Abortion issue is not a black and white one
Pew poll finds lots of shades of gray on americans’ views
One of the most polarizing topics in America right now is abortion.
It’s been a hotly debated topic for years, but really rose to the forefront in early May, when a leaked draft opinion suggested that the Supreme Court could be ready to overturn Roe v. Wade – the case that legalized abortion across the nation.
It’s important to note that the draft opinion is a draft – it’s by no means the final document. But it is an indication that a change could be ahead.
Abortion, like any other subject, isn’t a clear-cut black and white issue. There are a variety of shades of gray, too. The Pew Research Center notes it isn’t a binary subject.
“Relatively few Americans on either side of the debate take an absolutist view on the legality of abortion – either supporting or opposing it at all times, regardless of circumstances,” Pew notes.
That’s an important point in this whole conversation that we often don’t hear or consider.
Pew conducted a survey March 7-13, 2022, on the public attitudes regarding abortion, well before the leaked Supreme Court draft.
Take a look at the results, according to Pew:
• Nearly 1 in 5 U.S. adults (19%) say abortion should be legal in all cases, with no exceptions
• 8% said abortion should be illegal in every case, without exception
• 71% either say it should be mostly legal or mostly illegal, or say there are exceptions to their blanket support for, or opposition to, legal abortion.
• 61% say abortion should be legal in all or most circumstances, vs. 37% who say it should be illegal in all or most circumstances.
And that’s where the shades of gray come into play. Pew notes that for many respondents, circumstances are important. For those who generally support abortion rights, the timing of the abortion – in regards to how far along the pregnancy is – should be a factor in determining its legality, according to 56% of the responses.
Other variables that were considered included whether or not the pregnancy threatened the woman’s life or health, if the pregnancy was the result of rape. For respondents who generally oppose abortion, 46% said it should still be legal if the woman’s life was threatened, and 36% said it should be legal if it was the result of a rape.
And overall, when factoring in all respondents, most people – 72% – say that “the decision about whether to have an abortion should belong solely to the pregnant woman” describes their views at least somewhat well, Pew notes.
And, 56% say the same about the statement “human life begins at conception, so a fetus is a person with rights.”
America isn’t a nation of absolutes – and abortion is no exception to that. It’s often portrayed as a “pro-life vs pro-choice” world out there, but if the Pew research is any indication, that’s not necessarily the case.
Here’s the question for you, Yuma. Where do you stand on the abortion issue? Is it a clear-cut, black and white issue, or are there shades of gray for you? And why? Let us know. Share your thoughts with a letter to the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.