A new Gallup poll shows the number of Americans who consider themselves pro-choice has dropped to 41 percent, which is a record low in the United States. Compare that number to July of 2011, where 47 percent of Americans viewed themselves as pro-choice.
The previous record low was in 2009 when 42 percent considered themselves pro-choice.
Fifty percent of Americans now call themselves "pro-life," the poll also shows.
In analyzing the data, Gallup notes:
Gallup began asking Americans to define themselves as pro-choice or pro-life on abortion in 1995, and since then, identification with the labels has shifted from a wide lead for the pro-choice position in the mid-1990s, to a generally narrower lead for "pro-choice" -- from 1998 through 2008 -- to a close division between the two positions since 2009. However, in the last period, Gallup has found the pro-life position significantly ahead on two occasions, once in May 2009 and again today. It remains to be seen whether the pro-life spike found this month proves temporary, as it did in 2009, or is sustained for some period.
In other words, this number for the time being could be fluid or fixed.
The Morning Joe panel looked at the poll results today and discussed what they considered to be reasons behind the shift in opinion.
Joe Scarborough said he thinks advances in technology may play a large role in that number:
You now have the technology that not only takes parents inside so early. And it’s three-dimensional imaging and you sit there and you know what you do? You tear up. That’s what you do…The imagery that’s allowing parents to see their unborn children earlier, that’s having an impact. I remember seeing the 3-D imagery, and as I walked out of the office, I said ‘This is going to change the abortion debate. This is gonna change that because you see that and you immediately go ‘Ok, you can call it what you want to call it, but that’s a human being in there.’ That’s not a political statement. That is a statement as a dad.
Scarborough also said favorability for abortion along with gay marriage, what he called "the two most volatile social issues of our time," are moving in opposite directions.
"[Americans] are becoming more progressive on gay marriage, because they’re meeting more people who are married and saying 'Ok, come on. What’s the big deal? Just let them get married.' And so that number is going in one direction."
Random House's Jon Meacham also noted that: "You can be pro-life but also favor laws that allow choice. You can be personally pro-life but believe that there is a right to an abortion under certain circumstances."
What do you think accounts for the shift in opinion on abortion? Does new technology play a large factor? What are other reasons?