A new poll finds that a majority of registered voters support the Supreme Court’s 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion nationwide across party lines—marking an all-time high for the popularity of abortion rights to be reported from such a study.
The survey, commissioned by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal and conducted through interviews with 900 registered voters, found that 71 percent percent of registered voters support Roe. Republicans, Democrats and Independents alike showed a majority support of the landmark decision—including 52 percent of Republicans.
The findings offer an exciting declaration: The American people do not want the right to comprehensive reproductive services to be up for debate.
“In practice, scholars have found the court has tended to follow the broad currents of public opinion over time,” Jefferey Rosen, a Law Professor at George Washington University told MSNBC. “[Not following] public opinion could let the court face a great amount of public backlash.”
According to the poll, only 23 percent of the public think the ruling should be overturned. A similar poll conducted in 1989 found that a slimmer majority—58 percent of the American public—believed the ruling should stay in place. That means that in just three decades, support for nationwide abortion rights has increased by 13 percentage points, and any contemporary attempt to invalidate Roe will be one 71 percent of Americans disagree with.
In the wake of President Trump’s nomination of far-right anti-abortion judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, Senators now faced with the decision to confirm or reject a Justice who could be the fifth vote needed to overturn Roe should take note.