Friday, June 4, 2021

Roe v. Wade at Risk

The United States Supreme Court will take up Mississippi’s prohibitive abortion law next term. It could trigger a major reconsideration of Roe v. Wade to end it as a legal precedent or significantly limit its legal boundaries. And by 2022, many states have or would move to ban or limit it as much as allowed.

Abortion rights are a very polarizing issue, but a majority of the public does not favor overturning Roe v. Wade.

  • A 2020 Gallup poll shows the public describe themselves as either pro-choice (48%) or pro-life (46%), and that closeness has extended during most of the 20th century.
  • The latest Quinnipiac poll asks if Americans agree or disagree with the Roe v. Wade decision and 63 percent agreed and 61 percent did not believe it would be overturned.
  • A May 2021 Pew Research poll affirms what most polls show that a majority of the public accepts some restrictions, but leans toward abortion being legal in all or most cases (59%) as opposed to illegal in all or most cases (39%) – a 20 percent difference, 9 points above a majority.
  • Although political parties have become very polarized on the abortion issue, both parties have members who are willing to tolerate restrictions and not absolute rights or bans (Quinnipiac 2021).

As the table shows, 22 percent of Republicans and 17 percent of Democrats disagree with their respective majorities. Also, each party has about 40 percent of its members in the middle – accepting some restrictions, but not the extreme position.

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