Court Battles

Majority opposes Supreme Court allowing Texas's 6-week abortion ban to take effect: poll

Fifty-four percent of Americans said they disagree with a recent Supreme Court ruling that allowed a six-week abortion ban in Texas to take effect while legal challenges play out in lower courts, according to a poll released Monday. 

The survey by Monmouth University also found that broad majorities of Americans oppose key components of the Texas law, with 7 in 10 saying they disapprove of a mechanism that empowers private citizens to enforce the abortion ban through civil lawsuits.

An even larger number, roughly 8 in 10, expressed disapproval that the law provides $10,000 when those lawsuits succeed against someone who performs an abortion or aids someone receiving one in violation of the six-week ban - an award critics have likened to a bounty. 

"The American public is largely pro-choice, although many would accept some limitations on abortion access. This Texas law goes way too far for most people," Patrick Murray, Monmouth's polling director, said in a statement. "The 'bounty' aspect in particular seems objectionable." 

The Texas law at issue, S.B. 8, was signed in May by Gov. Greg Abbott (R) and took effect on Sept. 1. Later that same night, the Supreme Court in a 5-4 vote rejected an emergency request from abortion providers to block the measure. 

An estimated 85 to 90 percent of those who get an abortion in Texas are at least six weeks into their pregnancy, which is around when fetal cardiac activity is detectable, triggering the ban.

The five conservative Supreme Court justices who comprised the majority said procedural complexities helped determine the court's refusal to block the Texas law. But they added that the ruling did not seek to resolve the "serious questions" about the constitutionality of Texas's law.  

Still, the court's landmark 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, which first recognized a federal legal right to abortion before a fetus becomes viable around the 24-week mark, could be in jeopardy next term. The 6-3 conservative majority court will hear arguments on Dec. 1 over a Mississippi law that bans abortion after 15 weeks and is expected to issue a ruling by late June.  

Multiple recent surveys, including the Monmouth poll, show a sizable majority of Americans want the court to leave Roe intact.

Around 800 U.S. adults across the country responded to the Sept. 9-13 Monmouth survey, which has a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.