A new poll from the Washington Examiner/YouGov found that support for the abortion ruling Roe v. Wade is not as strong as Americans may think.
Though abortion activists often brag about polls showing strong support for Roe, those polls do not describe the full extent of the ruling. The Washington Examiner poll asked a new question to gauge more accurately what Americans think about the infamous ruling.
It asked, “Should individual states be free to regulate abortion as they see fit (such as on safety standards or with bans on abortion after a certain point of pregnancy) or should federal court be able to strike down state rules?”
Responses were almost evenly divided, with 42 percent saying states should be allowed to restrict abortions and 43 percent saying federal courts should be allowed to continue to strike down state abortion laws, according to the poll.
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According to the Examiner, “The poll, of 1,200 registered voters, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points, making this effectively a tie.”
Opposition to Roe was strong among Republicans and Independents, with 50 percent of Republicans and 47 percent of Independents saying the power to restrict abortion should return to the states, according to the poll.
The results are not surprising. Consistently through the years, polls have shown strong opposition to what Roe v. Wade did: force states to legalize abortion on demand.
Because of Roe v. Wade, the United States is only one of seven countries in the world that allows elective abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Roe and subsequent Supreme Court rulings prohibit states from passing laws that protect unborn babies prior to viability. However, states are not under any obligation to protect unborn babies after viability either, and some – including Colorado and New Mexico – allow abortions for any reason up to birth.
As the Examiner noted: “Most polls on public attitudes toward Roe simply ask whether the decision should be overturned. Many people wrongly assume that if Roe were overturned, all abortions would be outlawed everywhere, while, in truth, overturning Roe would mostly return the issue to the states.”
Estimates vary, but legal experts have predicted that somewhere between 13 and 22 states would restore protections to unborn babies if Roe v. Wade is overturned.
Public polls and ballot referendums show that Americans want laws that protect unborn babies’ lives. In 2018, voters in Alabama and West Virginia passed by strong majorities state constitutional amendments to “support the sanctity of unborn life and the rights of unborn children” and ensure that “nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion.”
Another poll from Marist in January found six in 10 Americans (62 percent) say that if the Supreme Court revisits Roe v. Wade, it should allow states to determine restrictions (46 percent) or make abortion illegal (16 percent). Only 33 percent said Roe v. Wade should be interpreted to allow for legal abortion any time without restriction. The 62 percent majority includes about four in 10 Democrats (39 percent).
Earlier this summer, Gallup found 55 percent of all Americans take a pro-life position on abortion wanting all (21 percent) or almost all (39 percent) abortions made illegal.
Additionally, a CBS News poll from June shows the majority of Americans oppose killing unborn babies in abortions or want more limits on abortion, which basically is unlimited in many states. The poll found 43 percent of Americans think abortions should be generally available while 55 percent say it should be more limited or not be permitted at all.