The Texas Functional Abortion Ban is highly unpopular among Americans, as you might expect.
Key aspects of the new Texas law restricting access to abortions receive a thumbs down from a broad majority of Americans, especially the so-called “bounty” payment provision. The latest Monmouth (“Mon-muth”) University Poll also finds public approval of the U.S. Supreme Court has dipped in the past five years while most Americans support keeping access to abortion legal and do not want the nation’s highest court to revisit the Roe v. Wade decision.
A majority of the public (54%) disagrees with the Supreme Court allowing the Texas law that effectively bans abortions after six weeks to go into effect. Another 39% of Americans agree with the court. Most Democrats (73%) disagree with the decision while most Republicans (62%) agree. Democrats (77%) and independents (61%) are more likely than Republicans (47%) to say they have heard a lot about this new law.
Two unique provisions of the Texas law are broadly opposed by the public. Seven in ten Americans (70%) disapprove of allowing private citizens to use lawsuits to enforce this law rather than having government prosecutors handle these cases. Additionally, 8 in 10 Americans (81%) disapprove of giving $10,000 to private citizens who successfully file suits against those who perform or assist a woman with getting an abortion. The vast majority of Democrats and independents oppose both provisions. Republicans are split on having private citizens enforce the law (46% approve and 41% disapprove), but most GOP identifiers (67%) take a negative view of the $10,000 payment aspect.
“The American public is largely pro-choice, although many would accept some limitations on abortion access. This Texas law goes way too far for most people. The ‘bounty’ aspect in particular seems objectionable,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.
Currently, 6 in 10 Americans say abortion should be always legal (33%) or legal with some limitations (29%). Another 24% say it should be illegal except for rape, incest, or to save the mother’s life and 11% say it should always be illegal. These results are nearly identical to a Monmouth poll taken two years ago. There is a slight gender difference in support for legal access to abortion, but this is primarily among people of color – 76% of women compared with 51% of men in these demographic groups support legalized abortion. Among non-Hispanic white Americans, 61% of women and 63% of men are in support.
Similarly, 62% of Americans say the Supreme Court should leave the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision as it is while just 31% want to see the decision revisited. Among those who support legal abortion access, 20% support revisiting Roe and 76% are opposed. Among those who want to make all or most abortions illegal, 51% support revisiting Roe and 40% are opposed.
“For most Americans, including many of those who support restricting abortion access, Roe v. Wade should be considered settled law. We’ll probably see in the next year whether a majority of the Supreme Court agrees,” said Murray.
Of course, the only poll that matters is what five of nine Supreme Court Justices are willing to state. The Roberts Court will hear Mississippi's abortion case -- setting up the very possible end of Roe and safe abortion access for more than half of American states -- on December 1.
The Supreme Court will hear a case concerning a Mississippi abortion law on December 1, the court announced on Monday, teeing up one of the most substantial cases of the term in which the justices are being asked to overturn Roe v. Wade.
The Mississippi case -- the most important set of abortion-related oral arguments the court has heard since 1992 -- comes as states across the country, emboldened by the conservative majority and the addition of Justice Amy Coney Barrett to the high court, are increasingly passing restrictive abortion-related regulations, hoping to curb the constitutional right first established in 1973 in Roe and reaffirmed in 1992 when the court handed down Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
Roe v. Wade is the 1973 landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion nationwide prior to viability, which can occur at around 24 weeks of pregnancy.
Mississippi's Gestational Age Act, passed in 2018 but blocked by two federal courts, allows abortion after 15 weeks "only in medical emergencies or for severe fetal abnormality" and has no exception for rape or incest. If doctors perform abortions outside the parameters of the law they will have their medical licenses suspended or revoked and may be subject to additional penalties and fines.
In a brief filed in July, Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch, a Republican, argued that Roe v. Wade was "egregiously wrong" and should be overturned.
"The conclusion that abortion is a constitutional right has no basis in text, structure, history, or tradition" Fitch told the justices.
Except, you know, 45+ years of precedent by this very Supreme Court. Unfortunately the court has been whittling away at it all my life, and it looks like the last few strands will be cut away in June 2022.
It remains that the argument that both Texas and Mississippi want to use to allow individual states to void abortion can be used to void just about all other civil rights enshrined since 1962. We'll be right back to the bad old days, and I don't think enough people realize this yet.
Getting rid of safe access to abortion is the beginning of the road to Gilead, not the end.