Millennials are divided on the issue of abortion. The “selfie” generation strays from the traditional “pro-choice” and “pro-life” labels—partly because they don’t unanimously agree on abortion’s legality.
PRRI’s millennial, sexuality, and reproductive health survey found that a majority (55 percent) of millennials say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, while 42 percent say it should be illegal in all or most cases. But not all millennials share these views; Asian-Pacific Islander (API) millennials, for example, differ from other millennials on the issue of abortion.
Across a range of questions about the issue, API millennials are consistently more supportive of legal and accessible abortion than millennials overall, as well as less judgmental about the decision to get an abortion itself.
API millennials are more supportive of legal abortion. About two-thirds (66 percent) of API millennials say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, compared to 55 percent of millennials overall.
API millennials are more supportive of accessible abortions in their communities. More than six in ten (64 percent) API millennials say that at least some health care professionals in their community should provide legal abortions, while just 26 percent say they should not. The comparable numbers for millennials overall are 55 percent should, 36 percent should not.
A majority of API millennials say health care plans should include abortion services, while less than half of all millennials say the same. Fifty-seven percent of API millennials say abortion services should be covered by most health care plans, while 36 disagree. This compared to a slim majority (51 percent) of millennials say these services should not be covered and 45 percent who say they should.
API millennials are more likely to say that having an abortion is morally acceptable. More than three in ten (31 percent) API millennials say having an abortion is morally acceptable, compared to 23 percent who say it is morally wrong. The numbers for all millennials are nearly reversed, with 21 percent saying having an abortion is morally acceptable and 35 percent saying morally wrong.
Seven in ten API millennials say having an abortion is sometimes the most responsible decision a woman can make. There is a 14 percentage point gap between API millennials and millennials overall on this issue, with 56 percent of millennials overall saying that in certain circumstances, having an abortion is the most responsible decision a woman can make. Twenty-four percent of API millennials and 40 percent of millennials overall disagree.
The difference between millennials overall and API millennials on abortion may be due in part to differing religious affiliations—or lack thereof. According to PRRI’s American Values Atlas, while one-third (33 percent) of all millennials are religiously unaffiliated, nearly four in ten (39 percent) API millennials say they lack a religious affiliation, making them the most unaffiliated millennial racial or ethnic group.
Attributing API millennials’ more liberal views on abortion to their lower-than-average religious affiliation alone is a far too simplistic explanation, but given that data have consistently shown a connection between religious affiliation and attitudes on abortion, the fact that about four in ten API millennials claim no religious affiliation certainly helps explain why the groups stands out so much on the issue of abortion.
For more, read “How Race and Religion Shape Millennials Attitudes on Sexuality and Reproductive Health” and explore the American Values Alas.