Ever wanted to know what millenials think about abortion? This survey reveals all. (Photo: Getty Images/Sarah Lawless)
What do young adults actually think when it comes to things like “pro-choice” and “pro-life” labels, college responses to sexual assault, and emergency contraceptive use?
A new survey provides some insight into the millenial brain. The nonpartisan nonprofit Public Religion Research Institute asked 2,314 adults ages 18 to 35 questions regarding contraception, sexual assault, abortion, marriage, and more, to capture a glimpse of young adults’ attitudes on these topics.
Among the findings:
When it comes to sex ed…
- Seventy-five percent say they think there should be comprehensive sex education courses taught in public schools. But 23 percent report not having these sorts of classes in their middle or high schools.
- Millenials who went to religious high schools are more likely to say they didn’t have sex ed (32 percent) compared with those who went to public high schools (21 percent).
- When it comes to what’s actually being taught in the sex ed classes, more millenials in the survey say they think teaching about safe sex and birth control use is better to prevent pregnancy than abstinence (67 percent versus 23 percent).
When it comes to contraception…
- Most millenials consider artificial birth control “morally acceptable” (71 percent). Nine percent say they consider it “morally wrong.”
- More than half (55 percent) say you shouldn’t need a prescription to get emergency contraception.
- Nearly 20 percent of millenial-age women report having used emergency contraception (such as the morning after pill) at some point in their lives.
- Sixty percent say contraception access is critical to women’s financial security.
When it comes to sex-related experiences…
- Seven percent of millenial women say they’ve had an unintended pregnancy, but 42 percent say they have a close friend or family member who has had an unintended pregnancy.
- Similarly, 8 percent of millenial women report having had an abortion, but 36 percent say they have a close friend or family member who has had one before.
- One percent say they are HIV positive or have AIDS, while 13 percent say they know a close friend or family member with HIV/AIDS.
When it comes to abortion…
- Twenty-seven percent of millenials say abortion should be illegal in most cases (27 percent) or all cases (15 percent), while 33 percent think abortion should be legal in most cases (33 percent) or all cases (22 percent).
- A little more than half of millenials (55 percent) say legal abortions should be provided by at least some health care professionals in the community.
- White evangelical Protestant millenials are the demographic most likely to oppose abortion (80 percent) in all or most cases.
- Sixty-one percent of black Protestant, 63 percent of mainline Protestant, and 79 percent of religiously unaffiliated millenials say abortion should be legal.
- Barely more than half of white Catholic millenials (51 percent) say abortion should be legal (with 49 percent saying it should be illegal), while 55 percent of Hispanic Catholics and 61 percent of Hispanic Protestants believe it should be illegal.
- More than half of millenials don’t believe it should be difficult for a woman to get an abortion (56 percent), particularly those in the Northeast, South and West.
- Millenials in the South report more difficult access to abortion in their communities, compared with other regions.
- Those “pro-life” or “pro-choice” labels are not so popular among 18-to-35-year-olds: Just 25 percent say they are “pro-life” while 27 percent say they are “pro-choice.”
- Abortion is “morally wrong” to 35 percent of millenials, while it’s “morally acceptable” to 21 percent of millenials. But 39 percent say the morality of abortion depends on the situation.
When it comes to marriage and relationships…
- Most millenials (71 percent) don’t believe that marriage has become old-fashioned/out-of-date.
- Most millenials don’t believe family life suffers when a woman has a full-time job (66 percent).
- Nearly half of millenials agree that family life suffers when men concentrate too much on work (49 percent).
When it comes to stigma and discrimination…
- According to millenials, people who are transgender face the most negative social judgment (47 percent of millenials say this group faces a lot of stigma in the community).
- People with HIV/AIDS, pregnant teens, and teen parents also face a lot of negative social judgment, millenials say.
- Just 29 percent of millenials say gay or lesbian people face a lot of stigma in their community, and 24 percent of millenials say women who have had an abortion face a lot of stigma in their community.
When it comes to sexual assault…
- Fifteen percent of millenial women say that they’ve been sexually assaulted before. Meanwhile, 34 percent report knowing a close friend or family member who’s been sexually assaulted.
- The majority of millenials (73 percent) say sexual assault is somewhat or very common on college campuses, while slightly fewer (53 percent) say it’s somewhat or very common in high schools.
- Colleges need to do more to prevent sexual assault, millenials say — 60 percent believe higher institutions don’t do enough to address it.
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