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Almost a year after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, 40 percent of women said they believe abortion should be legal under any circumstances, according to new polling from Gallup. The findings of the poll show how Roe’s fall shifted public opinion on abortion, leaving more Americans in favor of access to the procedure and critical of banning it.
In 2019, Gallup found that 25 percent of Americans believed abortion should be available under any circumstances. Now, 34 percent of Americans, about 1 in 3, believe abortion should be legal at any point. That increase appears driven almost entirely by women.
Support for abortion rights, which had been relatively stagnant for decades, appeared to increase after federal abortion protections were dismantled last June. Only 13 percent of Americans believe abortion should be illegal under all circumstance, a meaningful decline from just four years ago, when Gallup polling found that 21 percent supported a total ban on the procedure. Thirteen states have implemented near-total abortion bans.
The largest share of Americans say they support some restrictions on abortion, with 51 percent of the poll’s respondents saying they believed abortion should be legal in either most or few circumstances. Gallup polling has consistently found that the nation is evenly split over whether abortion should be legal in most or all cases, or whether it should be mostly or totally outlawed.
Gallup found that 69 percent of Americans — an all-time high for the poll — say abortion should be legal in the first three months of pregnancy, up to about 12 weeks. Support declines after that period, with 37 percent saying abortion should be allowed in the second trimester of pregnancy, and 22 percent supporting abortion in the third trimester. Those numbers are record highs in Gallup’s history of abortion public opinion research.
Gallup measures Americans’ attitudes on abortions each May, and has polled about views on the procedure since 1975. This poll was conducted May 1 to 24 among a nationwide sample of 1,011 adults.
Women are also more likely to identify as Democrats, who have become increasingly supportive of abortion rights, the Gallup poll shows. A majority of Democrats, 68 percent, believe that abortion should be legal in the second trimester, and 44 percent say it should be legal in the third trimester as well. Republicans, the polling shows, appear less likely than ever to support abortion rights; about two-thirds say they support the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization — which overturned Roe v. Wade — compared with one-third of independents and 12 percent of Democrats.
The poll also found that two-thirds of people support keeping mifepristone, one of the pills used for a medication abortion, available for people who have a prescription. A case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has challenged the availability of the drug, which is used as part of the two-drug regimen that constitutes the majority of abortions done in the country. Arguments in that case were heard in May, and it is not clear when the Fifth Circuit will issue a decision.