Factbox: Broad U.S. support for abortion rights at odds with Supreme Court’s restrictions

WASHINGTON, June 24 (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court ruling that has upended nearly half a century of legal protection for the right to abortion is in stark contrast to public opinion in a country where a significant majority of people support the right to abortion.

Here are some key takeaways on Americans’ views on abortion rights from a Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted before the Supreme Court issued its ruling:


About 71% of Americans — including majorities of Democrats and Republicans — say decisions to terminate a pregnancy should be left to a woman and her doctor, rather than regulated by the government. But this support is not absolute: 26% of respondents said abortion should be legal in all cases, while 10% said it should be illegal in all cases. More than half of 4,409 respondents to the Reuters/Ipsos poll said abortion should be legal in some cases but illegal in others.

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Republicans are much more likely than Democrats to support abortion restrictions. But while Republicans in Congress overwhelmingly support cracking down on abortion, 36% of Republican respondents to the survey said abortion should be legal in most or all cases. Similarly, 34% of Democrats think abortion should be illegal in most or all cases. A fifth of Democrats said it was too easy for women to get abortions.


About three-quarters of women agreed with the statement that decisions about abortion should be left to the woman and her doctor, compared to about two-thirds of men. Some 63% of Republican women supported this claim.


Abortion rights will help shape November’s midterm elections, which will determine control of the US Congress and the 36 gubernatorial seats. State legislatures are also at stake, and elections could factor into many state-level attempts to restrict access to abortion. About 34% of those polled said Democrats had better plans for abortion policy, compared to 26% who preferred the Republican approach. The rest of the respondents either chose no party or said they didn’t know which was better.

* The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted May 16-23, online, in English, across the United States. It collected responses from 4,409 adults including 2,036 Democrats, 1,637 Republicans and 530 independents. The results have a credibility interval, a measure of precision, of between 2 and 5 percentage points.

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Reporting by Jason Lange; Editing by Scott Malone and Lisa Shumaker

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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