More than half of Americans want the US Supreme Court to support the federal abortion rights protections, according to the results of a poll published on Wednesday.
The Morning Consult and Politico survey found that 57% of Americans hope the top court supports abortion rights, compared to 28% who hope the court opposes them. Just 15% said they do not have an opinion or do not know about the matter.
Asked specifically about the landmark Roe v. Wade case, which made abortion legal across the US in 1973, 50% of Americans said the case should be upheld compared to 28% who said it should be overturned. Just over one-fifth did not have an opinion.
The poll comes after Politico published on Monday evening a draft majority opinion in which Justice Samuel Alito rules to overturn the case.
He is joined in the not yet final ruling by Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, a person familiar with the court’s closed-door deliberations told Politico. Democratic-appointed Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan are in dissent.
It is not clear which way Roberts will vote, but even without his support, the court’s conservative wing appears to have sufficient votes to overturn Roe in the nine-member bench.
In the decision, Alito writes that Roe, which has stood for nearly four decades, “was egregiously wrong from the start.”
“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” he wrote, referring to the original case and a subsequent 1992 ruling that largely upheld abortion rights.
While the Supreme Court verified the draft’s authenticity it maintained that no decision is final.
US President Joe Biden maintained in an earlier statement that while it is unclear if the draft will reflect the court’s final decision, he believes “a woman’s right to choose is fundamental.”
“Roe has been the law of the land for almost fifty years, and basic fairness and the stability of our law demand that it not be overturned,” he said in a statement.
“If the Court does overturn Roe, it will fall on our nation’s elected officials at all levels of government to protect a woman’s right to choose. And it will fall on voters to elect pro-choice officials this November,” he added.
An official decision is expected to be published before the court’s current term ends in late June or early July, and the draft could see significant revisions in the interim. Justices could also change their positions as the draft circulates.
Should Roe and Casey be overturned, the matter of abortion rights would fall to individual states to determine. That would almost certainly lead to their complete rollback across wide swathes of the Midwest and South.