Culture Wars/Current Controversies

How Americans Really Feel About Abortion: The Sometimes Surprising Poll Results As Supreme Court Reportedly Set To Overturn Roe V. Wade

By Alison Durkee Forbes

The Supreme Court appears poised to overturn Roe v. Wade and let states outlaw abortion, according to a draft opinion reported by Politico, and while a review of national polls shows many Americans consistently split between identifying between the partisan labels “pro-choice” or “pro-life,” a clear majority supports keeping the procedure legal—though that support drops quickly depending on the circumstance.

Key Facts

Broad support for abortion rights: Gallup polls show Americans’ support for abortion in all or most cases at 80% in May 2021, only sightly higher than in 1975 (76%), and the Pew Research Center finds 59% of adults believe abortion should be legal, compared to 60% in 1995—though there has been fluctuation, with support dropping to a low of 47% in 2009.

The share of Americans in Gallup’s poll who say abortion is morally acceptable reached a record high of 47% in May, up from a low of 36% in 2009, and a Quinnipiac poll found support for abortion being legal in all or most cases reached a near-record high in September with 63% support.

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