Skip to main content
CloseSearch

Public Pans Texas Abortion Law

Monday, Sept. 20, 2021

Most say leave Roe v. Wade as is

West Long Branch, NJ – Key aspects of the new Texas law restricting access to abortions receive a thumbs down from a broad majority of Americans, especially the so-called “bounty” payment provision. The latest Monmouth (“Mon-muth”) University Poll also finds public approval of the U.S. Supreme Court has dipped in the past five years while most Americans support keeping access to abortion legal and do not want the nation’s highest court to revisit the Roe v. Wade decision.

A majority of the public (54%) disagrees with the Supreme Court allowing the Texas law that effectively bans abortions after six weeks to go into effect. Another 39% of Americans agree with the court. Most Democrats (73%) disagree with the decision while most Republicans (62%) agree. Democrats (77%) and independents (61%) are more likely than Republicans (47%) to say they have heard a lot about this new law.

Two unique provisions of the Texas law are broadly opposed by the public. Seven in ten Americans (70%) disapprove of allowing private citizens to use lawsuits to enforce this law rather than having government prosecutors handle these cases. Additionally, 8 in 10 Americans (81%) disapprove of giving $10,000 to private citizens who successfully file suits against those who perform or assist a woman with getting an abortion. The vast majority of Democrats and independents oppose both provisions. Republicans are split on having private citizens enforce the law (46% approve and 41% disapprove), but most GOP identifiers (67%) take a negative view of the $10,000 payment aspect.

“The American public is largely pro-choice, although many would accept some limitations on abortion access. This Texas law goes way too far for most people. The ‘bounty’ aspect in particular seems objectionable,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.

Currently, 6 in 10 Americans say abortion should be always legal (33%) or legal with some limitations (29%). Another 24% say it should be illegal except for rape, incest, or to save the mother’s life and 11% say it should always be illegal. These results are nearly identical to a Monmouth poll taken two years ago. There is a slight gender difference in support for legal access to abortion, but this is primarily among people of color – 76% of women compared with 51% of men in these demographic groups support legalized abortion. Among non-Hispanic white Americans, 61% of women and 63% of men are in support.

Similarly, 62% of Americans say the Supreme Court should leave the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision as it is while just 31% want to see the decision revisited. Among those who support legal abortion access, 20% support revisiting Roe and 76% are opposed. Among those who want to make all or most abortions illegal, 51% support revisiting Roe and 40% are opposed.

“For most Americans, including many of those who support restricting abortion access, Roe v. Wade should be considered settled law. We’ll probably see in the next year whether a majority of the Supreme Court agrees,” said Murray.

The poll finds the public’s view of the Supreme Court has dimmed in the last five years. Currently, 42% approve and 45% disapprove of the job the Court is doing. In 2016, the top court’s rating stood at 49% approve and 33% disapprove. During this time, Republican approval has climbed (from 36% to 52%) and Democratic approval has declined (from 65% to 33%), while independent approval has held steady (47% in 2016 and 44% now). One possible change to the Court – expanding the number of justices – is opposed by most Americans (58%). Just 36% support this idea.

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from September 9 to 13, 2021 with 802 adults in the United States.  The question results in this release have a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points. The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, NJ.

QUESTIONS AND RESULTS     

(* Some columns may not add to 100% due to rounding.)

[Q1-7 previously released.]

[Q8-16 held for future release.]

17.Do you approve or disapprove of the job the U.S. Supreme Court is doing?

TREND:Sept.
2021
March
2016
Approve42%49%
Disapprove45%33%
(VOL) Don’t know12%17%
(n)(802)(1,008)

18.The Supreme Court currently has nine justices. Would you support or oppose expanding the size of the Supreme Court?

Sept.
2021
Support36%
Oppose58%
(VOL) Don’t know6%
(n)(802)

19.Which comes closest to your view on abortion: it should always be legal, it should be legal with some limitations, it should be illegal except for rape, incest or to save the mother’s life, or it should always be illegal?

 TREND:Sept.
2021
June
2019
Always legal33%32%
Legal with limitations29%31%
Illegal with exceptions24%24%
Always illegal11%10%
(VOL) Don’t know2%3%
(n)(802)(751)

20.The Roe versus Wade decision has guided abortion law in the United States since 1973. Would you like to see the Supreme Court revisit that decision or leave it as is?

 Sept.
2021
Revisit31%
Leave as is62%
(VOL) Don’t know7%
(n)(802)

21.The state of Texas recently enacted a law that effectively bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. Have you heard a lot, a little, or nothing at all about this?

 Sept.
2021
A lot62%
A little27%
Nothing at all11%
(n)(802)

22.A majority vote on the Supreme Court allowed that law to go into effect while legal challenges are being made in lower courts. Do you agree or disagree with that decision?

 Sept.
2021
Agree39%
Disagree54%
(VOL) Don’t know6%
(n)(802)

23.The Texas law allows any private citizen to sue a person or organization in court who they suspect of performing an abortion or helping someone get an abortion after six weeks. Were you aware or not aware that this is how this law works?

 Sept.
2021
Aware62%
Not aware38%
(n)(802)

24.Do you approve or disapprove of having private citizens use lawsuits to enforce this law instead of having government prosecutors handle these cases?

 Sept.
2021
Approve22%
Disapprove70%
(VOL) Don’t know9%
(n)(802)

25.A private citizen who files and wins an abortion lawsuit in Texas is eligible to receive $10,000. Do you approve or disapprove of giving $10,000 to private citizens who successfully file abortion lawsuits?

 Sept.
2021
Approve14%
Disapprove81%
(VOL) Don’t know5%
(n)(802)

[Q26-39 previously released.]

METHODOLOGY

The Monmouth University Poll was sponsored and conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute from September 9 to 13, 2021 with a national random sample of 802 adults age 18 and older. This includes 281 contacted by a live interviewer on a landline telephone and 521 contacted by a live interviewer on a cell phone, in English. Telephone numbers were selected through a mix of random digit dialing and list-based sampling. Landline respondents were selected with a modified Troldahl-Carter youngest adult household screen. Monmouth is responsible for all aspects of the survey design, data weighting and analysis. The full sample is weighted for region, age, education, gender and race based on US Census information (ACS 2018 one-year survey). Data collection support provided by Braun Research (field), Dynata (RDD sample), and Aristotle (list sample). For results based on this sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling has a maximum margin of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points (unadjusted for sample design). Sampling error can be larger for sub-groups (see table below). In addition to sampling error, one should bear in mind that question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.

DEMOGRAPHICS (weighted)
Self-Reported
26% Republican
41% Independent
33% Democrat
 
48% Male
52% Female
 
30% 18-34
32% 35-54
38% 55+
 
63% White
12% Black
17% Hispanic
  8% Asian/Other
 
70% No degree
30% 4 year degree

Click on pdf file link below for full methodology and crosstabs by key demographic groups.

Download this Poll Report with crosstabs