In a matter of days, a new type of abortion law in Texas has made it virtually impossible for women to gain access to the procedure in the state – although the constitutional right to abortion is still intact for the time being. Texan law prohibits abortion after heart activity is detected, usually about six weeks into a pregnancy. Eight other states have tried to happen similar bans, but the Texas ban is the first to go into effect afterwards The Supreme Court issued a 5-4 order which states: that while it did not rule on the constitutionality of the law in one way or another, because of the law’s unique structure, it would also not pause the law while litigation unfolded in the lower courts.
As a result, women in Texas still theoretically have a right to an abortion – but almost none will. Corresponding Attorneys for Texas Clinics85 to 90 percent of abortions in the state happen after six weeks. Clinics across the country are in chaos, with overcrowded waiting rooms and patients who tearfully turned away. At this point, it seems very likely that the law will stay in place until the litigation is resolved, which could take months or years and make Texas a bizarre test case – how will Americans react if the abortion aborted abruptly in one of the cases will? the nations most populous states?
According to the surveys available to us, the answer is far from clear. On the one hand, a majority of Americans have always said that Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court case that established a constitutional right to abortion should not be overturned. But many too support a wide range of specific abortion restrictions, some, of them contradict the standards of the Supreme Court when and how states can regulate the procedure. However, public opinion has not really changed on the issue, although access to abortion has steadily declined in much of the country over the past 10 years. But the fact that Texas law directly attacks abortion in the first trimester of pregnancy – when the procedure is both most supportive and most common – could spark public outrage in ways that were not the case in previous restrictions.
For decades, Americans have largely spoken out against the repeal of Roe Against Wade – despite escalating attempts by anti-abortionists to turn public opinion against legal abortion. As the graph below shows, 58 percent of Americans were against overturning Roe when Gallup last asked the question in May, the same proportion that wanted to keep the 1989 case on the books.
However, American attitudes about whether states should be able to restrict abortion are more confused than their stance on Roe suggests. In Roe and later Supreme Court cases involving abortion, judges ruled that States cannot prohibit abortion before viabilitywhich usually occurs around the 24th week of pregnancy. The Texas six-week ban is an obvious and dramatic departure from that standard. Some people, of course, have more extreme views on the matter: According to a May-Gallup poll, 19 percent of Americans think abortion should be illegal in all circumstances, while nearly twice as many (32 percent) think it should be legal under all circumstances. But most (48 percent) are in between, saying it should only be legal under certain circumstances.