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Views on abortion in US: regional differences grow wider (+video)

Opposition to abortion in the South has grown markedly in the past 20 years even as other parts of the nation – such as New England – have seen support rise, reflecting political polarization.

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Opinion on abortion in the United States has held mostly steady for the past two decades, but regional differences are widening, according to the Pew Research Center.

That growing regional divide comes as many of the states in conservative regions add new laws regulating abortion doctors and clinics. In particular, the South Central region – Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas – has seen significant growth in opposition to abortion since 1995, Pew found.

“The most important trend in this report is that the balance has flipped” in the South Central part of the country, says Carroll Doherty, associate director of the Pew Research Center. “You always saw less support for legal abortion in South Central, but since the '90s, it’s flipped from modestly in favor to 12 points against.”

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