Court Battles

Americans by 2-1 margin say Supreme Court should uphold Roe v. Wade

Americans by a roughly two-to-one margin say the Supreme Court should uphold Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that legalized abortion and which faces a direct challenge this court term, according to a poll released Tuesday.

Among respondents, 60 percent said the justices should uphold Roe, compared to 27 percent who said the court should overturn it and 12 percent who expressed no opinion, the Washington Post-ABC News poll showed.

Similarly, nearly 2 in 3, 65 percent, said the court should reject a Texas law that bans abortion after six weeks of pregnancy and authorizes private citizens to enforce the restriction.

The new findings come as the issue of abortion looms large over the Supreme Court’s current nine-month term, which began last month. 

The justices on Dec. 1 will hear oral arguments over a Mississippi law that bans abortion after 15 weeks and which takes direct aim at Roe and the roughly 50 years of precedent that have affirmed the constitutional right to abortion.

The court is also weighing Texas’s controversial six-week abortion ban, which was argued before the justices on Nov. 1 and is proceeding on an expedited basis. During arguments, the justices seemed prepared to let lawsuits challenging the ban proceed in federal court, which could lead to the law being invalidated.

Americans’ general opposition to the court upending its long-standing precedent on abortion was reflected in another finding from the new poll: 3 in 4 Americans said decisions about abortion should be left to the woman and her doctor. In contrast, only 1 in 5 said the decision should be regulated by law, with the remaining 5 percent of respondents expressing no opinion.

The Mississippi and Texas laws are among hundreds of abortion measures that state legislatures passed in recent years, many with the explicit goal of overturning Roe v. Wade.

Roe recognized a constitutional right to abortion prior to the time that a fetus becomes viable, typically around 24 weeks.  

Abortion rights advocates say the restrictive laws now before the court are clear violations of Roe and related holdings and warn that chaos would ensure if the justices were to overturn or dramatically undermine the constitutional right to abortion.

Tags abortion rights Roe v. Wade Supreme Court

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