Planned Parenthood has courted its share of controversy for decades, but especially in the past several years. Scandals over the sale of body parts from aborted babies and endless debates over funding have kept the abortion provider in the headlines, often in a less-than-favorable light.
So, it may have come as a surprise to many when Gallup released the results of a survey it conducted over the first half of this month in which a whopping 62 percent of Americans surveyed expressed a favorable view of Planned Parenthood.
That’s right — nearly two-thirds of participants in the survey said they looked upon the abortion giant with some measure of favorability. In fact, Planned Parenthood carried a majority of favorable views in just about every category.
Democrats and independents looked more favorably on the organization, with a whopping 89 percent of Dems and 60 percent of independents seeing Planned Parenthood in a positive light, while Republicans were only 36 percent favorable. Of course, millennials saw the abortion provider agreeably, by a margin of 75 to 21 percent, while 59 percent of 30-49-year-olds and 57 percent of those 50 and older expressing support.
Sixty-nine percent of women and 54 percent of men are okay with Planned Parenthood, while 52 percent of those who attend church regularly viewing the face of abortion favorably. The only categories expressing a negative view of Planned Parenthood in the survey were self-professed pro-lifers and Republicans, with each demographic having a 36 percent positive view.
Some of the sub-categories reveal some fascinating trends as well:
- Fifty-seven percent of those who have not attended college have a favorable opinion of Planned Parenthood. Fifty-four percent of this group are pro-life and only 39% pro-choice.
- Fifty-seven percent of those 50 and older view Planned Parenthood favorably. Fifty-two percent are pro-life and 43% are pro-choice.
- Fifty-two percent of those who attend religious services at least once a month view Planned Parenthood favorably. Sixty-two percent of this group are pro-life and 33% pro-choice.
These findings come at a time when the debate over abortion is as evenly matched as it has ever been. Another recent Gallup survey showed that the same percentage of Americans — 48 — identify as pro-life as identify as pro-choice. Exactly half of those surveyed believe that abortion should be legal under certain circumstances, while only 18 percent think that abortions should always be illegal. At the same time, a slight plurality of Americans still view abortion as morally wrong.
The favorable view of Planned Parenthood is actually down considerably from surveys done in 1989 and 1993, when 79 and 81 percent respectively surveyed had a positive view of the organization — including 69 percent of Republicans a quarter-century ago. Interestingly enough, those high points for Planned Parenthood came at flashpoints in the abortion debate: an announcement that the Supreme Court considered revisiting Roe v. Wade in 1989 and the murder of an abortion doctor in 1993.
However, support for the abortion provider is on a slight uptick from three years ago, when the overall numbers were three points lower than they are today. These trends are also happening at a time when abortion numbers are inching downward across the board.
Gallup says that it’s not clear whether the support for Planned Parenthood goes hand-in-hand with the continuing conversation over the morality of abortion:
While it is not clear whether Americans have a favorable opinion of Planned Parenthood because of its role in the national abortion debate or in spite of it, this month’s polling offers further evidence that a solid majority of the public views the organization favorably, and that support is showing no signs of weakening in the Trump era.
But one thing is clear: Planned Parenthood is somehow winning the public relations battle in nearly every demographic, and that’s something that even the most ardent proponent of abortion may well have a tough time grasping.