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Americans' Abortion Views Steady Amid Gosnell Trial

  • Religion Today Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
  • 2013 May 11

As Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell awaits the jury verdict in his murder trial, a new Gallup poll finds 26 percent of Americans saying abortion should be legal under any circumstances, 20 percent saying it should be illegal in all circumstances, and the majority -- 52 percent -- opting for something in between, as has been the case in nearly every Gallup measure of the question since 1975. The current views on the legality of abortion, conducted May 2-7, are nearly identical to those from Gallup's prior measures in December and May 2012. Although the survey was conducted after much of the testimony in Gosnell's trial had already been reported in the news, the stability in Americans' views about the legality of abortion suggests the trial has not swayed public opinion. Part of the reason could be that relatively few Americans are paying attention to it. One quarter of Americans say they have followed news of the case either very closely (7 percent) or somewhat closely (18 percent), but that is well below the 61-percent average level of attention Americans have paid to the more than 200 news stories Gallup has measured since 1991. An additional 20 percent of Americans say they are following it "not too closely," while 54 percent say "not at all." This makes the Gosnell case one of the least-followed news stories Gallup has measured.