As the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision approaches, the public remains opposed to overturning the historic ruling on abortion, according to a new Pew Research study. The court's Roe v. Wade decision established a woman’s constitutional right to abortion at least in the first three months of pregnancy.
During the 112th Congress, Republicans introduced several bills to
outlaw abortion. One of those bills proposed a Personhood Amendment to
the U.S. Constitution, which would overturn the Roe v. Wade
decision. As Mother Jones reported, the Personhood amendment would outlaw abortion, even in cases of rape, incest, domestic violence and life-threatening ectopic pregnancies. In addition, this change to the Constitution would criminalize in-vitro fertilization and common birth control methods, including birth control pills and IUD's. (More: The Republican War on Women and Justice Scalia: Women Have No Constitutional Right to Abortion and Contraception.
The Pew study shows that Republicans are out of step with the American public on this "pro choice" issue. Decades after the Supreme Court rendered its decision, on Jan. 22, 1973, more than six-in-ten (63%) say they would not like
to see the Roe v. Wade decision overturned. Only about three-in-ten (29%) would like to see the ruling overturned. These opinions are little changed from surveys conducted 10 and 20 years ago.
The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted Jan. 9-13 among
1,502 adults, finds that abortion is viewed as a less important issue than in
the past. Currently, 53% say abortion “is not that important compared to other
issues,” up from 48% in 2009 and 32% in 2006. The percentage viewing abortion
as a “critical issue facing the country” fell from 28% in 2006 to 15% in 2009
and now stands at 18 percent.
evangelical Protestants are the only major religious group in which a majority
(54%) favors completely overturning the Roe v. Wade
decision. Large percentages of white mainline Protestants (76%), black
Protestants (65%) and white Catholics (63%) say the ruling should not be
overturned. Fully 82% of the religiously unaffiliated oppose overturning Roe v. Wade.
of Americans who attend religious services at least weekly favor completely
overturning the Roe v. Wade decision, compared
with just 17% of those who attend less often.
are evenly divided over whether the ruling should be overturned: 46% say it
should, while 48% say it should not.
By wide margins, Democrats (74% to 20%) and
independents (64% to 28%) oppose overturning Roe v. Wade. There
is no gender gap in opinions about Roe v. Wade:
Nearly identical percentages of women (64%) and men (63%) oppose reversing the
Read the full Pew Research report.