A new study has released data showing that young people’s beliefs about abortion are much more complex than mainstream media would have us believe.
In recent years, it’s been widely reported that the Millennials and Gen Z Generations (those falling in the 25-34 age range and 18-24 age ranges, respectively) are widely progressive and largely support abortion rights as defined by Roe v Wade. However, an online survey conducted by The Polling Company on behalf of Students for Life, a non-profit anti-abortion organization that focuses on college students, found otherwise.
Conducted between January 7 and 11, 2021, the survey targeted 800 registered voters age 18-34. Respondents self-identified as 30% Republican, 36% Democrat, and 34% Independent. They were 49% male and 51% female, and by race, they were 57% white or Caucasian, 15% black or African-American, 4% Asian or Pacific Island, and 21% Hispanic. While one in four was unaffiliated with any faith, the remaining breakdown included 29% Catholic; 15% Protestant; 12% Atheist/Agnostic; 10% other; 3% Jewish; 3% Muslim and 1% Mormon.
The findings of this diverse group were enlightening and showed that once the respondents knew the facts behind Roe v. Wade and the current laws in place, many changed their minds about the legality and ethics of abortion.
Here are some of the findings from the quantitative study:
1. Almost 7 out of 10 Millennials and Gen Z want to vote on abortion-related policy.
2. More than 7 out of 10 expressed support for limits on abortion.
3. More than 4 in 10 supported reversing Roe to allow the issue to return to the states where voters could engage.
4. In fact, more supported reversing Roe than opposed it. (44% to 36%)
5. Less than 2 out of 10 want unlimited abortion through all 9 months. (19%)
6. Heartbeat legislation has support. Almost half supported banning abortion after a heartbeat detected (usually at 3 weeks).
7. 6 out of 10 believe doctors should check for a heartbeat before performing or offering an abortion.
When asked which statement below best represented their thoughts on the topic of abortion, responders were split.
19% – Abortion should be allowed at any time during a woman’s pregnancy and for any reason
19% – Abortion should be legal only in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother
15% – Abortion should be legal for any reason, but not after five months of pregnancy when the fetus is viable and can feel pain
15% – Abortion should be prohibited in all circumstances
14% – Abortion should be legal for any reason, but not after the first three months of pregnancy
8% – Abortion should be legal only to save the life of the mother
9% – Unsure/Depends
2% – Refuse
Other findings from the study found that approximately half of millennials did not want their taxes going to abortion services. And more Millennials and Gen Z supported reversing Roe and sending abortion as an issue back to the states (44% for reversing and 36% against with 18% undecided.) Students for Life sees this as a direct and clear contradiction to the claims of abortion vendors.
Perhaps most noteworthy is that many of those polled changed their stance once the provisions of Roe v. Wade were explained to them. For instance, most had no idea that a woman can seek and receive an abortion through the entire 9 months of pregnancy (laws vary from state to state). Upon receiving this information, there was a shift in responses to 57% opposed and 30% in support.
Kristi Hamrick, Chief Media and Policy Strategist for Students for Life, said, “A billion-dollar abortion industry that profits from ending preborn lives tries to hide behind the Constitution and the ‘needs’ of mainly Millennials and Gen Z, whose interests they claim to address. But in fact, like most other Americans, Millennials and Gen Z don’t want all the abortion that has been forced on them. They support limits on abortion, reversing Roe to send the issue of abortion back to the states, as well as keeping tax monies away from abortion vendors, here in the U.S. or worldwide.”
“In the U.S., because of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton,” Hamrick continued, “abortion is possible through all 9 months, for any reason at all and sometimes with taxpayer funding. More than 80 percent of Millennials and Gen Z opposed that extremism.”
Hamrick sees the results of this survey as eye-opening to the realities of people’s sentiments. “To have an honest conversation about abortion, we need to hear from ordinary Americans and not just the highly connected and powerful abortion lobby,” she said.
Matt Lamb, Director of Communications for Students For Life of America and a Millennial himself, said his generation better understands the realities of abortion through education and technology. “This generation has the benefit of much better-advanced technology and so they can see a high-quality sonogram,” Lamb said. “Also, with new media it’s easier for them to go and see videos that we put out.”
Students for Life believes that if the population at large could stop seeing the abortion policy as untouchable and recognize it as a Supreme Court ruling made 50 years ago by 7 men, they might be encouraged to speak their minds more openly. This generation is considering the complexities of the issue and seeing options and policies that must change. One example is the Heartbeat Legislation that if passed, would limit abortions to the few weeks of pregnancy before a heartbeat can be detected. It is an option many would support, but has never gained ground due to inherent beliefs that Roe v. Wade will never be overturned.
While the information gleaned from this study is brand new, Students for Life plans on spreading the word about what these young people really think. Hamrick said, “Our findings will be shared with the American people to encourage them on the common ground possible on this issue as well as with legislators across the country who need to know that people, including the generations most targeted for abortions, agree with them.”
It is their hope that with true conversation and all the facts, new abortion legislation will be put in place at the state level to protect the unborn and give people the freedom to choose not to fund a medical decision for which they are fundamentally opposed.