A poll released by the Wall Street Journal on Friday revealed that a plurality of registered voters favor a 15-week abortion ban, the kind of restriction the U.S. Supreme Court will decide in the next few months whether to uphold or not. Forty-eight percent of respondents said that they supported such a ban, while 43 percent opposed it. The poll question included exemptions for the health of the mother.
Last December, the Court heard oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson, to decide the constitutionality of previability abortion bans. While 15-week abortion bans and other similar bills have been considered at the state level across the country, the Court was specifically addressing the Gestational Age Act out of Mississippi, which was signed into law in 2018.
A decision is expected in June. While one can never truly predict what the Court will do, both sides of the abortion issue expect the Mississippi law to be upheld, and for the 1973 decision of Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion on demand throughout all 50 states, to be overturned, at least in part.
This finding is consistent with other polls, and pro-lifers are hopeful.
"This recent Wall Street Journal poll adds to the body of data which shows that people support legal protections of preborn children after 15 weeks gestation. Two out of three polls conducted by Marquette University Law School since September of 2021 show such laws enjoy majority support. Furthermore, six Gallup polls taken since 1996 all found that at least 65% of Americans think abortion should be 'generally illegal' during the second trimester," Dr. Michael New, an associate scholar at the Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI) told Townhall.
Those polls that Dr. New referred to came from September 2021, when 40 percent favored the law being upheld, while 36 percent opposed it. A poll from November 2021 similarly found that 37 percent favored the law being upheld, while 32 percent opposed it. While a January 2022 poll from more opposition than support, it was slight, and within the margin of error. Fifty-one percent opposed the law being upheld, while 49 percent supported it, which the poll's headline referred to as "closely divided."
Dr. New also referred to Gallup, with annual polls on abortion usually being released in June. While more Americans consider themselves pro-choice, and an increasing amount of respondents find abortion to be "morally acceptable," it cannot be stressed enough that the polls also show respondents strongly favor abortion restrictions after the first trimester, which goes until the 12th week of pregnancy.
Gallup's in-depth topic page on abortion showed that close to, if not more than, two-thirds of Americans want abortion illegal in the second trimester. That number is over 80 percent when it comes to the third trimester.
A WSJ write-up from Catherine Lucey also noted, though, that "the survey found a majority of voters say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, underscoring the complicated views many Americans hold on the issue."
Such a finding is also at odds with Gallup's finding in a poll conducted last May, which is that 48 percent want abortion "legal under only certain circumstances." That option has enjoyed a plurality or majority of support for years.
The WSJ poll surveyed 1,500 registered voters from March 2-March 7, with a margin of error on the legality of abortion question being at plus or minus 2.5 percent and the margin of error on the 15-week abortion ban being at plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.