The percentages of Americans calling themselves “pro-life” and “pro-choice” are essentially the same (47% for pro-life; 46% for pro-choice). Meanwhile, the positions they hold–a more useful indicator than the labels people choose for themselves–haven’t budged. A solid 78% think abortion should be legal in some or all circumstances.
Reporter Amy Sullivan also notes that one of the more interesting aspects of the poll is that about 60% of people who describe themselves as “pro-life” think abortion should be legal in at least some circumstances.
Anti-abortion activists would say they’re not really pro-life, just like they insist that politicians like Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) who support the use of contraception to prevent unwanted pregnancies should not be described as pro-life. But clearly many Americans are comfortable thinking of themselves as “pro-life” and at the same time holding the belief that abortion should be legal. Now that’s a story.