Survey: Most Americans Think Abortion Hurts Women

Survey: Most Americans Think Abortion Hurts Women

New Nationwide Wirthlin Poll Confirms Elliot Institute Findings

A new, nationwide Wirthlin poll has found that a significant majority of Americans believe that abortion is “almost always bad” for women, echoing an earlier Elliot Institute poll that found that the majority of Americans believe abortion generally makes women’s lives worse rather than better.

The new scientific poll of 1001 respondents was conducted by Wirthlin Worldwide on behalf of Americans United for Life. According to pollsters, 61 percent of the respondents said that “abortion is almost always a bad thing for a woman,” compared to only 23 percent who said that it was almost always a good thing.

The poll also asked whether the respondent personally knew someone who had undergone an abortion, with 64 percent saying yes. Of that 64 percent, 55 percent said that based on their observation, the abortion was “generally a negative experience” for the woman, with 40 percent saying they felt that the experience had been generally positive.

The Elliot Institute’s own national opinion survey of 600 adults, which was conducted in December 2002, found that 52 percent of Americans believe abortion “generally makes women’s lives worse,” with only 16 percent saying that they believed it makes their lives better.

Notably, women of all political persuasions were more likely than men to believe abortion is damaging to women, with “pro-choice” women being 43 percent less likely than “pro-choice” men to believe that abortion improves women’s lives.

The Elliot Institute poll also found that 80 percent of Americans believe that women experienced moderate to severe emotional problems after abortion, with 74 to 90 percent believing that abortion clinics do not fully disclose the emotional risks of abortion to women. Even among the most “pro-choice” respondents, only a minority believed clinics fully informed women of the risks.

“These findings show that the public’s eyes are being opened to the fact that abortion harms women, often from personally seeing a woman struggle with the aftermath of abortion,” said Elliot Institute director Dr. David Reardon. “They also underscore the importance of efforts to educate the public on the risks of abortion–efforts that are apparently already taking hold with Americans.”

Originally published in The Post-Abortion Review 12(4) Oct.-Dec. 2004. Copyright 2004 Elliot Institute.

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