Here's the third question from our 10/18 CSUN survey: "Up until what point do you think abortion should be legal in the US?" As with question two, respondents were shown panel two of the Justice For All Exhibit brochure and asked to pick which stage of development marked the time when abortion should be illegal.
Abortion should not be legal: 26%
2 Cell Conceptus: 4%
4 Week: 20%
7 Week: 14%
2nd Trimester: 12%
3rd Trimester: 6%
Partially Born: 4%
It's true, a survey of 191 college students cannot provide a statistically significant sampling of what Americans believe in general about abortion. At the very least though, this data should be interesting to anyone creating or reading abortion opinion polls. Why? Because two things differentiate this poll from most abortion opinion polls.
1. Respondents were encouraged to connect their opinion of when abortion should be legal to real pictures of the unborn at that stage.
2. Respondents were given the chance to be specific about their abortion opinion. Instead of having only three broad categories to choose from (first, second, and third trimesters), respondents were asked to pinpoint more specifically the exact developmental stage where they thought abortion should be made illegal.
And unlike many polls with more general questions, a majority of people surveyed thought abortion should be illegal even in portions of the first trimester:
60% of people surveyed think abortion should be illegal after 4 weeks (in other words, virtually all surgical abortion should be illegal)
74% believe abortion should be illegal after the child is 7 weeks old
Similar to other polling data, support for abortion is completely emaciated after the first trimester:
86% of people surveyed believe abortion should be illegal after the unborn child is 13 weeks old.
So here's a question for all of us: "If a poll asks for opinions about abortion in general, without reference to specific images of fetal development or moments in fetal development, does the poll really tell us anything about what real people think about abortion? Or does it only tell us how people feel emotionally about the word abortion?"
Let us know what you think by clicking "comments" below.
Next post: "What do you think about parental notification and consent?"