Poll: The world weighs in on abortion

WorldPublicOpinion.org just released a poll that reveals some surprising insight on what people around the world want from their government when it comes to one of the most touchy subjects of all: abortion. The poll’s 18,465 respondents hail from 18 countries, including China, Pakistan, Iran, Russia, and the United States. Although the results might not ...

594559_080620_abortion2.jpg
594559_080620_abortion2.jpg

WorldPublicOpinion.org just released a poll that reveals some surprising insight on what people around the world want from their government when it comes to one of the most touchy subjects of all: abortion.

The poll's 18,465 respondents hail from 18 countries, including China, Pakistan, Iran, Russia, and the United States. Although the results might not always shock you -- British and French respondents overwhelmingly say that their governments should "leave the matter to individuals" -- they do shed some new light on countries that don't get polled too often.

Forty-seven percent of Egyptians, for instance, want their governments to take a hands-off approach to abortion. So do 67 percent of China's respondents and 48 percent from Turkey and Azerbaijan. Just 28 percent of Iranians say that abortion should be a matter for individuals, but 38 percent want the procedure to be discouraged using "non-punitive measures" such as education and adoption services. Indonesians are far less forgiving: A full 60 percent say that those who have abortions should be criminally prosecuted.

WorldPublicOpinion.org just released a poll that reveals some surprising insight on what people around the world want from their government when it comes to one of the most touchy subjects of all: abortion.

The poll’s 18,465 respondents hail from 18 countries, including China, Pakistan, Iran, Russia, and the United States. Although the results might not always shock you — British and French respondents overwhelmingly say that their governments should “leave the matter to individuals” — they do shed some new light on countries that don’t get polled too often.

Forty-seven percent of Egyptians, for instance, want their governments to take a hands-off approach to abortion. So do 67 percent of China’s respondents and 48 percent from Turkey and Azerbaijan. Just 28 percent of Iranians say that abortion should be a matter for individuals, but 38 percent want the procedure to be discouraged using “non-punitive measures” such as education and adoption services. Indonesians are far less forgiving: A full 60 percent say that those who have abortions should be criminally prosecuted.

What if you group respondents by religion? Some schools of Islamic law permit abortion in certain cases, such as pregnancies induced by rape, but Muslims in the survey show the strongest support for government measures to discourage abortion, both punitive and not. As for Christianity, the Roman Catholic Church still takes a firm line against abortion, yet Christians as a group are extremely liberal toward the practice: 65 percent favor individual choice in the matter. (Read on –>)

Divisions between national opinion and religious policy on abortion are perhaps most notable in Poland and Mexico. Both historically Catholic countries, public opinion favoring individual choice in the abortion matter conflicts with their existing (and largely stringent) laws on the practice. Widespread opinion in Mexico about the practice might be partly linked to the Mexico City legislature’s approval of a bill last year that allows the practice within the first trimester of pregnancy. Though the bishop of Acapulco announced that he would excommunicate all legislators who voted for the measure, even protestors of the procedure admit to a lessened cultural stigma against Mexican women who have had abortions since the bill’s passage.

In more recent news, a 14-year old pregnant Polish girl who says she was raped by a friend has become the focus of the ongoing struggle between her country’s anti-abortion and pro-choice camps. Facing pressure from a local priest and anti-abortion activists, the girl’s gynecologist backed out on her prior agreement to perform the procedure.

Looks like the United States isn’t the only country where abortion is a political hot potato. It’s a tragedy, though, when young people’s lives take center stage in the struggle.

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