A new study from the Pew Research Center finds that most — seven in ten — Americans oppose rolling back women's consitutional rights to abortion in the United States via an overturn of Roe v. Wade. This finding is surprising on some level as more and more Republican candidates, including President-elect Donald Trump, have suggested that overturning the historic 1973 decision is on their agenda.
The finding is in line with a growing sense that Americans are more in favor of women having abortion access. A poll last October found that public support for abortion in America “in all or most circumstances” stood at 59 percent, while 37 percent said it should be illegal in “all or most” cases. But polling on abortion long term is somewhat more complex: There was a real shift in the pro-choice direction beginning in the 1980s; since then, numbers have fluctuated in both directions. Overall, the results are fairly consistent: More Americans favor abortion being legal than do not but only by a slim, fairly stable margin.
In spite of what appears to be a growing move toward consensus in favor of abortion among the public, many states are making it increasingly difficult for women to get abortions via waiting periods, health insurance coverage restrictions, and banning abortions after 20 weeks. Ohio was the latest state to make headlines when Republican legislators passed what was known as the “heartbeat” bill, which would have made it illegal for women to get an abortion once the heartbeat of the fetus was detectable. In practice, this can be at around six weeks gestation, before many (if not most) women even know they have conceived. Republican Gov. (and former presidential candidate) John Kasich vetoed the bill as he signed into law another bill that banned abortions beyond 20 weeks. That law makes exceptions if the life of the mother is in danger but does not in the case of rape or incest, just in case you were thinking about giving Kasich any credit for decency.
Support for Roe v. Wade may be approaching all-time highs, but Americans increasingly believe that it is threatened under the incoming government of Donald Trump, who has promised to install pro-life judges on the Supreme Court even as he demonstrated that actually, he doesn't know what the fuck Roe v. Wade is or how it works.