As States Move To Restrict Abortion Rights, Poll Finds Support For Abortion Has Risen Across America

Abortion rights protesters hold signs.
Elijah Nouvelage / Getty Images

In the wake of several states passing laws to restrict abortions over the past few weeks, a new poll finds that Americans have become more supportive of abortion rights over the last year.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Sunday showed that 58 percent of American adults said abortion should be legal in all or most cases — up eight percentage points from a similar poll conducted in July of last year. The support remained largely among political lines, with 81 percent of Democrats saying they believe abortion should be legal and 55 percent of Republicans saying it should be illegal.

The poll comes after a series of states passed some of the most restrictive abortion laws in recent memory, including Alabama, where it has been banned in all cases except for pregnancies that threaten the life of the mother. A total of eight Republican-led states have passed similar laws with varying levels of restrictions on abortion, which many believe to be an attempt to seek court challenges that could lead to Roe v. Wade being overturned by the conservative-leaning Supreme Court.

As the aforementioned poll found, the abortion laws are rallying some segments of Republican voters, but this may have limitations.

“[T]he poll also found most voters were not looking for candidates whose primary focus is abortion: Just 9% of registered Republicans said they would prefer to vote for a candidate whose main focus is banning abortion, while 11% of registered Democrats preferred one whose primary focus would be protecting abortion rights,” the report noted.

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The abortion laws themselves have not found wide support, either. A similar poll this week from Morning Consult/Politico found that 56 percent of Americans do not approve of other states passing laws similar to the one recently approved in Alabama. Another HuffPost/YouGov poll found that 57 percent of Americans disapproved of the Alabama law, roughly the same rate that the Reuters/Ipsos poll found opposed abortion restrictions on a national level.

As Vox noted, even some conservative political figures have distanced themselves from the anti-abortion push, including Sens. Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Tom Cotton (R-AK). Many Republicans have supported abortion as an option for women who have been raped, but this exception was not carved out in the Alabama law. This particular aspect of the law has been a focus of critics, who argue that girls as young as 12 or 13 may be forced to carry a baby to term if they have been raped.