New Poll from the Center for Reproductive Rights: 6 in 10 Americans Support Federal Law to Protect Abortion Access

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Survey Finds Strong Bipartisan Support for a Woman’s Access to Safe, Legal Abortion. 87 Percent Want Congress to Share Their Values on Women’s Health, Majority of Americans Want to Keep Abortion Legal and Accessible
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(PRESS RELEASE) No matter their personal beliefs, most Americans believe abortion should be legal and would support Congress passing a new federal law to protect women’s access to care--according to a poll released today by the Center for Reproductive Rights. The survey of 1,877 voting-age adults in the United States sought to gauge attitudes towards women’s health as Congress debates stripping away reproductive care and state legislatures continue to pass hundreds of restrictions limiting access to services.

The poll suggests politicians working to rob women of their right to safe and legal care are dramatically out of step with their constituents. Nearly seven out of 10 (69 percent) Americans support upholding Roe v. Wade and roughly two-thirds (66 percent) support women having access to reproductive health care in their community.

An overwhelming 87 percent of those surveyed want Congress to share their values on women’s health issues. Not only do adults across the U.S. want Congress to share their values, the survey also finds that 8 in 10 (81 percent) adults in the U.S. agree that they want their representatives to be more vocal in support of these issues.

One way Congress can show its values and priorities are aligned with those of the public is by supporting the Women’s Health Protection Act.  Six in 10 (61 percent) adults would support a federal law, like the Women’s Health Protection Act, that would safeguard abortion care and prevent restrictions that make abortion access increasingly out of reach. The Women’s Health Protection Act was first introduced in the 113th Congress in November 2013 and debated before the Senate Judiciary Committee in July 2014.  It was then reintroduced in the 114th session and again earlier this year.  The legislation—which has 41 sponsors in the Senate and 130 in the House of Representatives--would prohibit states from imposing restrictions on reproductive health care providers that apply to no similar medical care, interfering with women’s personal decision making, and blocking access to safe and legal abortion services.

“Our research shows there’s a sharp disconnect between Americans support for access for reproductive health care and anti-choice politicians in Washington and across the country,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights. “Americans view their access to reproductive health care as an essential right, and not a political issue.” 

When asked about the overwhelming number of state laws passed in recent years that are designed to restrict access to safe and legal abortion, nearly 6 in 10 (59 percent) said that they are a “step in the wrong direction.” This includes half of adults in Texas (50 percent), which has implemented some of the harshest restrictions on a woman’s access to safe and legal abortion in the country.

Those who note that that the current trend of legislation limiting access to abortion is a step in the wrong direction identify protecting access to birth control, abortion and affordable health care as positive women’s health policy priorities for state and federal lawmakers.



GfK conducted an online survey from June 15-26, 2017 of 1,877 American adults (18+) nationwide using its KnowledgePanel™, which is a probability-based panel, recruited using address-based sampling (ABS). Within the 1,877 Americans surveyed, oversamples of communities of color (Latinxs, African Americans, and Asians/Pacific Islanders), Floridians, and Texans were collected.  The general population data were weighted and scaled in accordance with national benchmarks. The Florida and Texas samples (N=292 and N=300, respectively) were weighted separately in accordance with state benchmarks. The margin of error for the national sample is +/-2.5 percentage points. The margins of error for Florida and Texas are +/-5.7 percentage points.