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A recent survey shows overwhelming support for abortion access—and opposition to overturning Roe v. Wade.

Support for access to safe, legal abortion remains at supermajority levels, according to a poll released in June 2019 by Marist College, National Public Radio, and the PBS NewsHour.

The poll found that over three-fourths (77%) of American voters do not want Roe v. Wade overturned. Roe v. Wade is the landmark Supreme Court case that affirmed the constitutional right to abortion in 1973.

Record-High Support for Abortion Access

Most Americans do not support the view of some Republicans that Roe v. Wade should be overturned.

– PBS NewsHour

And it’s not just this poll. Quinnipiac University — one of the main sources for public opinion on abortion — has been asking Americans if abortion should be legal in all or most cases since 2004, when 57% of respondents agreed. Since then, the proportion of support has risen substantially; in 2018, nearly two in three people supported abortion access in all or most cases.

The data is clear: Despite anti-abortion politicians’ lies and attacks on reproductive rights, the majority of Americans support the constitutional right to access abortion.

Voters Oppose Anti-Abortion Laws

In the Marist poll, respondents also expressed opposition to the wave of recent legislation championed by anti-abortion state lawmakers. Marist found that 62% of registered voters oppose attempts to ban abortion past six to eight weeks of pregnancy. An even larger majority of registered voters — 70% — opposes legislation that would subject doctors who provide abortion care to fines or prison time.

Despite this overwhelming opposition, legislators in states across the country have in recent years passed hundreds of laws to restrict abortion. These include targeted restrictions on abortion providers (or “TRAP” laws), which often impose medically unnecessary, burdensome building requirements on health centers or require admitting privileges at hospitals where doing so is impossible. 

In 2019, four states have enacted six-week abortion bans, with similar bans introduced in legislatures in 12 other states. Alabama enacted a near-total abortion ban. These restrictions are meant — in defiance of public support for access to safe, legal abortion — as direct challenges to Roe v. Wade.

[Read more about anti-abortion lawmakers’ motivations at the federal level and the state level.]

 

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Concern About the Supreme Court

The Marist survey also found that voters’ concern about the future of abortion rights makes them wary about candidates’ potential appointments to the federal courts. With the addition of Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, President Trump made good on his promise to appoint judges whose records indicate they would rule to overturn Roe v. Wade if given the chance.

More than half of registered voters who responded to the survey — 54% — said they would definitely not vote for a candidate who would appoint judges to the Supreme Court who would limit or overturn Roe.

Why People Support Abortion and Worry About Roe v. Wade

There are many reasons why most Americans support access to safe, legal abortion and have concerns over the prospect of the Supreme Court overturning Roe. One reason is that having an abortion is common; nearly one out of every four women in the United States  will have an abortion during her lifetime. Every day, people across the country make deeply personal decisions about whether or not to continue their pregnancies.

About the NPR/PBS/NewsHour/Marist Poll

From May 31 through June 4, 2019, researchers surveyed 944 adults 18 years of age and older residing in the United States. The sample reflected the 2017 American Community Survey estimates for age, gender, income, race, and region.

Tags: Roe v. Wade, Public Opinion, Abortion, abortion access

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