As Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell awaits the jury verdict in his capital murder trial, Gallup finds 26% of Americans saying abortion should be legal under any circumstances and 20% saying it should be illegal in all circumstances. The majority, 52%, opt for something in between, as has been the case in nearly every Gallup measure of this question since 1975.
The Philadelphia case centers on charges that Gosnell killed newborns that survived after he attempted to perform late-term abortions, as well as the death of a woman under his care.
Although the latest Gallup survey was conducted after much of the testimony in this trial had already been reported in the news, the stability in Americans' views about the legality of abortion suggests the trial has not swayed public opinion. Part of the reason could be that relatively few Americans are paying attention to it.
One-quarter of Americans say they have followed news of the case either very closely (7%) or somewhat closely (18%), but that is well below the 61% average level of attention Americans have paid to the more than 200 news stories Gallup has measured since 1991. An additional 20% of Americans say they are following it "not too closely" while 54% say "not at all." This makes the Gosnell case one of the least followed news stories Gallup has measured.