Medical Technology

The AP-NORC Poll: Abortion Rises as a Top Issue for Democrats

WASHINGTON (AP) (AP)- With Roe v. Wade at its most serious risk in decades, a new poll suggests that Democrats are increasingly putting the protection of abortion rights as a top priority for the federal government.

According to a December poll by the Associated Press-NORC Centre for Public Affairs Research Thirteen percent of Democrats have listed reproductive or abortive rights among the issues they’d like the federal government to tackle by 2022. This is an increase from less than 1% of Democrats who named it as an issue for 2021, and 3% who listed it in 2020.

Some other issues like COVID-19, the economy, health care and gun control were ranked higher by Democrats in the poll which allowed respondents to list up to five top issues. The rapid increase in percentage of respondents citing reproductive rights as a primary concern suggests that the issue is being viewed as a priority by Democrats. The Supreme Court will be considering cases that could result in drastic restrictions on abortion access.

Jennifer Benz, deputy director at the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, stated that “the public has lots of things they want the government to tackle.” “You ask this kind of question in the midst of economic turmoil and in the time of a pandemic and all the other things going on it’s not likely that abortion to be a top priority.”

With a 6-3 majority of conservatives on the Supreme Court, Republicans see this as their best chance to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision legalizing abortion throughout the United States. The Supreme Court affirmed a Texas law banning all abortions. They also signaled during arguments they would uphold a Mississippi law that prohibits abortions after 15 weeks. The decision will be made public in June.

Calling the abortion polling numbers “stark,” Benz noted that conventional wisdom holds that abortion is a motivating factor for Republicans and not for Democrats. Benz pointed out that research from the 1980s and 1990s showed that pro-choice people had stronger opinions and believed that the issue was more important than those who were against abortion.

That may be changing. Sam Lau, senior director for advocacy media at the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, believes that more Americans are seeing this as a time of crisis for abortion access.

“I believe that what we’ve witnessed is an absolute increase in awareness, an increase in urgency, an increase in the necessity to fight back,” he said. “But I still actually think that huge swaths of this population still don’t quite believe that the right to abortion and the 50-year precedent that is Roe v. Wade is really hanging in the in the balance.”

The 1973 court decision was confirmed in 1992 in Planned Parenthood, which allows states to regulate and not prohibit abortions until the point at which the viability of the fetus has been established at around 24 weeks. According to the Guttmacher Institute (a research organization that promotes abortion rights), abortion could soon be declared illegal or severely restricted in half of the states in the event that Roe and Casey is ruled invalid in June.

It’s only a few months away from midterm elections that are expected to be a challenge for Democrats.

Lau thinks people are starting to recognize they “simply cannot rely on the courts to protect our rights and our access to essential health care.”

Lau declared that “we are currently urging elected officials, who champion reproductive and sexual health to be brave and take on the challenge and pass proactive legislation to protect the right to abortion.” “I believe voters will go to the polls to cast their votes for candidates they be sure to protect and secure their health and reproductive freedom.”

According to polling, Americans are not eager to have Roe overturned. In 2020, AP VoteCast, a survey of the electorate found that 69% of voters in the presidential election said the Supreme Court should leave the Roe v. Wade decision as it is. Only 29% of respondents said the court should overturn the decision. AP-NORC polling indicates that the majority of Americans favor legalizing abortion in all or most cases.

Still, Americans have nuanced attitudes on the subject, and many don’t think that abortion should be possible after the first trimester or that women should be able to get a legal abortion at any time.

Rachelle Dunn 41, has known girls from high school, college, and adult life who needed abortions. She describes it as “just health care.”

Dunn, Tarentum, Pennsylvania Dunn, Tarentum, Pennsylvania “It’s something I’ve seen women in my life who have required for different reasons.” “The government should step in since all of these laws are being created and passed, however, none of them are for medical reasons.”

She is concerned about the potential for domino effects in these Supreme Court cases. She is also concerned about how these cases could affect her future and that of her two daughters.

“It just seems as that if it’s been proven, repeatedly and repeatedly, why are we doing this?” Dunn stated.

The AP-NORC survey of 1,089 adults was conducted Dec. 2-7, using a sample taken from NORC’s probabilistic AmeriSpeak Panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. All respondents were within a sampling error of more or minus 4.1%.

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