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Americans really don't want to get rid of Roe v. Wade

President Donald Trump has promised to nominate only Supreme Court justices who will overturn Roe v. Wade, but Americans aren’t so supportive of his plan.

by Carter Sherman
Jun 29 2018, 1:30pm

President Donald Trump has promised to nominate only Supreme Court justices who will overturn Roe v. Wade, but Americans aren’t so supportive of his plan: About two-thirds of registered voters don’t want the Supreme Court to overturn Roe, according a Kaiser Family Foundation poll released Friday.

The poll, which was conducted before Justice Anthony Kennedy announced Wednesday that he would retire, found that while 53 percent of Republicans support overturning Roe, 81 percent of Democrats and 73 percent of independents oppose it. And 74 percent of all American women between 18 and 44 say they want to keep the law as it is.

These findings largely line up with past polling; last year, the Pew Research Center discovered that 69 percent of Americans wanted Roe to stay in place.

But translating that support into votes is another story. Just 42 percent of people say they’re more likely to vote for a pro-abortion rights candidate, Kaiser found, while 26 percent say it makes no difference to their vote.

“The big, mushy middle of the U.S. has really conflicted or kind of ambiguous views about abortion,” Joshua Wilson, a University of Denver professor who studies abortion policy, told VICE News in January. “There’s a good chunk of the population that’s not a big fan of abortion but doesn’t want to cut off access to abortion.”

In polling conducted late last year, the nonpartisan polling group PerryUndem found that the voters who do want to overturn Roe also tend to be more comfortable with traditional gender roles for women. Not only are they more likely to disagree with the statement that the United States is better off with more women in political office, but these voters are also more likely to want women who’ve had abortions to feel “vulnerable” and “punished.”

Voters in the Kaiser poll were, however, more likely to support candidates who supported what Kaiser called “key women’s issues.” Sixty percent were more likely to vote for a candidate who favors stronger penalties for workplace sexual harassment and assault; 53 percent said they’d vote for a candidate who wanted paid parental leave; and 49 percent said they’d vote for an “outspoken supporter” of the #MeToo movement.

Cover image: Members of the Apologia Church encounter protesters defending Planned Parenthood with pink signs on August 1, 2016, in Tempe, Arizona. Ruaridh Connellan/Barcroft Ima/Barcroft Media, via Getty Images.