In the aftermath of the Supreme Court's ruling in the abortion case Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, polls are coming out showing Americans' response to the historic overturn of Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Roe legalized abortion in all 50 states in 1973 and undermined laws created at the state level that prohibited abortion. Since then, several states have taken measures to put those laws back into effect and create new ones to protect the unborn.
Pew Research reported this week that the majority of Americans disapprove of the Supreme Court overturning landmark abortion case Roe v. Wade. This goes along with a Harvard CAPS/Harris poll I reported on this week that showed a majority of Americans disapproved of the ruling but supported limiting abortion to 15 weeks and leaving abortion laws up to states and their elected representatives. Overturning Roe sent the issue of abortion back to the states, and the law at the center of the Dobbs case was a 15-week abortion ban in Mississippi.
Pew Research's findings show that almost six-in-ten adults oppose the Court overturning Roe. Broken down by party, the support and opposition of the ruling are starker.
Nearly six-in-ten adults (57%) disapprove of the court’s sweeping decision, including 43% who strongly disapprove. About four-in-ten (41%) approve of the court’s decision (25% strongly approve).
Partisan differences on the legality of abortion have widened in recent years, and Republicans and Democrats are sharply divided in their initial views of the court’s decision.
About eight-in-ten Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents (82%) disapprove of the court’s decision, including nearly two-thirds (66%) who strongly disapprove. Most Republicans and Republican leaners (70%) approve of the court’s ruling; 48% strongly approve.
The poll findings were also broken down by gender. Women more than men oppose the Court's ruling.
The new survey by Pew Research Center, conducted among 6,174 Americans between June 27 and July 4 on the nationally representative American Trends Panel, finds that most women (62%) disapprove of the decision to end the federal right to an abortion. More than twice as many women strongly disapprove of the court’s decision (47%) as strongly approve (21%). Opinion among men is more closely divided: 52% disapprove (37% strongly), while 47% approve (28% strongly).
After Roe fell, several states implemented trigger laws that either took effect outright or will take effect in the foreseeable future. The survey asked adults living in the states with abortion restrictions on their thoughts on the overturn of Roe.
The survey finds that adults living in the 17 states where abortion is newly largely prohibited (or where prohibitions are set to take effect soon) are divided in opinions about the court’s decision to overturn Roe: 46% approve of the court’s decision, while slightly more (52%) disapprove…Opinion also is divided among adults in the four states that have new gestational restrictions on abortion in effect (or set to soon take effect) but have not prohibited it outright: 52% in these states disapprove of the court’s decision, while 47% approve. The balance of opinion is similar in the nine states where the status of the state’s abortion laws are uncertain (in which further action may be taken in the near term by state governors, legislatures or public referendum).
In the 20 states (plus the District of Columbia) where abortions are legal through at least 24 weeks of pregnancy, 65% disapprove of the court’s decision, including half who strongly disapprove. About a third of adults in these states approve of the court’s decision (34%), with just 19% strongly approving.
Since March, the survey reports that attitudes toward when abortion should be legal have not fluctuated. Sixty-two percent say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, whereas 36 percent say it should be illegal in all or most cases. Eighty-four percent of Democrats believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases, compared to 38 percent of Republicans.
In the Supreme Court's majority opinion for Dobbs, the Justices wrote that the U.S. Constitution does not protect the right to abortion and determined that Roe and Casey were wrongly decided.
"The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled; and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives," the opinion stated.
"Like the infamous decision in Plessy v. Ferguson, Roe was also egregiously wrong and on a collision course with the Constitution from the day it was decided. Casey perpetuated its errors, calling both sides of the national controversy to resolve their debate, but in doing so, Casey necessarily declared a winning side. Those on the losing side—those who sought to advance the State's interest in fetal life—could no longer seek to persuade their elected representatives to adopt policies consistent with their views. The Court short-circuited the democratic process by closing it to the large number of Americans who disagreed with Roe."