U.S. men, women mostly share views on abortion as clinics disappear

By Susan McFarland  |  June 14, 2018 at 12:13 PM
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June 14 (UPI) -- A new Gallup poll Thursday said women's abortion views largely align with men's, and that the genders differ only slightly in their descriptions of being pro- or anti-abortion.

Gallup said it added data recently to its 2010 analysis of gender differences in views of abortion to include several more years. Researchers said it shows the same pattern as data that dates to the 1970s.

"Over the past three decades, men and women have consistently held similar views about the extent to which abortion should be legal," Gallup said.

The numbers show 31 percent of women and 26 percent of men say abortion should be entirely allowed by law. Forty-two percent of female college graduates said they agree.

The survey offered three choices on abortion status -- legal in all circumstances, illegal in all circumstances or legal in only certain circumstances.

Since 1990, those who say abortion should be allowed in all circumstances only differ by 4 points per gender.

Gender aside, Americans remain split on the issue. Gallup's annual Values and Beliefs poll this week showed 48 percent oppose abortion and 48 percent support the practice.

The split follows a similar divide shown in past Gallup polls. When the question was first asked in the 1990s, 51 percent supported abortion, compared to 40 percent opposed. The gap narrowed in the 2000s, when the split became 47-46 percent in favor of legalization.

Monday's survey said half of Americans said abortion should be legal only in certain circumstances, 29 percent said it should be legal in all circumstances and 11 percent said it should be illegal outright.

No matter the viewpoint, some women seeking abortions say it's getting tougher to find a clinic to have the procedure, as states pass tighter restrictions.

Several clinics have recently closed in Iowa, Louisiana, and Arkansas, states that are also rolling out new laws shortening the time frame that women can seek legal abortions.

Last month, Iowa passed its so-called "Heartbeat Law," which bans nearly all abortions when a doctor can detect a fetal heartbeat. It's been put on hold, though, until legal challenges can be resolved.

"Arkansas has always been a hostile state toward abortion and with the new administration, it's kind of emboldened state legislators to continue to make regulations to limit access," Dr. Stephanie Ho, an abortion provider in Arkansas, told ABC News.

Arkansas and six other states -- West Virginia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming -- have just one abortion clinic. In Texas and Arizona, the number of clinics have been cut to less than half what they were just seven years ago.

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