Opinions on abortion

February 14, 2013, 11:49 AM GMT+0

A plurality believes human life begins at conception and almost as many favour keeping the time limit for abortion at 24 weeks

More than four in ten (44%) people believe human life begins at conception, new research by YouGov for the University of Lancaster shows.

The research for this week’s “Faith Matters” debate on abortion reveals that one in three (30%) consider human life to start “at some point during pregnancy” while one in six (17%) think life begin when a baby is born. Of over 4,000 people YouGov surveyed, 8% didn’t know.

Leaving aside medical emergencies, a plurality (40%) favours keeping the time limit for abortion at 24 weeks while more than a quarter (28%) believe the limit should be below 24 weeks. One in fourteen (7%) favours banning abortion altogether and 6% would like to see the limit increased to over 24 weeks.

Of those wanting to see the time limit for abortion lowered, 89% would like to see it reduced to 20 weeks or less. A plurality (28%) favours an 18 week limit and just under a quarter (23%) would like to see it reduced to 12 weeks. About one in eight (15%) of those wanting to see a reduction in the time limit would like to see it lowered to less than 12 weeks.

There are differences of opinion about when life begins between those with religious views and those without. For example, 60% of Roman Catholics surveyed by YouGov believe life begins at conception compared to a third (34%) of those asked with no religious beliefs.

Full results can be found here