Majorities of Americans want the Supreme Court to uphold Roe v. Wade and favor allowing women access to an abortion for any reason, a new poll shows.
The survey out Thursday found 68% of the respondents think the 1973 landmark case legalizing abortion nationwide should not be overturned, while 30% said the justices should strike it down.
The Wall Street Journal/NORC poll was taken after a draft Supreme Court decision written by Justice Samuel Alito was leaked to the public, showing the court is on the verge of overturning Roe v. Wade — a ruling that could come as early as this month.
Fifty-seven percent of Americans also believe a woman should be able to get an abortion for any reason — the highest percentage since NORC began asking the question in 1977.
But 41% say they oppose a woman getting an abortion simply because she wants one – the lowest on record.
The percentages change depending on the length of the pregnancy.
Asked about banning abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, 34% say they support that, 43% opposed it, and 21% say they they neither support nor oppose.
Asked about a ban after six weeks, 30% were in favor, 49% were opposed and 19% expressed no view.
“There’s still obviously a lot of nuance in people’s abortion opinions,” Jennifer Benz, vice president of public affairs and media research at NORC, told the Wall Street Journal.
The poll also revealed that support for abortion rose slowly between the late 1970s to the late 2010s when it began picking up speed.
And most Americans 44% want the Supreme Court to be responsible for abortion law, rather than state legislatures and governors (20%), Congress (17%), and state courts (15%).
“I personally don’t agree with abortion, but I don’t think there should be laws banning women from having abortions. The option should be available,” Katrina Jones, 46, of Fort Worth, Texas, told the newspaper.
“In my state, it’s being used as campaign talk. I don’t think it’s sincere about saving children’s lives,” Jones, who doesn’t identify with a political party, said.
Norine Woodruff, 63, said she used to support abortion rights but her views changed over the years.
Woodruff, who usually votes Republican, said she backs the court overturning Roe v. Wade and supports the states passing their own abortion laws, but still believes there should be access in cases of rape or incest, serious birth defects of a risk to the mother’s health.
“My opinion has changed dramatically from the late ’70s and early ’80s, when I had at least five or six friends that had them. Each one of them, I ended up crying with them,” Woodruff, of Forest Lake, Minn., said. “It just went too far.”
There’s still a large share of people – 66% – who believe Supreme Court decisions are based on the justices’ political views, instead of the Constitution and the law (33%).
“They’re most definitely following political leanings,” Zachary Lindahl, 35, of Henderson, N.C., told the news outlet about the Supreme Court.
Lindahl said he votes Democratic even though he considers himself an independent and is in favor of keeping Roe v. Wade, but he expressed concern with elected officials and courts setting dictates on abortion.
“What happens if we get another conservative Congress?” he asked.
The poll surveyed 1,071 adults between May 9 -17.
It has a plus/minus 4 percentage points margin of error.