46 years after Roe, Americans back greater limits on abortion

75% of Americans favor banning abortions after first trimester, 65% support overturning or significantly reinterpreting Roe v. Wade.

David Rosenberg,

Pregnant woman (illustration)
Pregnant woman (illustration)
Thinkstock

Next week marks the 46th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s controversial landmark ruling on abortion in the Roe v. Wade case, a 7 - 2 decision which established a constitutional right to abortions, citing the 14th Amendment’s Due Process Clause.

Now, a poll shows that while a majority of Americans define themselves as generally pro-choice on the issue of abortion, the vast majority also favor wide-ranging restrictions on the right to terminate pregnancy.

The poll, conducted by Marist and published on Tuesday, surveyed 1,066 adults from January 8th to the 10th.

According to the Marist poll, an absolute majority (55%) of Americans identity as pro-choice.

Yet 75% of Americans also say abortion should be banned after the first trimester. Even 60% of Democrats believe abortions after the first trimester should be barred, along with 78% of independents and 92% of Republicans.

Three-quarters of Americans also say the US should not fund abortions abroad, with just 19% supporting funding for abortions overseas. More than half (56%) of Democrats oppose funding of abortions abroad, along with 94% of Republicans and 80% of independents.

A smaller majority opposes any funding for abortions domestically (54% opposed to 39% in favor).

Nearly two-thirds (65%) of Americans also believe the Supreme Court should either overturn the Roe v. Wade ruling or significantly alter its interpretation of the Constitution, allowing either for the outright banning of abortion, or for significantly stricter limitations.

Americans also are more likely to accept one of the key arguments put forth by opponents of abortion, that a fetus is a unique life, rather than a part of the mother’s body.

Only 35% of Americans believe a fetus is “a part of a woman’s body”, while 56% say an unborn child is a “unique life”.

Forty-two percent of Americans say life begins at conception, compared to 13% who say it begins at birth.


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