Despite the growing number of people who have been prosecuted for self-managing an
abortion in the US, few studies have examined people's attitudes toward legally restricting
and punishing people who self-manage an abortion. We assess national attitudes about
the legality and criminalization of self-managed abortion.
From December 2021 to January 2022, we administered a national probability-based online
survey of English- and Spanish-speaking women and men regarding their attitudes about
the legality and criminalization of self-managed abortion, using Ipsos KnowledgePanel.
We estimated weighted proportions and conducted multivariable regression analyses
to identify characteristics associated with support for self-managed abortion legality
7,016 people assigned female and 360 assigned male at birth completed the survey.
Most females (79%) and males (59%) did not agree/strongly agree that it should be
against the law to end a pregnancy on your own without medical assistance, including
those living in states with laws that criminalize self-managed abortion (64% of females
and 62% of males). Similarly, most did not agree/strongly agree that people who self-manage
an abortion should be reported to the police (72% and 57%), reported to child protective
services (67% and 54%) or go to jail (81% and 68%, respectively). In multivariable
analyses, factors associated with supporting self-managed abortion legality or criminalization
included sex, age, educational attainment, political party, and religious affiliation,
but not residence in a state that criminalized self-managed abortion.
There is a general lack of public support for making self-managed abortion illegal
and punishing the people involved, although support varied.