Half of US states could ban abortions as Roe v. Wade is overturned

Abortion rights activists react outside the Supreme Court in Washington on June 24.
Abortion rights activists react outside the Supreme Court in Washington on June 24. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

A large majority of Americans did not want to see Roe v. Wade overturned, polls conducted before the Supreme Court’s ruling showed. Here’s a recap of the latest data on public views on abortion, from CNN and beyond:

Views on Roe’s upset against Wade

In a CNN poll taken in May immediately after the leak of the Supreme Court’s draft opinion, Americans said, 66% to 34%, that they did not want the Supreme Court to completely overturn its ruling. In CNN’s 1989 poll, the public’s share in favor of completely overthrowing Roe never exceeded 36%.

Just 17% of Americans polled in the CNN poll said they would be happy to see Roe vs. Wade upset, with 12% saying they would be satisfied, 21% that they would be dissatisfied, 36% that they would be angry. , and 14% that they don’t care. Most Democrats (59%) and nearly half of adults under 35 (48%) said they would be angry. And a 59% majority of Americans said they would support Congress passing legislation establishing a national abortion right, with just 41% opposed.

In a May CBS/YouGov poll, 63% of Americans said they expected Roe’s cancellation would make access to abortion more difficult for poor women, with 58% saying it would make access to abortion more difficult for women of color. Fewer similar difficulties expected for white women (35%) or wealthy women (19%). And a majority of women (54%) said that, in general, overthrowing Roe would make life worse for most American women.

Opinions on national abortion laws

In the CNN poll, 58% of American adults said that if Roe was overthrown, they would want their state to establish abortion laws that were more permissive than restrictive. About half (51%) said they would like to see their state become a safe haven for women who wanted abortions but couldn’t get them where they lived.

But not everyone knew in advance how their own state would be affected. Among Americans living in states with trigger laws to immediately ban abortion after Roe’s overthrow, only 45% realized that was the case, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll in May. Another 42% living in those states did not know how the decision would impact where they live.

Political implications

It is still too early to know how views on abortion might change as a result of the Court’s decision, or to predict how the consequences of the decision might affect the upcoming elections. There are some early signs that the hit to abortion access could be particularly motivating for pro-abortion advocates. A sizable portion of core Democratic supporters, such as young people and women, said they would be angry at the decision, and several polls this spring found that Democratic voters were more likely than Republican voters to consider abortion as a very relevant issue for this year’s elections. . But it is less clear how this motivation might play out or how much it will alter the overall political landscape.

A May poll by Monmouth University found that 48% of Democrats considered a candidate’s alignment with their views on abortion extremely important to their vote, up from 31% in 2018; among Republicans, the number was 29%, down from 36% four years ago.

A CNN poll conducted immediately before and after the leak of a draft Supreme Court ruling on Roe v. Wade found a 7-point rise in Americans who said their views on abortion aligned more about Democrats than Republicans. But there was little immediate evidence of a dramatic shift in one of Republicans’ early advantages heading into the midterms.

Opinions of the Supreme Court

The ruling could also affect Americans’ views of the Supreme Court. Following the leak of the draft notice, according to a Marquette Law School poll, public approval for the court plummeted from 54% in March to 44% in May. Much of the change was due to a shift among Democrats: While 49% of Democrats approved of the Supreme Court in March, only 26% felt the same way in May. Marquette’s poll in May also found that 23% of Americans viewed the Supreme Court as “very conservative,” a slight increase from 15% in March.

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