Support for legal abortion is growing
TRIBUNE WASHINGTON BUREAU
WASHINGTON -- Forty years after the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision struck down laws forbidding abortions, support for a legal right to end a pregnancy has grown, according to new polls released this week.
The shift has come largely from increased support for legal abortion among Latinos and blacks, according to a new NBJ/Wall Street Journal survey. The survey for the first time found a majority of Americans supporting legal abortion in all or most cases.
The shift among African-Americans and Latinos could indicate that both population groups, which have strongly supported the Democratic party in recent years, have begun taking on the party's views on social issues.
The survey showed 31 percent of Americans saying abortions should always be legal and another 23 percent saying they should be "legal most of the time." The combined 54 percent support for legal abortion in most cases has moved upward from 44 percent a decade ago and 49 percent five years ago.
On the other side, 9 percent said abortions should be illegal without exceptions and 35 percent said they should be illegal, but with some exceptions.
By 70 percent to 24 percent those surveyed said they would oppose overturning the Supreme Court's abortion decision, with 57 percent saying they "feel strongly" that it should not be overturned. Five years ago, 65 percent said they opposed overturning the decision.
The shifts in public opinion might not appear huge, but they "are profound changes," Republican pollster Bill McInturff, whose firm conducted the survey with Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart, told NBC.
Although a majority support abortion rights, those in opposition more often consider the issue a top priority.