More than four decades after the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, opponents and supporters of abortion rights are still battling over the issue in court. Most recently, on June 27, the Supreme Court struck down a Texas law that required abortion clinics in the state to meet the same health and safety standards as medical centers that perform outpatient surgeries. The Texas law also required doctors who work at abortion clinics to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.
The Supreme Court’s 5-3 decision reversed a lower court ruling last year that had upheld the law. The high court’s ruling could very well seal the fate of similar laws in 12 other states, some of which were already on hold pending this latest ruling.
Texas officials had argued that the law was necessary to protect the health and safety of women. They pointed to cases such as that of Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, who in 2013 was convicted of killing babies born alive, as justification for tightening health regulations at clinics.
But abortion rights supporters countered that the statute was largely intended to make it impossible for most abortion providers in Texas to remain open. Indeed, they said, if the law had been upheld, only nine of what had until recently been 42 clinics in the state would ultimately remain open to serve an estimated 60,000 Texas women who seek abortions each year.
Meanwhile, public opinion on abortion has held relatively steady, with Americans roughly divided on the issue. Here are a few key facts about Americans’ views on the topic, based on recent Pew Research Center polling:
1When asked directly about the legality of abortion, 56% of U.S. adults say it should be legal in all or most cases, compared with 41% who say it should be illegal all or most of the time. In both cases, these figures have remained relatively stable for at least two decades.
2There is a substantial ideological divide on abortion, with Democrats much more likely than Republicans to say abortion should be legal in all or most cases. This gap is even larger between liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans. Fully 84% of liberal Democrats say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, compared with only three-in-ten self-described conservatives in the GOP.
Category: 5 Facts
In an era of increasing polarization, Republicans and Democrats disagree over many things – and that extends even to the traits and habits they’d like or dislike in a new neighbor. Some of the widest gaps in how people of different parties see new neighbors are over new community members who own guns, don’t believe in God, regularly attend religious services or have served in the military.
A new Pew Research Center study of partisanship and political animosity finds that about four-in-ten Republicans (43%) and Democrats (42%) said it would be easier to befriend a new community member who shared their partisan affiliation. Conversely, 31% of Democrats and 27% of Republicans say it would be harder to get along with a new neighbor from the other party.
Yet the partisan differences over hypothetical characteristics of new neighbors go beyond their party or their ideology.
Democrats express more negative views of gun ownership than any of the other 15 traits asked about in the survey – even more negative than the prospect of having a Republican or a conservative as a new neighbor. Read More →
The decision by the United Kingdom to leave the European Union – known as Brexit – shines a spotlight on the divisions in public opinion between the UK and the continental members of the EU, and within the UK on a range of issues relating to the future of Europe.
The June 23 referendum – in which the public voted 52% to 48% to leave – is a reminder that the British have never been as enamored with the EU as most of their continental counterparts. Britons have criticized the EU for its handling of a range of issues, resent the loss of power to the Brussels-based institution and are divided among themselves about the institution they first joined in 1973.
More broadly, a Pew Research Center survey conducted this spring found that publics in a number of other EU countries share the British desire for a less, not more, centralized Europe, and that the debate about the future of the EU will not subside just because the UK has now voted.
1The EU has never been as popular in the UK as it has been among other EU members. Just 44% of the public in the UK has a favorable view of the EU, compared with a median of 50% who hold a favorable opinion in five other EU nations surveyed by Pew Research Center. Support for the EU is down in the UK from a high of 52% in 2014. British views of the EU have consistently been lower than those on the continent for nearly a decade.
Category: 5 Facts
The U.S. is projected to have no racial or ethnic group as its majority within the next several decades, but that day apparently is already here for the nation’s youngest children, according to new Census Bureau population estimates.
The bureau’s estimates for July 1, 2015, released today, say that just over half – 50.2% – of U.S. babies younger than 1 year old were racial or ethnic minorities. In sheer numbers, there were 1,995,102 minority babies compared with 1,982,936 non-Hispanic white infants, according to the census estimates. The new estimates also indicate that this crossover occurred in 2013, so the pattern seems well established.
Pinpointing the exact year when minorities outnumbered non-Hispanic whites among newborns has been difficult. The change among newborns is part of a projected U.S. demographic shift from a majority-white nation to one with no racial or ethnic majority group that is based on long-running immigration and birth trends. But changes in short-term immigration flows and in fertility patterns can delay those long-term shifts. Read More →
Pew Research Center has been tracking data on religious restrictions in nearly 200 countries and territories since 2007, producing a series of annual reports that analyze religion-related social hostilities and government restrictions on religion.
