Yuma Sun

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 letters@yumasun.com.

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