But the country remains planted somewhere in the middle. The public largely thinks that abortion should be legal, but is extremely divided on how.
Nearly half of Americans (48%) say they would be dissatisfied or angry if the ruling were overturned, 23% say it wouldn’t matter much and 26% would be happy or satisfied. Although there isn’t much of a gender gap on whether the court should maintain Roe (69% of women and 65% of men say so), women are more apt to say they would be angry if it were overturned (38% vs. 24% among men).
The poll also finds that 44% of Americans think abortion should be generally available, 34% that it should be available but under stricter limits than it is now and 20% that shouldn’t be permitted at all.
About half of Republicans in the CBS poll (48%) think the Supreme Court should keep Roe. Democrats are more aligned. The vast majority (87%) would keep it and only 11% of them think the Supreme Court should overturn it.
A top issue for Democratic candidates
It’s clear that 2020 is going to be an election largely built around a national divide on the issue and the coming Supreme Court fight, particularly among Democrats as they seek to mobilize female voters against Trump and Republicans try to keep conservatives fired up.
That’s why a pack of Democratic presidential candidates joined demonstrations in front of the Supreme Court on Tuesday.
They’ve both also proposed ending the Hyde Amendment, language included in US spending bills since 1994 that bans the use of taxpayer funds for abortion except in cases of rape and incest. So have Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
“As president, I will make sure that every nominee to every federal bench, including the Supreme Court, understands and believes that the 1973 decision, Roe v. Wade, is the settled law of the land,” O’Rourke said.
That could be a meaningless test, however, because Republican nominees to the court have also said they would respect the precedent of Roe, although it is the appointment of conservative Justice Brett Kavanaugh that made overturning Roe seem possible.
“As a judge, it is an important precedent of the Supreme Court,” Kavanaugh said during his confirmation hearing. “I said that it’s settled as a precedent of the Supreme Court.”
Abortion can scramble party lines
Collins is a Northeastern Republican who supports abortion rights. There are Democrats in the South who do not.
A Louisiana bill that would outlaw abortions after six weeks of pregnancy — it is among a raft of bills that states have passed in recent months — was introduced by a Democrat, state Sen. John Milkovich, and it is a Democratic governor, John Bel Edwards, who has said he would sign it.
Biden, who is Catholic, has long said he personally opposes abortion, but has supported abortion rights.
He added: “I do not believe that we have a right to tell other people, women, that they can’t control their bodies. That’s a decision between them and their doctor, in my view, and the Supreme Court, I’m not going to interfere with that.”