As the United States rounds the corner on a full year after the Supreme Court struck down Dobbs, placing abortion decisions back in the hands of individual states, Pew Research Center is gauging how the opinions of Americans on abortion have changed. The data was sourced from 5,079 US adults, from March 27 to April 2, 2023, giving a very recent glimpse of Americans’ opinions on abortion.
While the legality of abortions has changed much in some states, the overall opinions of whether it should be legal have not changed very much among Americans. The study noted that opinions are largely split down party lines, with Republicans standing firm on their rejection of the practice, with support only rising from 39% to 40% between 2007 and 2023. Democrats, on the other hand, have surged in their support from 63% to 84%.
When examining overall support and opposition of abortion, very little has changed in the US since 1995. In that time frame, the group who thought it should be legal to abort in all or most cases has risen from 60% to 62%, while those who feel it should be illegal in all or most cases has seen the opposite two-point shift, from 38% to 36%. Overall, 34% said they thought it should be easy to access abortion where they live. This greatest shift was seen in respondents who lived in states where abortion has been restricted since Dobbs.
Americans were far more likely to respond that they are concerned that abortion is harder to access now (62%) than to be concerned that it is more easily accessible (35%). In practice, 54% said it would be somewhat or very easy to obtain an abortion in their area, while 42% said it would be harder to access abortion in their area. Furthermore, 34% said it should be easier to access abortion, 35% said levels of abortion access are where they should be, and 27% said it should be made harder to obtain an abortion.
When the new data was placed against opinions taken last year, before the Dobbs decision, there was little change to the general views of Americans. The survey authors note that, “Overall, around six in ten Americans say abortion should be legal in all (27%) or most (35%) cases, while 36% say it should be illegal in all (9%) or most (27%) cases.”
Still, there was a great difference in opinions on abortion between age groups. Adults aged 18 to 29 were far more likely to voice their support for abortion (73%) than those aged 30 to 49 (62%). This figure continued to fall in older respondents, with only 57% of those aged 50+ citing support for abortion.
Race and ethnicity were also found to be a factor when measuring abortion support. Respondents who said they were Black or Asian each noted their support for abortion at a rate of 73%, which fell to 62% among Hispanic adults, and even farther to 59% in white adults. The difference between the opinions of men and women was negligible, with women supporting abortion at a rate of 64% and men hovering around 60%.