Tales of newborn babies struggling for life before Dr. Kermit Gosnell allegedly snipped their spinal cords at his Philadelphia clinic haven't dramatically altered public opinion on abortion, a poll released Friday by Gallup finds.
Forty-eight percent of respondents told Gallup they were "pro-life" and 45 percent said they were "pro-choice." This indicates a closer divide than in 2012, when a Gallup poll found the "pro-choice" position sinking to an all-time low of 41 percent support.
The results indicate shades of gray for people who identify with the "pro-life" or "pro-choice" labels. Twenty-six percent of respondents said all abortions should be legal, 20 percent said all abortions should be banned and 52 percent said they favor legal abortions under certain circumstances.
Adults between the ages of 18 and 34 were the age demographic most likely to say abortion should be banned in all cases, with 23 percent saying so. Eighteen percent of 35-to 54-year-olds said they support an absolute ban on abortions, as did 19 percent of respondents over 55.
Gosnell's jury is currently weighing evidence on 227 criminal counts. He was arrested in 2011 and awaits judgment on four counts of first-degree murder. Former employees testified about deplorable conditions at his clinic, and Stephen Massof, an unlicensed doctor who worked for Gosnell, said he witnessed about 100 babies born alive before having their spinal cords "snipped" to ensure death. One witness against Gosnell was another Philadelphia abortion provider.
According to Gallup, 25 percent of Americans paid attention "very closely" or "somewhat closely" to the Gosnell trial. Fifty-four percent paid no attention to the case. Republicans were most likely to tune in to coverage, with 40 percent watching very or somewhat closely.
The poll surveyed 1,535 adults May 2 to 7. Its calculated margin of error is 4 percentage points.