Marquette Poll: Support for upholding abortion rights, while many favor 15-week limit on abortion

Marquette Poll: Support for upholding abortion rights, while many favor 15-week limit on abortion

MILWAUKEE, Wis. (CBS 58) -- There's support across the country for upholding abortion rights and banning abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, according to a new poll by Marquette University Law School.

The latest Marquette Law School Poll comes as the U.S. Supreme Court is set to decide cases restricting abortion laws in Texas and Mississippi. These decisions by the court could set up the fate of Roe v. Wade, which made abortion legal in 1973.

The poll found more respondents oppose overturning Roe vs. Wade, but at the same time, more are in favor of banning abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

"We've seen over the years that when Roe was first handed down by the court, people want that ability, but are willing to take a variety of limitations on particular circumstances," said Charles Franklin, poll director at Marquette University.

The lopsided support to maintaining abortion rights protections comes as the court is set to hear arguments on Dec. 1 over a Mississippi law banning abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, except in cases of medical emergencies or fetal abnormalities.

Thirty-seven percent are in favor of upholding Mississippi's law, 32% oppose such a ruling and 30% of those surveyed said they haven't heard enough about it. In September's poll, 40% favored upholding the law, 34% opposed and 27% didn't have an opinion.

When it comes to new law in Texas that bans abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy, more respondents are reluctant to support, with 59% against, 25% in favor and 16% said they don't know, according to the MU poll.

When you break down the law by party affiliation, the divide is less strong. Among Republicans, 50% favor the law and 33% are opposed. Among independents who lean to the Republican party, 42% favor the law and 37% are opposed.

Franklin said it's not unusual Americans are typically reluctant to support more severe abortion bans like Texas's law, even though some restrictions on the timing of the procedure can be popular.

"Six weeks is an awful short period of time in limiting the state's role in enforcing the law, and handing if off to private citizens is a really unusual provision," said Franklin.

Americans surveyed say by a 2-to-1 margin the Supreme Court should uphold its landmark abortion decision in Roe v. Wade. A similar margin of respondents is also slightly more willing to accept a 15-week ban than oppose the law.

"You can go from strong support for protecting abortion rights to this willingness in this 15-week example to accept greater limits than we have today," Franklin said.

This matches other national polling on abortions which overall, continues to show support for maintaining the right to have an abortion, but also respondents support restriction, such as the timing of the procedure.

The survey was conducted Nov. 1-10, 2021, interviewing 1,004 adults nationwide, with a margin of error of +/-3.9 percentage points.

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