62% of Americans Essentially Want Roe v. Wade Overturned, Oppose Abortions Up to Birth

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 22, 2020   |   2:27PM   |   Washington, DC

As strong majority of Americans essentially take the position that Roe v. Wade should be overturned so states can once again pass laws that protect unborn children from abortion.

In 1973, the Supreme Court handed down the Roe v. Wade and Dole v. Bolton decisions that effectively took the decision-making process from states on abortion law and put it in the hands of 9 unelected judges. The decisions allowed virtually unlimited abortions and prohibited states from protecting unborn children from abortion except in the latter stages of pregnancy.

A new Marist poll finds Americans want to change that.

More than six in 10 Americans (62%) say that if the Supreme Court revisits Roe v. Wade it should rule to allow states to determine restrictions (46%) or make abortion illegal (16%). Only 33% of Americans say Roe v. Wade should be interpreted to allow for legal abortion any time without restriction. The 62% majority includes about four in 10 of those who identify as Democrats (39%) or as “pro-choice” (40%). That essentially puts Americans on record as favoring the reversal of Roe since only an overturning of the Supreme Court ruling of the case would allow states to determine abortion law and policy or make abortions illegal.

The poll also found a majority of Americans favor pro-life candidates over candidates who support abortion.

About two-thirds of Americans (65%) and the same percentage of registered voters say they “are more likely to vote for” candidates who would limit abortion to at most the first three months of pregnancy. This includes about nine in 10 Republicans (88%), more than six in 10 independents (62% percent), and more than four in 10 Democrats (44%).

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According to the poll, a notable proportion (41%) of those who identify as pro-choice are more likely to vote for candidates who support restrictions, as are more than nine in 10 who identify as pro-life (96%).

Marist also found that pro-life voters are more excited about getting out to the polls this election and abortion gives President Donald Trump an advantage over his opponents.

When it comes to voting for president, intensity is stronger on the pro-life side. By a margin of 10 percentage points (45% to 35%), those who identify as pro-life are more likely to say abortion is a “major factor” in their vote for president than those who identify as pro-choice.

The new survey also finds that seven in 10 Americans would limit abortion to, at most, the first three months of pregnancy. The 70% number is identical to last summer’s NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll. Nearly half (47%) of those who identify as pro-choice in the recent survey also agree that abortion should be limited to, at most, the first three months of pregnancy.

An overwhelming majority of Americans (75% to 21%) are also against taxpayer funding of abortion overseas. This includes six in 10 of those who identify as pro-choice (61%) and more than nine in 10 of those who identify as pro-life (95%). Six in 10 Americans (60%) also oppose domestic taxpayer funding of abortion. This includes 89% of those who identify as pro-life, and 37% of those who identify as pro-choice. And by 15 percentage points (55% to 40%), a majority of Americans support banning abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy. This includes 45% of those who identify as pro-choice and 69% of those who identify as pro-life.

The new Marist Poll also finds that Americans are more likely to identify as pro-choice (55%) than pro-life (40%), a narrowing of the margin between the two sides by seven percentage points since last summer, when the NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll found a 57% to 35% divide. While those who identify as pro-life unsurprisingly support restrictions on abortion and other positions generally considered to be “pro-life,” the survey also shows the limits of the pro-choice label. Majorities or substantial minorities of those who identify as pro-choice, also support restrictions on abortion and other pro-life positions.

The January 2020 poll finds that, by more than 10 percentage points (52% to 41%), a majority of Americans, believe that women should be required to have an ultrasound prior to having an abortion.

By a margin of more than five to one (80% to 14%), Americans say that laws can protect both a mother and her unborn child.

Knights of Columbus CEO Carl Anderson shared is thoughts on the poll that his group sponsored through Marist.

“Most Americans want the court to reinterpret Roe either by stopping legalized abortion or by returning the issue to the states,” he said.

“The fact that such large numbers of Americans who identify as pro-choice nevertheless support restrictions and the revisiting of Roe v. Wade shows how misleading it is to conflate the term ‘pro-choice’ with support for radically pro-abortion position that calls for unrestricted abortion,” said Anderson.