Today marks the fortieth anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that made most early-term abortions legal, and it seems the the country has changed its mind. New polls from the Pew Research Center indicate that 63 percent of Americans don’t think Roe v. Wade should be overturned. Just four years ago, 44 percent answered they thought abortion should be illegal in all or most cases while 47 said it should be legal.
The findings were further broken down by demographics. When it came to views by religious affiliation and race, Jews were most in favor of abortion being legal in all or most cases (88 percent). Mormons and evangelical Christians were most against abortion (64 and 63 percent respectively) while the majority of generally conservation black Protestants were in favor of abortion. There were no responses for Muslims. Fifty-three percent of Hispanic Catholics were against abortion. Men, interestingly, were slightly more against abortion, with 42 percent answering it should be illegal in all or most cases, versus 40 percent of women who gave the same answer.
Despite most answering in favor of Roe v. Wade, feelings about the morality of abortion were still mixed. Forty-seven percent answered they felt it was morally wrong to have an abortion and just 27 percent said it wasn’t a moral issue at all. However, 53 percent of respondents didn’t think abortion was a critical issue, up from 32 percent in 2006. This change in opinion may perhaps be due to the economy’s slow recovery.
Even as more people are in favor of keeping Roe v. Wade, more states have restricted abortion. According to the Guttmacher Institute, last year 19 states enacted 42 new regulations when it came to women getting abortions. Eight states now require women to have ultrasounds first and in four states there is only one clinic offering abortions. These new regulations come after the number of abortions yearly have declined year after year, stabilizing at about 15 abortions per 1,000 women.