Last week I posted about training Oregon Right to Life students on how to persuasively articulate their pro-life views. I had them survey people on the streets of Portland using a simple abortion questionnaire. Although this was far from being a statistically relevant, scientific, or perfect survey, the results were still interesting. Most people the students talked to (in the predominately liberal city of Portland) did not fall into the abortion-for-any-reason camp. 74% preferred there were fewer abortions and 77% felt that abortion shouldn’t be used as a form of birth control. It was also encouraging to see a majority of people (74%) believing we should attempt to persuade abortion-minded women to choose adoption instead.
Another interesting finding was that many people who indicated they were pro-choice still opposed abortion for the majority of reasons that abortions are done in the United States. Data from the Guttmacher Institute indicates that at least 86% of abortions are done for socio-economic reasons (can’t afford another child, don’t want another child, timing is wrong for another child, don’t want to be a single mother, not mature enough to be a mother, would interfere with education/career). This makes one wonder about national poll data that cites that 46% of Americans are pro-choice. Although they identify themselves as pro-choice, our survey results suggest (no, it’s not a representative sampling – I know) they would oppose the vast majority of abortions that take place in our country.
Finally, and as expected, there was a consistent pattern of moral relativism. People felt that abortion was wrong for many of the reasons that abortions are done, but weren’t as willing to claim that abortion should be made illegal for those same reasons. It’s the “I’m personally against abortions done for X reason, but I don’t believe we should make it illegal” position.