Health Care

More Americans support than oppose 15-week abortion bans: WSJ poll

Protesters outside Supreme Court as justices hear arguments in high-profile abortion case
Julia Nikhinson

As the fight around abortion prepares for new decisions this summer at the Supreme Court, a new poll from The Wall Street Journal found more Americans support a ban on abortions 15 weeks or more into a pregnancy than oppose it.

In the poll, 48 percent said they strongly or somewhat favored a 15-week abortion ban with the exception of protecting the health of the mother, while 43 percent were opposed to such a ban. 

The poll found 31 percent strongly supported the ban, and 17 percent somewhat supported it. On the opposite side, about 34 percent strongly opposed the measure, while around 10 percent somewhat opposed it. 

The results come as multiple Republican-led states have passed bills that ban abortions after the pregnant person is 15 weeks into the pregnancy. 

The Supreme Court, now with a 6-3 conservative majority after former President Trump made three appointments confirmed by a GOP Senate, is set to consider a Mississippi law banning abortions 15 weeks into a pregnancy.

The state law is one of several that have been moved through GOP legislatures to limit abortion rights.

President Biden’s nomination of Ketanji Brown Jackson would not change the makeup of the court, which would retain the 6-3 conservative majority if she is confirmed by the Senate, as expected.

Although more respondents supported than opposed the 15-week ban, a majority of voters said abortions should be legal in all or most cases. 

Fifty-five percent supported the legality of abortion in most cases, 30 percent said it should only be legal in cases of rape, incest or health of the mother, and 11 percent said it should be illegal in all cases.

The results underscore the complexity of abortion opinions in America.

“A majority opposes overturning Roe v. Wade but most would support moving the viability threshold to 15 weeks instead of 24 weeks,” Mark Penn, the co-director of a Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll survey, said back in December.

The new poll was conducted between March 2 and March 7 among 1,500 registered voters. The margin of error regarding the support for 15-week abortion bans was 3.6 percentage points, while the margin of error for whether abortion should be legal was 2.5 percentage points.

Tags abortion abortion ban Donald Trump Joe Biden Mark Penn pro-choice pro-life Roe v. Wade

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