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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Americans on Abortion: "Who Cares? Keep it Legal."

Posted by Sarah Mirk on Thu, Jan 17, 2013 at 11:59 AM

Next week is the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision on abortion rights that, it turns out, a majority of Americans under 30 don't know anything about.

In fact, a new poll from the Pew Center on attitudes toward abortion shows that fewer Americans think abortion is a "critical" political issue than ever in the past 40 years. Instead, abortion is less of political wedge than in previous years and 63 percent people surveyed want the court to keep the protections of Roe v. Wade intact.

This isn't like same-sex marriage, where many young people hold more liberal views than their parents. In the Pew study, age groups from 18-year-olds to 65-year-olds feel about the same on Roe v. Wade (with over 60 percent supporting the ruling). Support drops off to 52 percent among those older than 52. There's also, surprisingly, no major split on the issue depending on gender. The deciding factors in the recent study are education level (with support for abortion rights climbing with education completed) and religion (with a whopping 82 percent of "religiously unaffiliated" supporting abortion rights).

While abortion is still clearly an important issue for some people, it seems like its continued presence at the top of Republican political agendas has more to do with rhetoric than Americans' actual interest in rolling back abortion rights.

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