Poll: Most Americans Believe Abortion Should Be Legal in the First Trimester

A new study finds that a majority of Americans believe abortion should be legal in the first three months of a woman’s pregnancy, with opposition to abortion rising in the second and third trimesters. The poll sheds new light on one of the most heated issues in the U.S. as the nation gears up for what could be a decisive Supreme Court decision around a controversial Mississippi law that bans abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. If the law is upheld, it would be a major victory for abortion opponents.

The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found 61 percent of Americans believe abortion should be legal in all or most circumstances in the first trimester. However, 65 percent said abortion should be illegal in all or most circumstances in the second trimester and that number goes up to 80 percent in the third.

There is a little bit of nuance though. For example, while Americans are very evenly split on whether or not women should be able to get an abortion for any reason (49 percent say yes. 50 percent say no.), majorities among both Republicans and Democrats say women should be able to get an abortion in cases or rape, incest, or if her life is in danger. Just 13 percent believe abortion should be illegal in all cases. Similarly, just 23 percent believe it should be legal in all cases. 33 percent say it should be legal in most cases. 30 percent say it should be illegal in most cases.

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The survey was taken of 1,125 adults on an AmeriSpeak Panel, which is meant to be representative of the American populace.

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