October 23, 2023

Study Shows Many Americans Don't Understand What "Abortion" is

New polling suggests that there is significant confusion among Americans regarding what constitutes an "abortion."

In September, the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute released its findings in a study asking Americans whether certain situations could be defined as abortions. Alicia VandeVusse, lead author of the study, told NPR, “Our biggest takeaway is that people do not hold a shared standard definition of what is and isn’t an abortion. We found that there’s a lot of nuance and ambiguity in how people are thinking about these issues and understanding these issues.”

One question described a deceased fetus being removed from the mother's womb after a miscarriage. Surprisingly, one-third of the 2,000 respondents said that this qualified as an "abortion."

Part of this issue is created by deceptive political messaging by pro-abortion groups. Advertisements claim that pro-life laws would punish women who experience miscarriage or it would imprison women who have abortions. These statements are simply not true.

Miscarriage does not fall under any legal definition of abortion, because it does not involve the intentional killing of a living unborn child. During miscarriage care, a child who regretfully died before birth is removed from a mother's womb. This is significantly different from abortion. Abortion kills a child who was alive before the procedure started.

Similarly, advertisements that claim pro-life laws imprison mothers who undergo abortions are deceptive. The pro-life state laws penalize the abortionists who end the lives of unborn children. These laws do not penalize vulnerable mothers who were swayed into abortion.

Pro-life advocates need to speak clearly and frequently to prevent this deceptive messaging from manipulating debates.