Home > Spotlight Analysis > Map: American Attitudes on the Legality and Availability of Abortion Nationwide
Map: American Attitudes on the Legality and Availability of Abortion Nationwide
Daniel Cox, Ph.D., Joanna Piacenza,
07.30.2015

Nationwide, 55 percent of Americans say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, while 41 percent say abortion should be illegal in all or most cases. Similarly, 57 percent of Americans say at least some health care professionals in their community should provide legal abortions, while 39 percent oppose this.

Public views on abortion differ substantially by state.

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Northeast residents are more likely to support legal abortions and agree that at least some health care providers in their community should provide legal abortions. Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of New Hampshire residents, for example, support the legality of abortion, and 78 percent support local health care providers offering legal abortions, making the state the most supportive of both issues.

Residents of the Northwest also express strong support for legal and accessible abortions. For example, 65 percent of Oregon residents support legal abortion in all or more cases, and 70 percent believe at least some local health care professionals should provide the service legally. However, Utah is an important exception; Utah residents register the strongest opposition for legal abortion in the U.S. (37 percent support, 60 percent oppose) but a majority say local health care providers should offer legal abortion (52 percent say yes, 46 percent say no).

Residents of Midwestern states are more closely divided on the issue of abortion—with some exceptions. A majority of residents in Minnesota (57 percent), Wisconsin (55 percent), and Illinois (58 percent) express support for legal abortion, while Ohio residents are evenly divided (50 percent support vs. 46 percent oppose). A majority (56 percent) of Ohio residents, however, say at least some local health care providers should offer legal abortions; 41 percent say they should not.

Americans living in Southern states exhibit the greatest opposition to the legality and availability of abortion. Among the 10 states in which a majority opposes the availability of abortion seven are located in the South: Alabama (54 percent), Arkansas (56 percent), Kentucky (54 percent), Louisiana (53 percent), Mississippi (56 percent), Tennessee (51 percent), and West Virginia (58 percent).

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For more, explore the American Values Atlas.