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Poll: 1 in 10 Americans Know Someone Who Couldn’t Get Abortion Where They Lived

Since the “Dobbs” decision last year, 12 states have passed near-total abortion bans.

Abortion rights advocates and lawmakers hold a press conference before debate of a bill that would restrict abortions after six weeks, at the South Carolina State House in Columbia, South Carolina, on May 16, 2023.

A newly published poll demonstrates that most Americans support abortion rights, even as states across the country continue to introduce draconian restrictions on the procedure one year since the U.S. Supreme Court dismantled federal abortion rights protections.

Since June of 2022, when the Court ruled in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization to overturn nearly 50 years of precedent protecting abortion rights, Republican-led states have passed a range of restrictions on abortion, including strict deadlines based on how many weeks a person has been pregnant, travel restrictions for those seeking to go elsewhere for the procedure and bans on the use of abortion medication, which can be obtained through mail.

But in spite of right-wing efforts to curtail Americans’ bodily autonomy, an Associated Press/NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll conducted on June 22-26 found that 64 percent of Americans believe that abortion should be legal in all or most cases. Just 25 percent said it should be illegal in most cases, while only 10 percent said the procedure should be illegal in all cases.

Despite just 1 in 10 Americans backing complete abortion bans, 12 states — representing over 21 percent of the U.S. population — have enacted near-total bans on abortion. In five of those states, legal challenges have so far temporarily blocked the enforcement of those bans.

Americans by and large support legislation to reinstate abortion rights protections at the federal level. Sixty percent believe Congress should pass an abortion bill that protects access to the procedure across the nation, an act that would override abortion laws at the state level.

Most Americans know someone personally who has had an abortion, with 56 percent saying so. That number is six points lower than what it was last year, however, suggesting that it’s possible that people aren’t sharing as openly about their experiences in the wake of abortion laws that seek to punish them or their providers.

One in ten Americans say they know someone who has been unable to get an abortion or who has had to travel a significant distance in order to obtain the procedure over the past year.

The issue of abortion will likely play a major role in upcoming elections, including in some races this year and in the 2024 election, in which a number of congressional and state-level candidates will campaign either for or against abortion rights, and many state’s ballots will include initiatives to protect abortion. According to an Economist/YouGov poll published this week, most voters believe the issue is a critical one, with 73 percent saying it’s “very important” or “somewhat important” and only 26 percent holding the opposite view.

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