Stand up for the facts!
Misinformation isn't going away just because it's a new year. Support trusted, factual information with a tax deductible contribution to PolitiFact.
I would like to contribute
Donald Trump, who in 1999 said he "was strongly pro-choice," says he's now against abortions and will nominate Supreme Court justices who share his stance.
During an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper, Trump suggested his shift in position mirrors the feelings of the American public.
"In terms of polling, the pro-choice (support) is going down a little bit," Trump said. "It’s very interesting."
Is that true?
The most recent polling we could find comes out of Gallup. In May of this year, the polling group found 50 percent of Americans identify as pro-choice, compared to 44 percent of Americans who identify as pro-life.
That's actually up, not down.
The gap is outside the margin of error, the first time the pro-choice position has a statistically significant edge since 2008. If anything, the pro-choice position is gaining ground, not losing it in recent years. In 2012, 50 percent of people identified as pro-life, Gallup found, compared to 41 percent who identified as pro-choice.
Here's a chart showing the Gallup results since 1996:
Between 1997 and 2008, people identifying as pro-choice hovered around 50 percent, and the pro-life group stayed in the mid 40s, according to Gallup. Between 2009 and 2014, the pro-life group occasionally surpassed the pro-choice group in the polls.
According to the report, some shifts in public opinion on abortion have coincided with political events, such as related legislation or Supreme Court decisions. But because of an increasing percentage of Americans who say their views are primarily liberal, it’s possible the pro-choice group will maintain its edge.
Other research has found that public opinion on abortion has remained relatively stable.
According to Pew, 51 percent of adults say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, while with 43 percent say it should be illegal all or most of the time. Those percentages have been near the same level for more than 20 years.
The divide has stayed "remarkably stable" as far back as 50 years, according to researchers out of the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank in Washington, D.C., who assembled data from several polls and published an article in The Atlantic about a year ago.
The article points out that in both 1975 and 2013, 54 percent of Americans said abortion should be legal in certain circumstances.
For some additional context, the AEI research found that far fewer Americans consider abortion policy a high priority than you might expect, given the attention paid to the issue. In fact, only 1 percent of Americans polled by Gallup mentioned abortion as the most-important issue facing the country.
The authors also pointed out that Americans are conflicted on abortion -- noting a 2013 study that found many Americans identified as pro-life and pro-choice.
"Pro-life and pro-choice activists don't see the shades of gray that most Americans see on the issue," the authors wrote. "Neither their actions nor court decisions have altered public opinion in any significant way since Roe was decided more than four decades ago."
We reached out to Trump through a spokesperson but did not hear back by our deadline.
Trump said, "In terms of polling, the pro-choice (support) is going down a little bit."
There was a significant dip in the number of people who identified as pro-choice in 2012, but that number has rebounded during the last three years, according to a Gallup survey. Other research shows the percentage of people who identify as pro-choice or pro-life split has stayed relatively stable for at least the past 20 years.
We rate Trump’s claim False.
CNN, State of the Union, June 28, 2015
The Atlantic, "Opinions About Abortion Haven't Changed Since Roe v. Wade," Jan. 22, 2014
Pew Research Center, "5 facts about abortion," June 11, 2015
Gallup, "Americans Choose "Pro-Choice" for First Time in Seven Years," May 29, 2015
Gallup, "Abortion," May 2015
Read About Our Process
In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.