YanHaas/Radio RCN poll found that 65.6% said they thought that abortion should remain illegal, 26.9% that it should be made legal, and 7.5% that they were unsure.[22]
  • Uruguay: A May 2007 Factum/El Espectador survey asked Uruguayans about a law under debate in their country's Senate, which would legalize abortion within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, finding that 61% support the law, 27% oppose the law, and 12% are unsure about it.[23]

Attitudes by religion[edit]

Christianity[edit]

An October 2006 Pew Research Center survey of moral opinion among Christians in 10 countries asked "... [Do] you think abortion can always be justified, sometimes be justified, or never be justified?"[24][unreliable source?][verification needed][dubious ]

Country "Always justified" "Sometimes justified" "Never justified"
Brazil 4% 16% 79%
Chile 4% 23% 71%
Guatemala 3% 10% 85%
India (localities) 9% 19% 68%
Kenya n/a 11% 88%
Nigeria 1% 4% 94%
Philippines n/a 3% 97%
South Africa 8% 16% 73%
South Korea 0% 45% 54%
United States 5% 46% 45%

The poll also asked respondents whether they agreed with the statement, "The government should not interfere with a woman’s ability to have an abortion".

Country "Completely agree" "Mostly agree" "Mostly disagree" "Completely disagree"
Brazil 35% 13% 15% 34%
Chile 22% 24% 23% 25%
Guatemala 31% 27% 11% 28%
India (localities) 24% 22% 18% 33%
Kenya 14% 4% 12% 69%
Nigeria 20% 10% 18% 46%
Philippines 12% 13% 18% 56%
South Africa 21% 25% 19% 28%
South Korea 6% 56% 31% 3%
United States 40% 24% 12% 20%

Among physicians[edit]

A survey in the United States of more than 10,000 physicians (not only obstetricians) came to the result that 34% of physicians would perform an abortion in certain situations, even if it were against own beliefs. Approximately 54% would not, and for the remaining 12%, it would depend on circumstances.[25]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Rule, Stephen. (2004). Rights or wrongs? Public attitudes towards moral values. HSRC Review, 2 (3). Retrieved March 25, 2007.
  2. ^ "Abortion Sometimes a Moral Issue, Say Austrians." (June 3, 2007). Angus Reid Global Monitor. Retrieved June 20, 2007.
  3. ^ "Most in Czech Republic Support Abortion Rights." (June 10, 2007). Angus Reid Global Monitor. Retrieved June 20, 2007.
  4. ^ Irish Examiner - Survey: 60% in favour of legal abortion
  5. ^ http://www.prolifecampaign.ie/userfiles/PLC_Opinion_Poll_Published_15_04_2010-1%5B1%5D%282%29.jpg
  6. ^ Red C Opinion Poll, January 10th 2013
  7. ^ "Half of Britons Say NHS Should Only Fund Abortions in Emergency Cases." (January 13, 2010). Angus Reid Public Opinion. Retrieved January 16, 2010.
  8. ^ EURO RSCG; TNS Sofres. (May 2005). "European Values". Retrieved 2007-06-17.  (associated article)
  9. ^ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; ORC Macro. (April 2003). "Reproductive, Maternal and Child Health in Eastern Europe and Eurasia: A Comparative Report". Retrieved 2007-06-17. 
  10. ^ "Mexicans Support Status Quo on Social Issues." (December 1, 2005). Angus Reid Global Monitor. Retrieved January 10, 2006.
  11. ^ "Nicaraguans Favour Abortion in Some Cases." (December 4, 2006). Angus Reid Global Monitor. Retrieved January 10, 2006.
  12. ^ "Panamanians Reject Abortion, Same-Sex Marriage." (May 23, 2005). Angus Reid Global Monitor. Retrieved January 10, 2006.
  13. ^ "Many Canadians Would Like to See Restrictions on Abortion Procedures." (January 15, 2010). Angus Reid Public Opinion. Retrieved January 16, 2010.
  14. ^ "Split on Covering Abortion in Insurance Plans that Use Federal Subsidies." (January 14, 2010). Angus Reid Public Opinion. Retrieved January 16, 2010.
  15. ^ The Polling Report. (2006). Retrieved January 11, 2006.
  16. ^ The Polling Report. (2008). Retrieved 2008-09-10.
  17. ^ See Saad, "Americans Walk the Middle Road on Abortion," The Gallup Poll Monthly (April 2000); Gallup Poll Topics from Florida Right to Life. Retrieved 2007-01-12.
  18. ^ Grattan, Michelle. (February 16, 2005). "Poll backs abortion laws." The Age. Retrieved January 11, 2006.
  19. ^ "Views on Changing the Law on Abortion in Argentina". Belden Russonello Strategists LLC. October 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-22. 
  20. ^ "Brazilians Want to Keep Abortion as Crime." (April 12, 2007). Angus Reid Global Monitor. Retrieved June 20, 2007.
  21. ^ "Chileans Slowly Becoming More Liberal. (October 2, 2006). Angus Reid Global Monitor. Retrieved January 10, 2006.
  22. ^ "Colombians Reject Legalizing Abortion. (August 2, 2005). Angus Reid Global Monitor. Retrieved January 10, 2006.
  23. ^ "Uruguayans Support Legalizing Abortion. (June 1, 2007). Angus Reid Global Monitor. Retrieved June 20, 2007.
  24. ^ The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. (October 5, 2006). Spirit and Power: A 10-Country Survey of Pentecostals. Retrieved February 13, 2007.
  25. ^ Doctors Struggle With Tougher-Than-Ever Dilemmas: Other Ethical Issues Author: Leslie Kane. 11/11/2010