Key Point: “Americans overwhelmingly oppose the next goal of many anti-abortion activists, to enact a federal law banning abortion nationwide. By 80%-14%, those surveyed opposed that idea, including 65% of Republicans and 83% of independents. By 53%-39%, they supported a federal law ensuring access to abortion.”
USA Today: Exclusive: Support for legal abortion rises a year after Roe v. Wade overturned-Poll
By Susan Page, Rachel Looker and Miles J. Herszenhorn
- In what was surely a case of unintended consequences, the landmark Supreme Court decision one year ago overturning Roe v. Wade is putting abortion opponents increasingly at odds with public opinion and creating political perils for candidates on their side.
- In a new USA TODAY/Suffolk University poll, one in four Americans say state efforts that have followed to impose strict limits on abortion access have made them more supportive of abortion rights.
- The Dobbs decision, which removed access to abortion as a constitutionally protected right, elated the anti-abortion movement but its aftermath is helping boost support for legal abortion to historic highs and reshaping the debate over what has long been the deepest political wedge issue in the nation.
- “I don’t think it should have been overturned,” Tanya Goodpasture, 53, of Independence, Missouri, said in a follow-up interview after being polled. A Republican who voted for Donald Trump in 2020, she expressed concern about abortion, especially after a fetus’ heartbeat could be detected. But she added: “We’re here to make our own choices and deal with the repercussions.”
- By almost 4-1, 23%-6%, those whose views on abortion have changed in the past year said they have become more supportive of legal abortion, not less supportive. That includes more women than men, more Democrats than Republicans, and more younger voters than seniors. The shift was pronounced among Black respondents. Almost a third, 32%, said they had become more supportive of abortion access in the past year.
- And independent women, one of the most critical swing groups in elections, by 28%-5% said they had become more supportive of abortion rights.
- By almost 2-1, 58%-30%, those surveyed opposed the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
- That said, more than three in four said abortion would be an important issue for them; 20% said it would be the single most important issue.
- But Jamie Nassehi, 63, a builder and a Democrat from Silver Spring, Maryland, said access to abortion has become a more important issue to him in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling. “States are criminalizing something that was a precedent for 50 years,” he said. In a reference to the religious right and the more conservative majority on the high court, he said, “If they keep going, this country will be unrecognizable because they force their views on everybody and they’re a minority, really.”
- Americans overwhelmingly oppose the next goal of many anti-abortion activists, to enact a federal law banning abortion nationwide. By 80%-14%, those surveyed opposed that idea, including 65% of Republicans and 83% of independents.
- By 53%-39%, they supported a federal law ensuring access to abortion.
- “When 80% of Democrats and 53% of independents want Congress to pass a law ensuring nationwide access to abortion, you get the picture here,” said David Paleologos, director of Suffolk University’s Political Research Center. “Among women in the all-important independent-voter demographic, 63% support a national law. Even 23% of Republican men and women support it.”
- Since the Dobbs decision in June 2022, abortion has become unavailable in 14 states, and courts have blocked enforcement of bans in several others, according to the Guttmacher Institute, which tracks reproductive issues. Some new bans were passed by state legislatures and pre-Roe laws have gone back into effect in other states.
- Georgia is now enforcing a ban at six weeks of pregnancy, Nebraska at 12 weeks, and Arizona and Florida at 15 weeks. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed a ban at six weeks, contingent on a pending state court decision. North Carolina has passed a 12-week ban, set to go into effect July 1.
- The USA TODAY/Suffolk findings were consistent [with] other survey research. The Gallup Poll reports that support for legal abortion rose in reaction to the Dobbs decision and has remained at record highs. Last month, 69% said abortion should generally be legal in the first three months of pregnancy, the highest level since Gallup first asked the question in 1975.
- In all, a 53% majority said abortion should be legal in most or all cases; 28% said it should be illegal in most or all cases.
- Rebecca Romano, 35, who works in a retirement community in Mesa, Arizona, said support for legal abortion would be a “very, very big factor” for her vote. An independent, she voted for a third-party candidate in the last presidential election.
- “I think for the health and wellness of women, it’s a huge issue,” she said. “I feel like we literally just went backwards.” She would like the Supreme Court to change course and recognize access to abortion as a constitutional right. “I feel like Roe vs. Wade needs to be turned over again,” she said.
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