How the Supreme Court abortion decision compares to public opinion

(NewsNation) — The American public expected the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, but they may not agree on what happens next in several states, according to a series of NewsNation/DecisionDesk HQ poll results.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday overturned the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade case, ending federal Constitutional protections for abortion. It now leaves the decision of whether to restrict abortion access to individual states.

Thirteen states already have plans in place to outlaw abortion, while other states have laws or state constitutional protections in place.

Americans have made their point of view clear that they favor abortion protections during the last two months of NewsNation polls, which each surveyed more than 1,000 registered voters.

In May, 68% of respondents said they expected Roe v. Wade to be overturned by the court. This came soon after a leaked opinion of the court’s decision showed the court’s intention to remove protections for abortions via the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

But in that same poll, 56% of voters said Roe should not be overturned with only 28% favoring the removal of protections for abortions.

On Thursday, NewsNation released a new poll that revealed more details on voters’ opinions on abortion.

Support for the ability to have an abortion is clear. The poll showed two-thirds of the country thinks abortion should be legal in some or all cases, while 33 percent of respondents feel it should be illegal in some or all cases.

But NewsNation and Decision Desk HQ also asked specific instances of whether it should be legal to get an abortion:

  • 62% favor abortion in instances when the life of the baby would be endangered
  • 72% favor abortion when the life of the mother would be endangered
  • 75% favor abortion when pregnancy was a result of rape or incest
  • 40% favor abortion when a woman does not want to be pregnant for any other reason

Kiel Williams, a senior data scientist with Decision Desk HQ, said there is “huge” variance in what people mean when they say “I support abortion” or “I am pro-choice,” showing that there is more nuance to the issue than simply just being for or against it.

This week’s NewsNation poll also broke down the question of abortion by age and race.

Ages 18-34 tended to favor abortion being legal in all cases more than any other age group; 38% of young people said abortion should always be legal and an additional 35% said it should be legal in most cases.

People older than 35 still overwhelmingly favored abortion in all or most cases, but were more skeptical than their younger peers in allowing abortions: 36% of adults older than 35 believed abortion should be illegal in most or all cases, compared to 28% of people 34 or younger.

White people were more likely than minority groups to oppose abortion in all or some cases: 36% of white people believed abortion should be illegal in most or all cases, compared to 25% of Asians, 30% of Blacks and 27% of Hispanics.


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