Several new polls with different wording, but all conducted in January 2013, all show majorities and, in some cases, super majorities for not overturning the Roe v. Wade decision.
But Roe v. Wade has its weaknesses as a firm constitutional right:
- Many constitutional scholars believe the core legal rationale is not well-embedded in constitutional doctrine or tradition and, hence, invites challenges. The Court has accepted state-sponsored restrictions to the abortion right (Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 1992) and federal restrictions related to partial-birth abortion (Gonzales v. Carhart, 2007).
- Most people will accept restrictions. Gallup reports more than half of Americans believe abortion should be illegal only under certain circumstances. Eighty percent believe abortion should be illegal in the last trimester. However, there are more pro-abortion activists (about 30% in polls) than anti-abortion activists (range from 9% to 18%).
- Nearly a majority of the public (47%) believe abortion is morally wrong. Hence, there is a level of moral discomfort that leads people to support reasonable sounding limitations.
- The issue does not command much public attention. Only 18 percent see abortion as a critical issue and only 44 percent of persons from 18 to 29 years old can identify that Roe v. Wade was about abortion (only 13% of younger voters saw it as a critical issue). Although they are more pro-choice than people 30 years old and older, they are not activated by the issue the way feminists were in the 1970s and 1980s.
- The issue is a problem for Republicans. Although Gallup reports 67 percent of Republicans call themselves pro-life, the party is divided 46 percent to 48 percent in favor of not overturning Roe v. Wade. Hence, a substantial percentage of party identifiers support restrictions, but not criminalizing the core right.