Majority Supports Legal Abortion, but Details Indicate Ambivalence
Most Americans continue to support legal abortion, as many oppose making it more difficult for abortion clinics to operate and two-thirds say the U.S. Constitution should trump state abortion laws. But views on legal time limits for abortions mark underlying ambivalence on the issue.
Fifty-five percent in this ABC News/Washington Post poll say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, while 41 percent believe it should be entirely or mostly illegal. Those almost exactly match their long-term averages, 55-42 percent, in more than 30 ABC/Post polls since 1995.
A similar 54 percent oppose state laws that effectively make it more difficult for abortion clinics to operate (most of them “strongly” opposed), vs. 40 percent in support. And by more than a 2-1 margin, 66-30 percent, Americans prefer abortion laws to be decided constitutionally rather than by each state individually. Preference for federal over state abortion laws encompasses both 69 percent of those who support legal abortion and 63 percent of those who oppose it.