Here are key findings from the latest report, which updates the data through 2014:
1Government restrictions on religion and social hostilities related to religion decreased somewhat between 2013 and 2014, the second consecutive year of decline. The share of countries with governments imposing high or very high levels of restrictions on religion dropped from 28% in 2013 to 24% in 2014. During the same period, the share of countries with high levels of social hostilities – those perpetrated by individuals or groups – also dropped, from 27% to 23%. (For more on the index used to determine these measures, see the full report.) Read More →
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At a time when many Europeans are looking inward after years of economic and political crises, the Greeks stand out as even more focused on their country’s own problems and as the most wary of global economic engagement.
Of 10 European Union nations recently surveyed by Pew Research Center, Greeks are at the top of the list in saying their country should focus on domestic issues and are the most inclined to say their country should act unilaterally even when its allies disagree. More than eight-in-ten Greeks (83%) say their country should deal with its own problems and let other countries deal with their own problems as best they can. And 74% of Greeks say that in foreign policy, their country should follow its own national interests, even when its allies strongly disagree. Greece is also the only EU country where a majority says global economic engagement is a bad thing because it lowers wages and costs jobs. Read More →
The 2016 presidential campaign has highlighted the deep partisan divisions in the United States. A new Pew Research Center report finds that Republicans and Democrats now have more negative views of the opposing party than at any point in nearly a quarter century. These sentiments are not just limited to views of the parties and their policy proposals; they have a personal element as well.
Here are six key takeaways from the report:
1Many Democrats and Republicans associate negative characteristics with members of the other party – and positive traits with their own. Fully 70% of Democrats say Republicans are more “closed-minded” than other Americans. Nearly as many Democrats (67%) say their fellow Democrats are more “open-minded.”
For Republicans, no single critique of Democrats stands out. But about half of Republicans (52%) view Democrats as more closed-minded than other Americans, while nearly as many say Democrats are more immoral (47%), lazier (46%) and more dishonest (45%). Republicans also see the members of their own party as more hard-working (59%) and more moral (51%) than other Americans. Read More →
Category: 5 Facts
The United States has long been the top destination country for migrants worldwide, though if the European Union, Norway and Switzerland were a single country it would outrank the U.S. as a destination for international migrants. But the U.S. and Europe are quite different when it comes to their migrant populations’ origin countries.
In 2015, almost one-in-five (19%) of all international migrants – people living in a country other than the one they were born in – lived in the U.S., and 23% were in the EU, Norway and Switzerland. Together, some 43% of all the world’s international migrants live in the U.S. or Europe, according to the United Nations Population Division. (The UN counts citizens born abroad or in their native country’s territories as international migrants. For the U.S., this means international migrants include U.S. citizens at birth who were born abroad, in Puerto Rico or in other U.S. territories.)
The U.S. has long been a receiving country for international migrants, and Europe historically was a sending region. For most of the 20th century, either Germany or Italy was the top country of origin of migrants living in the U.S. A century ago, from 1890 to 1919, almost nine-in-ten foreign-born people arriving to the U.S. (88%) were coming from Europe, compared with just 12% of migrants who arrived since 1965. About 46.6 million immigrants now live in the U.S., making up a near-historic 14% of the U.S. population, according to UN data – but as of 2015, only about one-in-ten immigrants living in the U.S. (9%) were born in the EU, Norway and Switzerland. Read More →
Abortion is still a difficult, contentious and even unresolved issue for some religious groups.
The United Methodist Church provides one example of a religious group whose stand on abortion is not entirely clear. At its quadrennial convention, held in May, church delegates voted to repeal a 40-year-old resolution supporting the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision and approved another resolution ending the church’s membership in a pro-abortion rights advocacy group. However, the church’s Book of Discipline (which lays out the denomination’s law and doctrine) stresses that abortion should be, in some cases, legally available.
Some religious groups have little or no ambivalence about abortion. For instance, the nation’s largest denomination – the Roman Catholic Church – opposes abortion in all circumstances. The second-largest church, the Southern Baptist Convention, also opposes abortion, although it does allow an exception in cases where the mother’s life is in danger. Read More →
Immigration to the United Kingdom has been one of the most important issues driving the debate over whether or not the UK should remain a member of the European Union. Britain’s exit from the EU, or “Brexit,” will be decided in a June 23 referendum, with some seeing an exit as a way to slow immigration into the UK.
Here are five facts about migration into and out of the UK:
1The UK has the fifth-largest immigrant population in the world, at 8.5 million. Between 1990 and 2015, the UK’s immigrant population more than doubled, from 3.7 million. As of 2015, about 13% of the UK’s resident population was foreign-born, comparable to the roughly 14% foreign-born share in the United States.
2As of 2015, the UK’s immigrant population has one of the most diverse groups of origin countries in the world, tying Denmark for the highest diversity score, which measures the distribution of immigrants from different source countries. The top three origin countries of immigrants living in the UK are India (780,000), Poland (700,000) and Pakistan (540,000). Read More →
Category: 5 Facts