Washington D.C., Feb 25, 2019 / 12:00 pm (CNA).- Recent poll shows a 17-point increase in the number of Americans who identify as pro life, up from 38 percent earlier this year. The results follow a month in which several states passed expansive new pro-abortion measures.
According to the Marist/Knights of Columbus poll, released February 25, equal percentages of Americans now identify as pro-life and pro-choice. This is the first time since 2009 that the number of self-identified pro-life Americans is equal to or greater than the number calling themselves pro-choice.
Barbara Carvalho, director of The Marist Poll, said the figures suggest that recent efforts to remove legal restrictions on the procedure, and widen the availability of abortion up to the point of birth, may have led to more people identifying themselves as pro-life.
“Current proposals that promote late-term abortion have reset the landscape and language on abortion in a pronounced – and very measurable – way,” she said in a press release.
The numbers represent a significant change following a similar poll in January, with the largest shift in opinion registered among Democrats and people under the age of 45.
The number of Democrats calling themselves pro-life increased by 14 percentage points since January. Marist found that more than a third of Democrats (34 percent) say they are pro-life, up from one in five only a few weeks ago.
Over the same period, the proportion of Democrats identifying as pro-choice dropped from 75 percent to 61 percent. Political independents are split almost equally on the subject, with 46 percent saying they are pro-life and 48 percent pro-choice.
Young people also registered a broad change in opinion on abortion over the last month.
The February poll also showed a 19 point jump in pro-life identification among people under 45 years old. Forty-seven percent of people under the age of 45 now say they are pro-life, compared to 48 percent who say they are pro-choice.
One month ago, only 28 percent of people under the age of 45 said they were pro-life.
Since January, the number of Americans who identify as pro-choice has dropped from 55 percent to 47 percent. The number of Americans who identify as pro-life increased from 38 percent in January to 47 percent in February.
Since the release of a similar poll in January,, New York and Vermont have both passed bills removing most restrictions on abortion and allowing abortion to take place throughout a pregnancy.
A similar bill in Virginia failed in committee. During a hearing, the bill’s sponsor admitted there was nothing that would prevent an abortion from being performed while a woman was in active labor.
Both the January and February poll results showed that Americans are broadly opposed to late-term abortions at the center of several new laws in several states. An overwhelming margin of respondents—71 percent to 25 percent—said that they believed abortion should not be legal during the third trimester. This figure includes 60 percent of Democrats.
Only 18 percent of respondents said that they believed abortion should be legal until the moment of birth.
Eighty percent of Americans, up five points over last month, said they believed abortion should be limited to the first trimester of a pregnancy, including 65 percent of pro-choice respondents.
The poll surveyed 1,008 Americans between Feb. 12 and Feb. 17 with a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points.