Over half of Americans disapprove of Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade- Pew study

American support for legal abortion remains largely unchanged since before the decision, it found, with 62% saying it should be legal in all or most cases.

 A protester holds a sign during nationwide demonstrations following the leaked Supreme Court opinion suggesting the possibility of overturning the Roe v. Wade abortion rights decision, at Duncan Plaza in New Orleans, Louisiana, US, May 14, 2022.  (photo credit: REUTERS/KATHLEEN FLYNN)
A protester holds a sign during nationwide demonstrations following the leaked Supreme Court opinion suggesting the possibility of overturning the Roe v. Wade abortion rights decision, at Duncan Plaza in New Orleans, Louisiana, US, May 14, 2022.
(photo credit: REUTERS/KATHLEEN FLYNN)

About six in 10 adults disapprove of the United States Supreme Court's decision overturning Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 court ruling that enshrined a woman’s right to an abortion and other precedents securing the federal right to an abortion, according to a recent survey from the Pew Research Center.

According to the poll, conducted June 27-July 4 among 6,174 American adults, public support for legal abortion remains largely unchanged since before the decision, with 62% saying it should be legal in all or most cases and 36% saying it should be illegal in all or most cases.

The survey found that  57% of adults polled say they disapprove of the court's decision, including 43% who say they "strongly" disapprove. By contrast, 41% say they approve of the decision, with 25% saying they "strongly" approve.

 THE ‘JEWISH RALLY for Abortion Justice’ rally near the US Capitol in May. The rally, hosted by the National Council of Jewish Women, took place two weeks after the leaked draft of the Supreme Court’s potential decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.  (credit: ANNA MONEYMAKER/REUTERS) THE ‘JEWISH RALLY for Abortion Justice’ rally near the US Capitol in May. The rally, hosted by the National Council of Jewish Women, took place two weeks after the leaked draft of the Supreme Court’s potential decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. (credit: ANNA MONEYMAKER/REUTERS)

Abortion views vary by gender, political affiliation, age  

When looking at women specifically, over six in 10 (62%) disapprove of the court's decision to get rid of the federal constitutional right to an abortion, only 36% approve.

Men are more closely divided, with more than half (52%) disapproving of the decision and 47% approving.

Political party affiliation also contributed to notable differences. 

Some 82% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents disapprove, while 70% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents approve.

Adults under 30 disapprove of the court’s decision by a significant margin (69% for, 30% against). By comparison, those 50 and older are divided (51% against, 48% for).

Religion not accounted for 

The study did not mention religious views of those polled, but in the Jewish community, debate has been sparked on the subject. An earlier Pew study from 2014 focusing on religion found that overall, Jews are the most in favor of abortion rights of any US religious group. According to that poll, 83% of American Jews believe that abortion should be legal in all or most cases.

Unlike the Catholic view as phrased by Thomas Aquinas, that a fetus assumes a soul once it moves (or “quickens”); and unlike the Protestant view as phrased by John Calvin, that the embryo “is already a human being, and it is an almost monstrous crime to rob it of life which it has not yet begun to enjoy” – Jewish law rules that if an embryo risks its mother’s life, it is to be killed, because the mother’s life “takes precedence” (Mishna Ohalot 7:6).

Disagreements among Jews over where Jewish and state laws intersect on abortion, once theoretical, have taken on urgency in the wake of the court’s ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade. 

The differences of opinion are especially acute among the Orthodox, where there is a yawning gap between a faction that says the reversal of Roe v. Wade has triggered a crisis that will put the lives of women at risk and another that welcomes the decision as life-affirming and aligned with traditional Jewish values. The latter position comes as Orthodox groups have in recent years drifted politically to the Right. 

Haley Cohen, Amotz Asa-El and JTA contributed to this report.