Majority of Australians report unwavering support for abortion access
Seven in 10 Australian adults support access to abortion, an online study by Ipsos has found. The study, conducted across 27 countries, also found that global support for access to abortion has been steadily increasing since 2014, with the largest increases seen in South Korea and parts of Latin America. In Australia, support for abortion has remained consistent over the past eight years: 76% supported abortion in 2021, compared to 74% in 2018, and 77% in 2014.
Key Australian findings
- More than half of Australians (57%) supported abortion access whenever a woman decides she wants one. A further 20% supported abortion in certain circumstances, such as when a woman has been raped. Only 8% of Australians indicated that abortion should never be permitted, unless the life of the mother is in danger, with a further 3% not permitting abortion under any circumstances.
- Australia’s numbers are comparable to Canada and Italy - 77% of respondents in both countries supported abortion unconditionally, or under certain circumstances, such as rape. Australians were more likely to support abortion than those in the United States (66% supporting), but less so than those in the UK, where abortion support remains high, but is on the decline (80% supporting in 2021 compared to 85% in 2014).
Ipsos Australia Director, Julia Knapp, said: “While the majority of Australians support access to abortion in 2021, this level of support hasn’t changed significantly in seven years of polling. This is in contrast to many countries in Europe where support is has been declining, and much of Latin America, where support has grown substantially.”
Support for abortion averages 71% across 27 countries in 2021, compared to 72% across 22 countries seven years ago. Views on abortion continue to vary widely across countries and regions. However, this year’s survey highlights significant gains in some countries, in the level of support for abortion access, balanced by a softening in other countries. In particular, support for abortion has decreased in many European countries, and increased across much of Latin America.
When looking at gender globally, 73% of females and 69% of males were in favour of access to abortion. Globally, 50% of females and 43% of males indicated that women should be able to access abortion whenever she decides she wants one. The gender gap is highest in Turkey (26 points), Russia (16), Argentina (15), Canada (13), South Korea (13), and Poland (12).
When comparing age groups globally, support was highest in those aged 50-74, at 74% in favour of abortion access. Those with higher levels of education were more likely to be in support of abortion access at 75%.
The US reported 66% favourability in 2021, an increase of 2% since 2014. This data was collected before the political climate changed in the US, following the controversial stance taken by the US Supreme Court regarding restrictive abortion laws in Texas and Mississippi.
This study did not have any external sponsors or partners. It was initiated and run by Ipsos, because we are curious about the world we live in and how citizens around the globe think and feel about their world.
These are the results of a 27-country survey conducted by Ipsos on its Global Advisor online platform between June 25 and July 9, 2021. Ipsos interviewed a total of 20,003 adults aged 18-74 in the United States, Canada, Malaysia, South Africa, and Turkey, and 16-74 in 22 other markets between June 25 and July 9, 2021.
The sample consists of approximately 1,000 individuals in each of Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Spain, and the U.S., and 500 individuals in each of Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Hungary, India, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Romania, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, and Turkey.
The samples in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, and the U.S. can be taken as representative of these countries’ general adult population under the age of 75.
The samples in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Romania, Russia, South Africa, and Turkey are more urban, more educated, and/or more affluent than the general population. The survey results for these countries should be viewed as reflecting the views of the more “connected” segment of their population.
The data is weighted so that each country’s sample composition best reflects the demographic profile of the adult population according to the most recent census data.
Where results do not sum to 100 or the ‘difference’ appears to be +/-1 more/less than the actual, this may be due to rounding, multiple responses, or the exclusion of don't know or not stated responses.
The precision of Ipsos online polls is calculated using a credibility interval with a poll of 1,000 accurate to +/- 3.5 percentage points and of 500 accurate to +/- 5.0 percentage points.
As a foundation member of the Australian Polling Council Ipsos complies with the Council’s Code of Conduct. The purpose of the Code is to provide journalists and the public with greater confidence and trust in publicly released polling and survey data. We strongly encourage the inclusion of methodological details in any reference to published Ipsos results.
This study is compliant with the Australian Polling Council Code of Conduct. The Long Methodology Disclosure Statement for the study will be available at https://www.ipsos.com/en-au/disclosure_statements within two business days.