U.S.: Moral Stance on Abortion, by year
YearMorally acceptable,
in %
Morally wrong,
in %
Depends on situation,
in %
2001424511
200238538
200337539
200440508
200540518
2006434411
200740517
2008404810
200936566
201038509
201139517
201238519
201342498
201442488
201545458
201643479
201743497
201843487
201942506
202044479
202147466
202252389
202352416
  • Region: United States
  • Time period: 2001 to 2023
  • Published: Apr 2024

Data Analysis and Insights

Updated: Apr 10, 2024 | Published by: Statistico | About Us / Data / Analysis

Sharp Increase in Moral Acceptability of Abortion in Recent Years

Between 2021 and 2023, the percentage of Americans who view abortion as morally acceptable leaped from 47% to 52%, marking the most significant increase over the dataset. In contrast, those considering it morally wrong decreased from 46% to 41%. This trend underscores a notable shift in public opinion, with a growing majority now viewing abortion through a morally acceptable lens.

Steady Decline in Percentage of Americans Who Find Abortion Morally Wrong

The data reveals a steady decline in the percentage of Americans who believe abortion is morally wrong, decreasing from a peak of 56% in 2009 to 41% in 2023. This trend highlights a significant shift in moral perspectives over the last decade, suggesting a growing tolerance or acceptance of abortion.

Reduction in Those Who Believe the Morality of Abortion Depends on the Situation

From 2001 to 2023, there was a noticeable decrease in the percentage of Americans who think the morality of abortion depends on the situation, dropping from 11% to 6%. This reduction suggests that over time, more Americans have adopted definitive stances on the issue, with fewer people remaining ambivalent or conditional in their moral assessment of abortion.

Historical Peaks of Moral Opposition and Acceptance

The dataset indicates a historical peak in moral opposition to abortion in 2009, with 56% considering it morally wrong. In contrast, the peak of moral acceptability was reached in 2022 and 2023, with 52% viewing it as morally acceptable. These peaks illustrate the fluctuating nature of American attitudes towards abortion, marked by periods of heightened opposition and acceptance.

Tightest Gap in Moral Views on Abortion

In 2015, the data presents the tightest gap between those who view abortion as morally acceptable and those who see it as morally wrong, both at 45%. This year signifies a pivotal moment where American society was evenly divided on the moral acceptability of abortion, reflecting a balanced contention in public opinion.

Dependence on Situation Remains a Minor Factor

Throughout the years, the percentage of Americans who believe the morality of abortion depends on the situation has consistently remained the minority viewpoint, never exceeding 11%. This consistently low percentage underscores that, for most Americans, their moral stance on abortion is absolute, not conditional on specific circumstances.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most significant increase in the percentage of Americans who view abortion as morally acceptable?

From 2021 to 2023, the percentage of Americans who view abortion as morally acceptable increased from 47% to 52%, marking the most significant increase in the dataset.

How has the percentage of Americans who believe abortion is morally wrong changed over the years?

The percentage of Americans who believe abortion is morally wrong has steadily decreased from a peak of 56% in 2009 to 41% in 2023.

What trend is evident in the moral view of abortion depending on the situation?

From 2001 to 2023, there was a noticeable decrease in the percentage of Americans who think the morality of abortion depends on the situation, dropping from 11% to 6%.

Terms and Definitions

Abortion refers to the termination of a pregnancy by removing or expelling an embryo or fetus from the uterus. This procedure can be carried out either through medication or surgery.

Pro-life is a term representing a perspective opposing the practice of abortion and supporting life at all stages, from conception through to natural death. Proponents argue the right to life of the fetus, often originating from moral, ethical, or religious beliefs.

This is a term representing a viewpoint endorsing a woman's right to choose whether to continue or terminate a pregnancy. Pro-choice advocates argue for the right to control one's own body and reproductive decisions.

A moral stance refers to an individual's or society's position on issues of right and wrong, good and evil. It is often influenced by personal beliefs, cultural norms, religious doctrines, or philosophical principles.

Legislation refers to the laws or a set of laws made and enforced by a governing body. In the context of abortion, it references policies that either permit, limit, or prohibit the procedure.

Roe v. Wade is a landmark judicial case in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that unduly restrictive state regulation of abortion is unconstitutional and that women have a constitutional right to a safe and legal abortion.

Planned Parenthood refers to a not-for-profit organization that provides reproductive health services. It supports and advocates for legislation related to reproductive rights, including the right to safe and legal abortions.

Fetal personhood is a concept asserting that a fetus has legal and moral rights. This often includes the right to life from conception, which is a central argument in some anti-abortion philosophies.

Contraception refers to methods or devices used to prevent pregnancy. It's a part of reproductive rights, empowering individuals and couples to decide when or whether they want to have children. Contraceptive use and access can significantly impact abortion rates.
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Abortion refers to the termination of a pregnancy at any stage before birth, often sparking both medical and ethical debates worldwide. Read more »
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