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Chart: New survey shows deepening partisan split on abortion

The Pew Research survey shows rising support among Democrats and persistent opposition among Republicans.
Leaked Report Indicates Supreme Court Set To Overturn Roe v. Wade
Pro-abortion rights and anti-abortion activists protest in response to a leaked Supreme Court draft decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on May 3.Anna Moneymaker / Getty Images

A new survey shows a deep and widening partisan split over abortion among the public as a leaked draft opinion indicates the Supreme Court will overturn Roe v. Wade.

Support for abortion rights is strong among Democrats and those who lean Democratic, a Pew Research Center survey found, with 80 percent of Democratic adults saying abortion should be legal in all or most cases, compared to 38 percent of Republicans and those who lean Republican. The survey of 10,441 adults was conducted March 7-13, before Monday’s bombshell leak, with a reported margin of sampling error of plus or minus 1.5 percentage points.

Democratic support for abortion rights has risen in the past 15 years, while opinions among Republicans have remained relatively steady since 2007. 

Overall, about 6 in 10 adults say abortion should be legal in most or all cases, compared to 37 percent who say it should be illegal.

Other questions on the topic show the gap, as well. Seven in 10 Democrats say the decision about whether to have an abortion should belong solely to the pregnant person, compared to just over 3 in 10 Republicans. More than half of Republicans say life begins at conception, compared to just under a quarter of Democrats. And 7 in 10 Democrats say women should have more say than men in setting abortion policies in America, compared to 41 percent of Republicans.

A majority of all voters agree that abortions should be legal in certain situations, with 84 percent of Democrats and 62 percent of Republicans saying abortions should be allowed when the woman’s life is in danger. Similar margins appear for pregnancies that are the result of rape. 

The Supreme Court draft opinion indicated that the court had the votes to overturn Roe, the 1973 ruling that established federal abortion protections in the U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts has confirmed the authenticity of the draft but said it was not yet final.

Overturning Roe v. Wade would hand abortion rights back to the states. And data from abortion rights groups shows that almost two dozen states would be in position to ban abortions, with 13 of them having so-called trigger laws that kick in only if Roe is knocked down.