Support for legal abortion increased since Roe v. Wade was overturned

Sixty-one percent of adults want their state to allow abortion for any reason, up from 49% before the Supreme Court decision. But there is support for some restrictions.

July 9, 2024

About 6 in 10 adults say their state should allow a person to get a legal abortion for any reason. In an AP-NORC poll conducted in June 2021, a year before the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, about half of the public thought legal abortion should be available for any reason.

Support for legal for any reason increased across the political spectrum, and more so among women than men. 

More than 8 in 10 adults continue to say their state should allow a legal abortion in cases where the pregnant personā€™s health is seriously endangered, a fetal abnormality would prevent the child from surviving outside the womb, or if the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest.

While there is strong support for access to legal abortion in certain cases, the public is less supportive of abortion after the first trimester. 

Asked generally if abortion should be legal or illegal, 70% of adults feel abortion should be legal in all or most cases. This is up from 64% in an AP-NORC poll conducted in June 2023.  There was also an increase from 2023 to 2024 for both Democrats (86% vs. 92%) and Republicans (38% vs. 46%).

About two-thirds of adults (64%) believe Congress should pass a law guaranteeing access to legal abortions nationwide, just about the same level of support as the polls conducted in June 2023. 

There is little support for Congress to pass nationwide bans on abortion. At least 7 in 10 oppose a nationwide ban on abortion or a ban on abortions at 6 weeks. Sixty percent oppose banning abortions at 15 weeks. 

Most adults favor protecting abortion access in cases of maternal medical emergencies and protecting access to contraception. Most of the public say people should be allowed to travel to obtain an abortion in a different state. Most also say health care providers who perform abortions should be protected from legal problems. And about half think doctors should be required to inform the parent or guardian before performing an abortion for a minor. There is little support for preventing prescribing and mailing of abortion pills.

Democrats are more likely than Republicans to favor protecting patients’ right to travel out of state for an abortion, doctors avoiding jail time or fines, and access to contraceptives nationwide. Republicans are more likely to favor requiring abortion providers to notify a parent or legal guardian if the pregnant patient is a minor.

About half of the public believe that the decision about whether or not to have an abortion should either belong solely to the pregnant woman or made in consultation with a health care provider. Few say the decision about abortion should be up to lawmakers.

Democrats are more likely than Republicans or independents to say the decision to have an abortion should be made solely by the woman or with the help of her health care providers. Most adults, including 56% of Republicans, do not think lawmakers should be making decisions about when and under what circumstances abortions should be permitted.

The nationwide poll was conducted June 20-24, 2024 using the AmeriSpeakĀ® Panel, the probability-based panel of NORC at the University of Chicago. Online and telephone interviews using landlines and cell phones were conducted with 1,088 adults. The margin of sampling error is +/- 4.0 percentage points.

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