62 per cent of Americans want Roe v Wade left alone

Supreme Court’s conservative majority could overturn the ruling this term

John Bowden
Monday 20 September 2021 21:37
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DOJ Asks Federal Court To Block Texas Abortion Law

As the US Supreme Court looks to examine a legal challenge to two landmark abortion cases – Roe v Wade and Planned Parenthood v Casey – a new poll finds that nearly two-thirds of Americans want abortion rights to remain enshrined and the legal precedent upheld.

In a Monmouth University poll released on Monday, 62 per cent of Americans said that the decision in Roe v Wade, which protected abortion as a right, should remain in place. The Roe decision established abortion as a medical procedure protected from undue government interference by the Constitution’s Due Process clause, which the US Supreme Court determined creates a “right to privacy” for patients.

Among the 62 per cent that support legal abortion, there are divisions over whether the procedure should be legal at all times. Twenty-four per cent of total respondents said that it should be limited in some occasions, such as when the fetus is close to viability, compared to a third (33 per cent) who said it should always be legal.

Just 35 percent of respondents said that the procedure should be always illegal or illegal with rare exceptions, suggesting that Republican leaders in Texas, Mississippi and other states are pursuing broadly unpopular policies at a time when the GOP is trying to make its case on the national stage as the opposition party to the Democrats, who are suffering somewhat in some polls due to the optics of the chaotic US withdrawal from Kabul last month.

The Supreme Court announced on Monday that oral arguments in a landmark Mississippi case over a law banning abortions after 15 weeks in the pregnancy would begin on 1 December. The case stands out as attorneys have argued explicitly in legal filings that the precedent establishing abortion rights in Roe v Wade was wrong, and should be overturned. Doing so would end the guarantee of abortion rights for every person in the US, and open the door wide to future restrictions on the procedure by conservatives.

The GOP currently holds minorities in both congressional chambers, and is hoping to win back majorities in at least one next year. The party suffered a major defeat in January when it lost two US Senate seats in Georgia’s runoffs to now-Sens Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff. The defeat came after traditionally red Georgia’s Electoral College votes also flipped to blue in November for President Joe Biden.

The growing controversy over the restrictive Texas abortion ban that took effect earlier this month, which bans abortions after six weeks and rewards state residents for pursuing legal challenges against persons accused of aiding violations of the ban, was one of the factors blamed for the downfall of the GOP-led effort to recall Gov Gavin Newsom in California, who easily shrugged off the challenge on election night after looking to be in potential danger of losing for weeks.

Abortion rights activists are watching the Mississippi case with nervous anticipation; while unthinkable in past years, the Court’s newly cemented conservative majority resulting from former President Donald Trump’s three additions to the bench puts the fate of Roe v Wade in potential jeopardy. The Court already dealt a blow to the left just a few weeks ago by declining to act in the Texas case, allowing the nation’s most-restrictive abortion law to go into effect.

The Monmouth poll surveyed results from 802 adults in the US between 9 to 13 September, 2021. The poll’s margin of error is 3.5 percentage points.

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