AMERICAN MUSLIM POLL 2022 >  EARLY DATA RELEASE

Pro-choice protestors in front of the Supreme Court
WASHINGTON, DC - OCT. 2, 2021: Women's March in Washington demanding continued access to abortion after the ban on most abortions in Texas, and looming threat to Roe v Wade in upcoming Supreme Court.

The Majority of American Muslims Believe Abortion Should be Legal in All or Most Cases 

Men and women of all faith and non-faith groups surveyed did not significantly differ on their opinions

May 5, 2022 | BY ERUM IKRAMULLAH AND MEIRA NEGGAZ

On Monday, a draft majority opinion by the Supreme Court that would overturn Roe v. Wade was leaked by an unknown source, sending reverberations throughout the country. For some, it came as no surprise, given the relatively recent appointments of three highly conservative justices, shifting the balance of the Court. Others were shaken that a settled case seen by many as fundamental to freedom of choice such as Roe v. Wade could be overturned.

Abortion is a key issue in the American political scene, regularly a highly charged topic of conversation, key debate during election cycles, and determining issue for many single issue voters. For faith communities, the issue of abortion can go beyond the political. But how do Muslims, alongside other American faith and non-faith communities, view the legality of abortion, not its morality? In March 2022, the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU), set out to explore this issue by asking the following question in our landmark American Muslim Poll:

Do you think abortion should be…:

    • Legal in all cases
    • Legal in most cases
    • Illegal in most cases
    • Illegal in all cases

The majority of Muslims, alongside Jewish Americans, Catholics, and the non-affiliated, believe that abortion should be legal in all or most cases

    • The majority of American Muslims (56%) believe that abortion should be legal in all (25%) or most cases (32%), on par with the 55% of Catholics who believe that abortion should be legal in all (17%) or most cases (39%).
    • A minority of Muslims (42%) believe that abortion should be illegal in all (16%) or most cases (26%).  
    • Three-quarters of Jewish Americans (75%) stated that abortion should be legal in all (37%) or most cases (38%), the most likely of all faith groups surveyed.
    • At 85%, those not affiliated with any faith group are the most likely group surveyed to hold the opinion that abortion should be legal in all (47%) or most cases (38%).
    • The majority of Protestants (54%), on the other hand, are of the opinion that abortion should be illegal in all (20%) or most cases (35%).
    • Four out of five white Evangelicals (80%) believe that abortion should be illegal in all (37%) or most cases (43%), more likely than all other groups surveyed. 
    • A small minority of American Muslims (16%), Catholics (11%), Jewish Americans (8%) and the non-affiliated (3%) believe that abortion should be illegal in all cases. And, among Protestants and white Evangelicals whose majorities lean towards believing abortion should be illegal in all or most cases, a minority believe it should be illegal in all cases (20% for Protestants and 37% for white Evangelicals). 
Pro-choice protestors in front of the Supreme Court
WASHINGTON, DC - OCT. 2, 2021: Women's March in Washington demanding continued access to abortion after the ban on most abortions in Texas, and looming threat to Roe v Wade in upcoming Supreme Court.

The Majority of American Muslims Believe Abortion Should be Legal in All or Most Cases 

Men and women of all faith and non-faith groups surveyed did not significantly differ on their opinions

May 5, 2022 | BY ERUM IKRAMULLAH AND MEIRA NEGGAZ

On Monday, a draft majority opinion by the Supreme Court that would overturn Roe v. Wade was leaked by an unknown source, sending reverberations throughout the country. For some, it came as no surprise, given the relatively recent appointments of three highly conservative justices, shifting the balance of the Court. Others were shaken that a settled case seen by many as fundamental to freedom of choice such as Roe v. Wade could be overturned.

 

Abortion is a key issue in the American political scene, regularly a highly charged topic of conversation, key debate during election cycles, and determining issue for many single issue voters. For faith communities, the issue of abortion can go beyond the political. But how do Muslims, alongside other American faith and non-faith communities, view the legality of abortion, not its morality? In March 2022, the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU), set out to explore this issue by asking the following question in our landmark American Muslim Poll:

 

Do you think abortion should be…:

  • Legal in all cases
  • Legal in most cases
  • Illegal in most cases
  • Illegal in all cases

 

The majority of Muslims, alongside Jewish Americans, Catholics, and the non-affiliated, believe that abortion should be legal in all or most cases.

