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P021National levels of support for legalizing and not criminalizing people involved in self-managed abortion (SMA): A national representative survey

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      Objectives

      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.

      Methods

      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 or criminalization.

      Results

      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.

      Conclusions

      There is a general lack of public support for making self-managed abortion illegal and punishing the people involved, although support varied.
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