Poll: 77 percent say Supreme Court should uphold Roe v. Wade

Poll: 77 percent say Supreme Court should uphold Roe v. Wade
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More than three-quarters of Americans say they believe Roe v. Wade should be upheld, but a strong majority say they would like to see restrictions added to the ruling too, according to a new poll. 

An NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll released Friday found that 77 percent of respondents said the Supreme Court should uphold the landmark decision that established a woman's right to abortion in some form. 

According to the poll, 26 percent of Americans want to keep Roe v. Wade in place, but add more restrictions. The survey found that a strong majority, 61 percent, said they favored a combination of limitations on abortion.

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Twenty-three percent of those polled said they favored allowing abortion in only the first three months of a pregnancy; 29 percent said they supported allowing abortion only in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the woman; and 9 percent said they supported the procedure only to save the life of the woman.

According to the poll, 14 percent said they want to keep Roe v. Wade but reduce some of the restrictions, while 21 percent said they want to expand the ruling to establish the right to have an abortion under any circumstance.

Only 13 percent of Americans surveyed, including one-third who identify themselves as "pro-life" said they want to overturn the Supreme Court ruling, the poll found. 

"What it speaks to is the fact that the debate is dominated by the extreme positions on both sides," Marist Poll Director Barbara Carvalho said in a statement. "People do see the issue as very complicated, very complex. Their positions don't fall along one side or the other. … The debate is about the extremes, and that's not where the public is."

The abortion debate has taken center-stage in recent weeks as a series of Republican-led state legislatures have passed bills sharply restricting access to the procedure that were designed to challenge Roe v. Wade.

The survey polled 944 adults residing in the contiguous U.S. between May 31 and June 4. The results are statistically significant within 4.5 percentage points.