Support for Abortion Rights Nears Record High as Supreme Court Is Set to Gut Roe v. Wade

Recent polls show spiking support for reproductive rights—weeks before the Supreme Court is set to dismantle them.

Support for Abortion Rights Nears Record High as Supreme Court Is Set to Gut Roe v. Wade
Photo:Romy Arroyo Fernandez/NurPhoto via Getty Images (Getty Images)

A Gallup survey conducted after the leaked draft opinion showing the Supreme Court is ready to overturn Roe v. Wade found that support for abortion is near record highs while opposition is the lowest it’s been in decades. Other polling released this week underscores that most Americans are pro-choice and want Roe to remain in place.

Gallup noted that, for the first time since they asked the question in 2001, a majority of Americans (52 percent) said they view abortion as morally acceptable, while a record low said it was morally wrong (38 percent). This question is a bit reductive, as some people who view abortion as morally wrong still don’t want lawmakers to restrict or ban it—these people are pro-choice, whether they recognize that or not—but it’s interesting to see attitudes shifting nonetheless.

Of course, all the polls in the world won’t prevent this 6-3 conservative supermajority court from doing its worst, so this is just a reminder that abortion bans are unpopular and only happen through undemocratic means like gerrymandering and voter suppression. Public opinion is on the side of abortion access, and Democratic lawmakers at all levels should act accordingly.

The nationally representative Gallup poll found that 55 percent of people identify as pro-choice, the highest percentage since 1995. They wrote:

After a decade in which Americans’ identification as “pro-choice” varied narrowly between 45 percent and 50 percent, the percentage has jumped six points to 55 percent in the latest poll, compared with the prior measure a year ago.
Pro-choice sentiment is now the highest Gallup has measured since 1995 when it was 56 percent—the only other time it has been at the current level or higher—while the 39 percent identifying as “pro-life” is the lowest since 1996.
…The latest data show Americans are less likely than a year ago to say abortion should be illegal in all circumstances, falling six points to 13%, the lowest Gallup has recorded for this position since 1995.

Other polls find higher numbers of people saying they’re pro-choice, like this one from the firm Navigator Research, which puts the number at 63 percent—including 81 percent of Democrats, 53 percent of independents, and 44 percent of Republicans.

The Wall Street Journal wrote about another poll, one it conducted with the nonpartisan NORC at the University of Chicago, and that survey found that more than two-thirds of Americans (68 percent) don’t want the court to overturn Roe. The poll also found that more people are embracing unequivocal support for abortion access, with close to 60 percent saying the reason someone wants an abortion is none of their business:

Some 57% of respondents said a woman should be able to obtain a legal abortion if she wants it for any reason, the highest share since NORC began asking the question every few years starting in 1977.

The Wall Street Journal poll showed that Americans have little confidence in the Supreme Court, “with 66 percent saying Supreme Court decisions were based more on the members’ political views, compared with 33 percent who said their rulings were based on the Constitution and the law.” On this point, the Navigator poll also found that support for expanding the Supreme Court has increased 13 points since late March, and is now at 45 percent support versus 38 percent oppose.

As others have noted, public support for abortion access would probably be much higher if Democrats hadn’t spent decades advocating that it be “safe, legal, and rare” or enabling anti-abortion lawmakers within their ranks—something they’re doing to this day!

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