A growing majority of Americans support legal abortion at least in early pregnancy, but the public has divided politically on the issue of abortion rights, according to a new Gallup poll.
The data, released days before the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court's Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization decision, which overturned decades of precedent established with the Roe v. Wade, suggest a continued growth in public support for abortion rights.
These findings align with American reaction to Dobbs' decision , which the Supreme Court ruled on June 24, 2022, relegating abortion rights decisions to state governments.
The results of the Gallup poll were released at a time whenmany states are implementing new restrictions on the right to abortion, often including only limited exceptions for medical emergencies.
A record 69% of respondents said abortion should generally be legal in the first three months of pregnancy.
The previous high of 67% was recorded last May after leaked draft of Supreme Court ruling, which showed the court planned to strike down the constitutional protection for abortion granted by Roe v. Wade.
A 61% majority of Americans think repealing Roe v. Wade, thus ending the constitutional protection of abortion rights and returning the issue to the states, was “a bad thing,” while 38% consider it a “good thing.”
Lydia Saad, director Gallup's US social research committee, said overall, the data suggests Dobbs “boosted people who already supported abortion rights... We've seen an increase in Democrats identifying as pro-choice and who support the right to abortion at every stage. It's really a very defensive stance, protecting abortion rights in the face of what they see as this assault”.
Gallup's long-term data indicates growing support for abortion rights: 13% of respondents said abortion should be illegal in “all circumstances,” versus 22% when it was first asked the question in 1975. In this year's poll, 34% said abortion should be legal “under any circumstances,” up from 21% that first year.
Support for legal abortion declines as pregnancy progresses, but the poll found record support for first-trimester abortion access, at 69%.
Saad said she thinks that.
reflects growing dissatisfaction with laws in some states that restrict abortions at or before six weeks of pregnancy.
“We have crossed a line where abortion is not legal, even to the point of feasibility … it is simply a step too far for most Americans,” Saad said.
Political division on abortion
The poll also found a deepening partisan divide on the issue of abortion.
Sixty percent of Democrats said it should be “legal under any circumstances,” a dramatic increase from 39% in 2019.
Meanwhile, only 8% of Republicans say the procedure should be legal in all circumstances, a number that's been on a long-term downward trajectory.
Support for the pill abortive
Gallup also released data suggesting strong and growing support for legal access to the abortion pill mifepristone, which is at the center of a federal court case brought by anti-abortion groups seeking to overturn the pill's approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The survey found that 63% of Americans believe the pill should be available by prescription. According to Gallup, after the FDA approved a two-drug protocol with mifepristone in 2000, 50% of Americans said they supported that decision.The basic contours of American public opinion on abortion remain as they have been for decades: most American adults want abortion to be legal, with restrictions.
The poll was conducted May 1-24 among 1,011 adults as part of Gallup's poll of values â€‹â€‹and beliefs.