An overwhelming majority of Americans believe unborn babies have rights and should be protected, according to a new survey that also shows a slight majority believe abortion ends the life of a human being.
The survey by Americans United for Life (AUL), in partnership with YouGov, involved interviews with 1,000 adults May 6-13 – shortly after a leaked Supreme Court opinion suggested the justices would overturn Roe v. Wade.
The poll found that 89 percent of Americans support “rights for unborn children” to be protected from violence/assault, while 90 percent support rights for the unborn to be protected against substance abuse. An overwhelming majority (80 percent) also say they support the rights of unborn children “to be born.”
The survey also found that most Americans believe a fetus is a person, with 31 percent saying a fetus becomes a person “at the moment a woman becomes pregnant” and 24 percent saying that happens when “a heartbeat develops.” Another 10 percent believe a fetus is a person when a brain develops.
All total, 55 percent believe a fetus is a person at or before the first heartbeat. The much-debated Texas law prohibits abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which often occurs around six weeks of pregnancy.
A slight majority (51 percent) of Americans believe abortion “ends the life of a human before birth,” while 20 percent say it does not. One-fourth (28 percent) answered “it depends.”
Meanwhile, 52 percent say they support the Supreme Court “extending legal rights of personhood to unborn children,” with 31 percent strongly supportive and 21 percent somewhat supportive.
But the survey also revealed friction within Americans’ beliefs on abortion, with 56 percent saying they oppose “state lawmakers having the power to prohibit abortion of an unborn child.”
AUL, in a news release, said the survey results are “encouraging for pro-life advances.”
“We see powerfully through our latest AUL/YouGov national survey how intuitively supportive Americans are of the human right to life and legal rights for children prior to birth,” said Catherine Glenn Foster, president and CEO of Americans United for Life. “We also see the tension between Americans’ convictions and the role of law in shaping culture. We must work together to give our beliefs a voice in the law, which exists to ensure justice and equal protection for all members of the human family.”
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Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.