A recent survey shows vast support for abortion access—and opposition to overturning Roe v. Wade.
Support for access to safe, legal abortion is at a record high, according to a poll released in January 2019 from PerryUndem—a non-partisan public opinion research firm.
The poll found that nearly three-fourths (73%) 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
Voters' support for abortion rights is as high as we have seen in years.– PerryUndem report
In addition to the vast support for Roe v. Wade, 67% of voters say abortion should be legal in all or most cases. That's a supermajority in support of safe, legal abortion. And it’s not just this poll. For comparison, consider Quinnipiac University—one of the main sources for public opinion on abortion. Quinnipiac has been asking Americans if abortion should be legal in all or most cases since at least 2004, when 57% of respondents agreed. Since then, the proportion of support has risen substantially—now, nearly two in three people support 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 Roe v. Wade and the constitutional right to access abortion.
Similarities and Differences Across the Political Aisle
With so much talk about how the nation is divided on abortion, the research shows there is consensus—and that consensus falls on the side of abortion access. Still, while the support for Roe v. Wade spans across party lines, views on anti-abortion politicians’ motives are different from party to party.
In recent years, legislators in states across the country have passed hundreds of laws to restrict abortion. These include targeted restrictions on abortion providers or “TRAP” laws, such as imposing medically unnecessary, burdensome building requirements on health centers or requiring admitting privileges at hospitals where doing so is politically impossible. Recently, four six-week abortion bans have passed in state legislatures, and similar bans have been introduced in 12 other states. These are direct challenges to Roe v. Wade.
So, what do Democrats and Republicans think are lawmakers’ motivations for restricting access to abortion with laws like these? The top reason Republican respondents to this question cite is to reduce the number of abortions (see page 47 of the report). The top reason Democrats mention is to get campaign money from anti-abortion lobbyists. [Read more about anti-abortion lawmakers’ motivations at the federal level and the state level.]
Stop the Bans
Politicians in multiple states are passing laws that ban abortion at a point before most people know they're pregnant. We won’t stand by while they take away our right to control our own bodies.
Concern Over the Supreme Court
The survey also found that voters are uncertain about the future of abortion rights now that there is a conservative majority on the Supreme Court. With the appointments of Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, President Trump made good on his promise to nominate judges whose records indicate they would rule to overturn Roe v. Wade if given the chance.
When asked about the chances of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, 43% of respondents say the chances are 50-50 and an additional 19% describe that outcome as somewhat or very likely. Overall, four in 10 respondents have the impression that the right to access abortion in the United States is at risk.
Why People Support Abortion and Worry About Roe v. Wade
There are myriad reasons why many 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 America will have an abortion during her lifetime. Every day, people across the United States make deeply personal decisions about whether or not to continue their pregnancies.
About the PerryUndem Survey
Researchers surveyed 1,319 registered voters across two weeks in December 2018. Respondents represented a variety of political views, age, gender, and racial and ethnic backgrounds.