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Fact check: Most Americans do not oppose abortion

Shared on Facebook and Instagram in the days leading up to the Nov. 3 general election, a post from the U.S. anti-abortion group Live Action alleges that “The pro-life position is a majority position.” This claim that most Americans oppose abortion access is false. The post also makes several other statements outside the scope of this fact check.

Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS

Examples of posts making this claim can be foundhere , here , and here .

The posts follow the Republican-led Senate’s Oct. 26 confirmation of Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett just over a week before the U.S. presidential election. Her appointment potentially establishes a 6-3 conservative majority on the Court, which could potentially lead to a court decision that would roll back U.S. abortion rights ( here ).

Live Action’s claim that “the pro-life position is a majority position” is false when the results of various polls are taken into account.

A Reuters Ipsos poll conducted in May 2019 ( here ) found that a clear majority of Americans (55%) said that abortion should be legal in most or all cases, that facilities that provide abortion services should be allowed to remain in operation (73%), and that the Supreme Court should maintain the legal right to abortion (80%).

The poll also found that Americans have a nuanced view of the issue. Thirteen percent of those polled said abortion should be illegal in all cases, while 24% said abortion should be illegal in most cases. Meanwhile 28% said abortion should be legal in most cases and 26% said abortion should be legal in all cases. Nine percent of respondents said they were unsure.

The annual results for Gallup's Values and Beliefs poll conducted every May concluded that out of the 1,028 Americans it polled, 48% self-identified as “pro-choice,” 46% as identified as “pro-life,” and 6% said they had no opinion.here )

The social media posts also stated that “the pro-life movement is full of young people.” While it may be true that there are many young adherents to the anti-abortion movement, it is worth noting that 53% of Gallup poll respondents between the ages of 18 and 34 said they were “pro-choice,” 43% said they were “pro-life” and 4% said they were unsure.  An article in The Guardian newspaper explores the views of young Americans on the abortion issue,  here .

A Pew Research Center poll published in Aug. 2019 found that ( here ), “public support for legal abortion remains as high as it has been in two decades of polling. Currently, 61% say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, while 38% say it should be illegal in all or most cases.” Seventy percent of respondents between the ages of 18 and 29 said that abortion should be legal in either all or most cases.

VERDICT

Partly false. The majority of Americans do not identify as “pro-life” or oppose abortion. Other statements made in the posts go beyond the scope of this fact check.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our work to fact-check social media posts here . 

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