About two-thirds of Americans say the recently enacted Texas law that deputizes private citizens to enforce a six-week abortion ban should be struck down by the Supreme Court, according to a new poll.
A Washington Post/ABC News poll found that 65% of respondents do not support the draconian Texas law, known as S.B. 8, that’s been in place since Sept. 1. Around 29% said they would like to see the court uphold the law, while 6% had no opinion on it. The poll was conducted between Nov. 7 and 10, and surveyed a random sample of 1,001 adults across the country using cellphones and landlines.
The Texas abortion restriction is the most extreme abortion legislation in U.S. history. In addition to banning abortion after about six weeks (a point at which many people don’t yet realize they’re pregnant), Texas’ S.B. 8 includes financial incentives for private citizens to seek out and sue anyone who “aids or abets” Texans trying to get an abortion. If someone successfully sues, they could receive a bounty of at least $10,000 and have all of their legal fees paid for by the opposing side.
The Washington Post/ABC News survey was published just over two weeks after the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the controversial Texas law. Many of the Supreme Court justices, including Donald Trump appointees Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, seemed open to allowing legal challenges to Texas’ abortion ban. The Supreme Court is currently deliberating and could hand down a decision at any time.
Although it’s only been in place for a little over two months, the abortion restriction has already had deeply detrimental effects on people seeking abortions in Texas. Many are leaving the state to get abortions while other less privileged people are being forced to give birth. Abortion clinics in bordering states like Oklahoma and New Mexico are overwhelmed with Texas patients, leaving clinic staff extremely overworked as they try to accommodate the influx of new patients.
“It’s wild having to navigate medical care in two different states for something as simple as, like, I went home with a bag of pills,” a Texan named Maria, who traveled out of state to get an abortion, told HuffPost last month. “Part of the trauma is the psychological harm that the state is imposing unnecessarily on women and birthing people… This is cruel by design.”
The Washington Post/ABC News poll also found that 60% of Americans want the Supreme Court to uphold Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision that protects the right to abortion. And 75% of respondents believe that decisions about abortion should be “left to the woman and her doctor,” while 20% want the procedure to be regulated by law.
Unsurprisingly, Democrats expressed the greatest support for abortion rights, with 89% saying they want the Supreme Court to reject the Texas abortion restriction and 82% responding that the court should uphold Roe in the upcoming Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case, which threatens to overturn Roe altogether.
The poll found that Republicans continue to generally oppose abortion, with 55% responding that they support the Texas law. Only 45% of Republicans, however, said they want the Supreme Court to overturn Roe, and a majority (53%) said they believe abortion should be a decision between a woman and her health care provider.
The Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case, set for Dec. 1, centers on a 2018 Mississippi state law that attempts to ban abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The Mississippi law is in direct violation of Roe, which states that abortion procedures are legal up until a fetus’ viability, which is around 24 weeks.
“If the court overrules Roe, takes this right away and allows states to ban abortion at virtually any point in pregnancy, we will see chaos for women and for the poorest people around the country. And the ripple effects will be felt in many states, not just in the states that ban,” said Julie Rikelman, senior director of litigation at the Center for Reproductive Rights, which is representing Jackson Women’s Health Organization.