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Pro-life youth at the March for Life in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 22, 2014.John-Henry Westen /

January 14, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Millennials in the United States are considerably more hostile to abortion than is often assumed, according to a new survey from The Polling Company, Inc./WomanTrend commissioned by Students for Life of America (SFLA).

Released Monday, the survey of Americans aged 18-34 found that while a majority rejected identifying with either party and they were evenly divided among “pro-life” and “pro-choice” labels at 39 percent each, they also consistently backed a rightward shift on abortion-related policy questions.

Seventy percent of respondents favored some form of limits on abortion, with 42 percent directly against legal abortion and another 28 percent backing greater restrictions than are consistently on the books today, such as requiring parental notification and banning late-term abortion and taxpayer funding of abortion.

Fifty-six percent also opposed selling abortion pills online or administering them without a physical exam, and when informed that Federally Qualified Health Centers dramatically outnumber Planned Parenthood locations, 48 percent of millennials said they’d rather tax dollars go to the former (just 17 percent still preferred Planned Parenthood).

Notably, just seven percent of respondents answered that abortion should be legal for any reason, throughout all nine months at taxpayer expense, which is the de facto position of the current Democrat Party platform.

The poll also found that millennials reacted negatively to learning that Planned Parenthood spends millions of dollars on political advocacy, takes in more than a billion dollars annually (roughly half of which is from taxpayers), and has been reducing the number of breast exams, pap tests, STD treatments, and prenatal services it offers over the past several years.

Perhaps the survey’s most significant revelations, however, involve Roe v. Wade. Sixty-five percent of respondents said the people should have the right to vote on abortion laws, while just 16 percent said the courts should continue to limit the public’s say on the subject (an additional 19 percent were unsure or had no opinion).

The infamous 1973 Supreme Court decision forces all 50 states to allow abortion until fetal viability and, taken with its companion case Doe v. Bolton, effectively protects abortion-on-demand past viability, as well. 1992’s Planned Parenthood v. Casey allowed some additional state restrictions while preserving the core of Roe, and the Supreme Court later upheld a federal ban on the partial-birth abortion procedure. 

When initially asked, 40 percent of respondents backed Roe, but their support dropped when informed of its actual impact on the law. Fifty-one percent became opposed after learning it effectively permits abortion through all nine months, and 54 percent after learning it protects the use of abortion as contraception or to eliminate children of a particular sex.

Roe’s overall support dropped to 35 percent, and opposition rose from 12 percent to 41 percent, with women opposing the ruling more strongly than men. Pro-lifers have long attributed Roe’s popularity to widespread misinformation about the case, such as misinformation that it only permits abortions in the first trimester, or ignorance of the fact that it ignored the question of when life begins.

“Millennials think that Roe v. Wade happened right after the American Revolution. They have no idea that there was ever a time when abortions were illegal,” Democrat pollster Celinda Lake admitted last summer.

“Millennials have lived with the harsh realities of abortion all their lives and understand more than their parents’ generation that we must address the human rights issue of our day and make changes in defense of mothers and their preborn infants,” SFLA President Kristan Hawkins said. “Our poll found that Millennials do not blindly support unlimited abortion paid for with their tax dollars, no matter what the popular culture says. Millennials may reject labels in general, but when it comes to the specifics of abortion policy, they are anti-abortion.”

One of the poll’s key lessons for pro-lifers, Hawkins said, was the importance of speaking clearly about specific policies rather than generalities.

“Especially as we talk with Millennials, who are often outside the political structure of Washington, D.C., the anti-abortion movement must be clear on what we are advancing and its impact on mothers, the preborn, and taxpayers,” she explained. “And for those elected officials who want to engage in life-affirming legislation, Millennial voters are listening when you compassionately address the specifics of life in law.”

The SFLA poll’s findings are consistent with the balance of polling data from Gallup and Marist that consistently find a majority of Americans would ban most abortions, and that unlimited abortion-on-demand actually has less support than banning abortion in the case of rape.