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65% Of Americans Want Supreme Court To Reject Texas Abortion Law, Poll Finds As Court Deliberates

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Nearly two-thirds of Americans believe the Supreme Court should reject Texas’ restrictive abortion law after the court heard two challenges against it earlier this month, a new Washington Post/ABC News poll found, with a broad majority of respondents backing abortion rights as the court prepares to potentially overturn Roe v. Wade in a separate case.

Key Facts

The poll found 65% of respondents believe the Supreme Court should reject the Texas law, while 29% want the court to uphold it and 6% have no opinion.

A further 60% of U.S. adults want the Supreme Court to uphold its decision in Roe v. Wade that guarantees the right to an abortion, the poll, conducted November 7-10 among 1,001 U.S. adults, found.

An even larger 75% majority believe abortion should be a decision that’s “left to the woman and her doctor,” while 20% want it to be regulated by law.

The poll found 58% of respondents oppose state laws that heavily restrict abortion or make it harder to get the procedure, including 45% that strongly oppose them, while 36% support those laws.

Support for abortion rights is driven primarily by Democrats, with 89% wanting the court to reject the Texas law, 82% believing the court should uphold Roe v. Wade and 83% opposing restrictive state abortion laws.

Republicans remain largely opposed to abortion—with 55% supporting the Texas law and 62% backing restrictive state laws—but only 45% want the court to overturn Roe v. Wade (42% want it to uphold) and a 53% majority believe abortion should be up to a woman and her doctor.

Key Background

The 6-3 conservative Supreme Court is in the midst of a particularly consequential term for abortion rights. On November 1, the court heard two challenges to Texas’ abortion law, which were brought by abortion providers and the Biden administration. The law, known as Senate Bill 8 (SB 8), prohibits nearly all abortions after approximately six weeks of pregnancy, and several conservative justices signaled they may be leaning toward ruling against it because it’s enforced through private lawsuits against anyone who “aids and abets” an abortion, rather than the government. If the court upholds the law, opponents argued it could lead to states enacting similar laws on other issues, such as gun rights, that also try to get around the court’s precedents through citizen-led lawsuits. The high court will then hear a challenge to Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban on December 1, which will broadly consider whether states can restrict abortion before the fetus is viable—and could result in Roe v. Wade being significantly weakened or overturned.

What To Watch For

The court is still deliberating on the SB 8 cases, and could come out with a decision or an injunction that temporarily blocks the law at any time. The Supreme Court’s rulings will not result in SB 8 getting struck down if it doesn’t side with Texas; rather, the court is deciding whether the cases should move forward in the lower courts and if the abortion providers and federal government actually have standing to challenge the law. The justices signaled during the hearings they may be more inclined to rule in favor of the abortion clinics than the Biden administration, with Chief Justice John Roberts saying the Justice Department was attempting to get an “injunction against the world” by trying to overturn a state law.

Further Reading

Americans broadly support Supreme Court upholding Roe v. Wade and oppose Texas abortion law, Post-ABC poll finds (Washington Post)

Texas Abortion Law: Conservative Supreme Court Justices Signal Willingness To Rule Against SB 8 (Forbes)

DOJ Asks Supreme Court To Rule On Texas Abortion Law — Here Are All The Abortion Cases The Court Could Rule On This Term (Forbes)

Supreme Court’s Approval Rate Plunges Amid Abortion Debate, Poll Finds (Forbes)