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Americans support for abortion the highest since 1970s: Polls

  • 77% of Dems support unrestricted abortion access; one-third among GOP
  • GOP voters against abortion resist letting state lawmakers alter rules
  • Nearly 90% back abortion for rape or when a women's health is at risk

Demonstrators hold signs as they rally outside the Supreme Court building during the Women’s March in Washington, Saturday, June 24, 2023. Abortion rights and anti-abortion activists held rallies Saturday in Washington and across the country to call attention to the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling on June 24, 2022, which upended the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. (AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough)

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(NewsNation) — Abortion has garnered some of the highest levels of support among Americans since nonpartisan researchers began tracking it in the 1970s, according to a new Wall Street Journal-NORC poll.

The poll, conducted by the Journal of NORC at the University of Chicago, surveyed 1,163 voters from Oct. 24-29. It found that 55% of respondents said pregnant women should be able to obtain a legal abortion, if they want, for any reason. 

Following the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade, ending the constitutional right to the procedure, abortion rights groups have achieved seven consecutive victories in state ballot initiatives. Among them is an Ohio measure this month aimed at safeguarding abortion rights under the state constitution, according to the poll.

The poll noted Democrats and independent voters now back access to abortion by greater margins; previously, their support of abortion rights was roughly in line with that of Republicans up until the 1990s.

About 77% of Democrats said they support access to abortion for any reason — up from 52% in 2016, according to the poll. That share is one-third among Republicans.

However, the poll revealed some GOP voters, typically against abortion rights, oppose allowing state lawmakers to modify rules, a stance they view as consistent with conservative principles advocating for limited government intervention.

Numerous voters hold nuanced views, including supporting restrictions in later pregnancy and expressing considerations for challenging circumstances not adequately addressed by current legislative proposals.

Nearly 9 in 10 poll respondents support abortion access in cases of rape, incest or when a women’s health is seriously endangered by the pregnancy.

NORC polling indicates Americans’ attitudes toward abortion differ based on the reasons for terminating pregnancy — 86% of respondents support abortion access in cases of rape or incest, and 89% support it when a woman’s health is seriously endangered by the pregnancy.


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