  • The majority of American Muslims (56%) believe that abortion should be legal in all (25%) or most cases (32%), on par with the 55% of Catholics who believe that abortion should be legal in all (17%) or most cases (39%).
  • A minority of Muslims (42%) believe that abortion should be illegal in all (16%) or most cases (26%).  
  • Three-quarters of Jewish Americans (75%) stated that abortion should be legal in all (37%) or most cases (38%), the most likely of all faith groups surveyed.
  • At 85%, those not affiliated with any faith group are the most likely group surveyed to hold the opinion that abortion should be legal in all (47%) or most cases (38%).
  • The majority of Protestants (54%), on the other hand, are of the opinion that abortion should be illegal in all (20%) or most cases (35%).
  • Four out of five white Evangelicals (80%) believe that abortion should be illegal in all (37%) or most cases (43%), more likely than all other groups surveyed. 
  • A small minority of American Muslims (16%), Catholics (11%), Jewish Americans (8%) and the non-affiliated (3%) believe that abortion should be illegal in all cases. And, among Protestants and white Evangelicals whose majorities lean towards believing abortion should be illegal in all or most cases, a minority believe it should be illegal in all cases (20% for Protestants and 37% for white Evangelicals). 
Graph displaying: The majority of Muslims, alongside Catholics, Jews, and the non-affiliated, believe that abortion should be legal in all or most cases.
Graph displaying: The majority of Muslims, alongside Catholics, Jews, and the non-affiliated, believe that abortion should be legal in all or most cases.
Graph displaying: White Evangelicals most likely to believe abortion should be illegal in all or most cases.
Graph displaying: White Evangelicals most likely to believe abortion should be illegal in all or most cases.

The legality of abortion is not a “women’s issue”

    • Within Muslim communities, men are on par with women in their view that abortion should be legal in all or most cases, with a majority of both groups believing abortion should be legal (61% of women and 53% of men).
    • Men and women of all faith and non-faith groups surveyed did not significantly differ on their opinions of the legality of abortion (illegal vs. legal), with 59% of men and 64% of women in the general public believing abortion should be legal in all or most cases.
    • A relatively small minority, 16%, of American Muslims hold the opinion that abortion should be illegal in all cases, with Muslim men (19%) more likely than Muslim women (11%) to hold that view.
Graph displaying: Muslim men and women about equal in views on abortion legality, with around one third believing abortion should be legal in most cases.
Graph displaying: Muslim men and women about equal in views on abortion legality, with around one third believing abortion should be legal in most cases.

For American Muslims, beliefs around legality of abortion similar across age, race, and ethnicity

    • Younger Muslims are no more likely than older Muslims to hold the opinion that abortion should be legal in all or most cases (60% of 18-29 year olds, 56% of 30-49 year olds, and 52% of those 50+ years old). However, Muslims aged 18-29 and 30-49 (both 27%) were more likely than Muslims aged 50+ years old (15%) to believe abortion should be legal in all cases. 
    • Among the general public, younger people were more likely to support the legality of abortion in all or most cases, 79% of 18-29 year olds, 64% of 30-49 year olds, and 52% of those 50+ years old. Nearly 4 in 10 18-29 year olds in the general public (39%) think abortion should be legal in all cases, more likely than 27% of 30-49 year olds and 20% of those 50+ years old. Muslims aged 18-29 were less likely than young people in the general public to hold the view that abortion should be legal in all or most cases (60% vs. 79%). Older Muslims and member of the general public (aged 30-49 and 50+ years old) were on par in views about the legality of abortion.
Graph displaying: Muslims of all ages similar on views on abortion legality, with ages 18-29 least likely to believe abortion should be illegal in all cases.
Graph displaying: Muslims of all ages similar on views on abortion legality, with ages 18-29 least likely to believe abortion should be illegal in all cases.
    • White, Asian, and Arab Muslims are on par in their view that abortion should be legal in all or most cases (56%, 67%, and 66%, respectively), while Black Muslims (48%) are significantly less likely than Asian or Arab Muslims to think so.
    • Among the general public, however, there are no racial differences between Americans who are Black (62%), white (60%), and Hispanic (66%) in their view that abortion should be legal in all or most cases. Black Muslims (48%) are on par with Black Americans (62%) in their opinion that abortion should be legal in all or most cases, as are white Muslims (56%) and white Americans in the general public (60%).
    • There is no difference between Muslims who were born in the faith and those who were born into another faith in their view that abortion should be legal in all or most cases (58% and 48%, respectively).
Graph displaying: At 18% and 30% respectively, Black Muslims are less likely to believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases than Arab or Asian Muslims.
Graph displaying: At 18% and 30% respectively, Black Muslims are less likely to believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases than Arab or Asian Muslims.

About ISPU’s American Muslim Poll and additional ISPU data on this topic: 

Now in its sixth iteration, ISPU’s American Muslim Poll captures a snapshot of American Muslim experiences in all their diversity, as well as tracking trends over time. The survey not only polls Americans who are Muslim, but Americans of other faiths and no faith. This allows readers to understand American Muslims’ perspective within the context of their nation’s faith landscape, not as an isolated specimen.

 

(Note: Due to rounding, some totals don’t correspond with the sum of the individual figures)

Erum Ikramullah

Erum Ikramullah is a Research Project Manager at ISPU, where she manages the day-to-day activities of the organization’s research studies. Learn more about Erum→

Meira Neggaz

Meira Neggaz is Executive Director at ISPU, where she leads the organization. Learn more about Meira→

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