April 4, 2024

A Record Amount of People Say Abortion Should Be Legal… But With the Wrong Questions Data Can Say Anything


The term “fake news” gets thrown around quite a bit – though not as much since Donald Trump left the White House. Regardless, there’s a certain suitability to the term when it comes to a recent news report from Fox News claiming the number of people who want abortion legalized is at a record high:  

“Nearly two years after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, a record number of voters think abortion should be legal, with two-thirds favoring nationwide law guaranteeing access, according to a Fox News national survey.  

Fifty-nine percent think abortion should be legal in all or most cases, up from the previous high of 57% in September 2022 and a record low of 44% in April 2022.  

Support for legalization is up (mostly by double-digits) across the board since April 2022, two months before Roe was overturned. That includes increased support among voters ages 65 and older (+16 points should be legal), conservatives (+12), Republicans (+11), and White evangelical Christians (+10).  

Overall, just 7% think abortion should never be permitted, while five times as many say it always should be (35%). Another one-third (32%) say abortion should be illegal except in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother.” 

A poll is only good as the question it asks. Fox even acknowledges that fact when it says, “While the change in views on 6-week and 15-week bans look like genuine movement, it cannot be ruled out that minor edits to question wording and ordering made a difference.” 

This only confirms what we’ve been saying since January through Students for Life of America’s (SFLA)’s You Gov/Demetree Institute for Pro-Life Advancement Findings. 

Specifically, our polling of youth voters shows heartbeat protections or better are the top choice for respondents, with 37% supporting; 17% said abortion protection for preborn life should begin at conception and another 20% said that protection from abortion should begin when a child’s heartbeat is detected. This compares similarly to what Fox News found in their own data, with 38% of voters in favor of protections for preborn life before six weeks of pregnancy.  

The importance of good questions is most clear with the polling around Chemical Abortion Pills. Their reporting showed that 68% support “legalizing Mifepristone.” One problem: it’s already legal. And the issue isn’t whether it’s sold legally in some locations, but rather why it should be sold considering the known and established risks it poses to women and girls, and to the environment at large.  



SFLA’s YouGov poll of youth voters shows that more than nine in ten opposed the Biden Administration’s stripping of health and safety regulations that were in place to protect women and young girls from injury, infertility, death, and exploitation by abusers. Conducting studies on the potential environmental impact of waste and drugs related to abortion, more than nine in ten (91%) said that it was somewhat to extremely important to have environmental testing.  

Another faulty position presented by Fox News is that about 2/3 support “a national law guaranteeing access” to legal abortion. But the YouGov poll shows that only 9% supported the Democratic Party’s radical agenda of abortion through all nine months without limits, up to and including allowing infanticide. 

Again, where are the limits in the question that Fox poses? It’s unclear, and not the basis for a victory lap by the pro-abortion movement, nor a doom and gloom moment for the Pro-Life Generation.  

Good data matters, but it’s only as good as the questions being asked.