The Harvard / Harris Poll surveyed 1,308 registered voters June 28-29.
With Roe v. Wade overturned, individual states may now restrict or ban abortion. Whatever respondents’ views of the Supreme Court, many seem to agree with the outcome of the Dobbs decision.
A plurality of the Harris Poll respondents, 44%, thought state legislatures should set abortion standards. Only 25% thought Supreme Court justices should set abortion standards, while 31% favored Congressional action.
While 69% said the Supreme Court had “created turmoil” with its Dobbs decision, the decision appeared to have a neutral impact on professed midterm votes. Among Harris Poll respondents, 36% said they were more likely to vote Republican, 36% said they were more likely to vote Democrat, and 29% said the decision had no effect.
Some large businesses have drawn controversy for announcing they would help pay for employees to travel for abortion. However, only a large minority of survey respondents voiced opposition to this policy. About 60% of respondents said they supported businesses that said they would pay expenses for interstate travel for employees who want to have abortions, while 40% said they opposed this practice.
Like the Harris Poll, other surveys have found disagreement with Roe v. Wade.
In January 2022, a Knights of Columbus/Marist Poll survey reported that more than 60% of Americans disagree with the main holding of Roe v. Wade, that legal abortion is a federal constitutional right. Among its respondents, 44% said that the Supreme Court should leave abortion up to each individual state and 17% said the court should make abortion illegal.
The news cycle can shape public responses and self-perceptions on abortion policy.
A Gallup survey released in early June, amid controversy over a leaked draft of the Dobbs decision, said that only 39% of respondents identified as pro-life, the lowest since 1996, while 56% identified as pro-choice, the highest since 1995. Despite this apparent trend, a May Gallup survey still reported that 55% of Americans think that abortion should be ‘generally illegal’ during the second trimester.
Some pro-abortion rights activists also face changes due to news trends and current events. Many now disfavor the slogan “My Body, My Choice” because of its use by critics of mandatory vaccination during the Covid-19 pandemic, Kaiser Health News reports.
Kevin J. Jones is a senior staff writer with Catholic News Agency. He was a recipient of a 2014 Catholic Relief Services' Egan Journalism Fellowship.