Look for politics to shift as young people increasingly support abortion rights

Compared to seniors, young Americans see abortion as a health care rather than moral issue and are more likely to know someone who’s had an abortion.

Though they are frequently met with judicial opposition, anti-abortion lawmakers continue to test boundaries in their attempts to severely or totally outlaw abortion access in their states. Americans themselves are split on abortion, and attitudes toward the legality of the procedure have remained remarkably stable over the last two decades.

But a new poll released by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), where I work as a contributing researcher and organizational strategist, shows that the general stability of public attitudes is only part of the story when it comes to whether and how Americans are shifting on abortion. Over the past few years, young Americans have actually become more supportive of legal and widely available abortion — expanding the generational gap and suggesting that anti-abortion lawmakers are increasingly out of step with younger voters on this issue.

When asked about whether their views on abortion have changed in recent years, nearly three times as many young Americans (age 18-29) say they have become more supportive of abortion rights rather than more opposed (25% vs. 9%). Conversely, seniors (age 65 and up) are twice as likely to say they have become more opposed (12%) than more supportive (6%).

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