Editor's note: This article was updated on June 24 to reflect the Supreme Court’s decision to reverse Roe v. Wade.
On June 24, SCOTUS officially overturned Roe v. Wade, ending the legal right to an abortion. (Reminder: Roe v. Wade established the constitutional right to an abortion before the fetus is viable outside the womb, around 24 weeks of pregnancy.)
In May, we surveyed our audience (AKA “Skimm’rs”) about how they feel about the right to an abortion after Politico leaked a draft opinion from the Supreme Court. Here’s what they had to say.
Heads up: Throughout this article, we will compare internal Skimm data to data collected by Pew Research Center on how the general population feels about abortion.
Support for legal abortions...
Across generations, 95% of Skimm’rs think abortion should be legal in at least some cases. And when broken down even further, more than half of Skimm’rs – and 61% of millennial Skimm’rs – say abortion should be legal in all cases. Compare that to the 61% of the general population that says that abortion should be legal in all or most circumstances. And 80% of Skimm’rs told us they know someone who has had an abortion.
The top reasons Skimm'rs think abortion should be legal...
Skimm’rs have a number of different reasons why they support the right to an abortion, and the majority tends to be on the same page.
Reminder: These aren’t the only situations where a woman may feel she needs to have an abortion.
Length of pregnancy
A little less than half of Skimm’rs (about 45%) said that how long a woman has been pregnant should matter. So we asked our audience what the legal cap should be. Nearly 90% of Skimm’rs said that abortion should be legal at 6 weeks with no exceptions. While 60% said abortion should be legal at 14 weeks with no exceptions. And only 7% said abortion should be legal at 24 weeks (what was legal under Roe v. Wade) with no exceptions. Note that almost 70% of Skimm’rs said it depends on the specific case when it comes to legalizing abortion at 24 weeks.
If a pregnancy threatens a woman’s life or her health, 95% of Skimm’rs say abortion should be legal. And if a baby is likely to be born with severe disabilities or health problems, 83% of Skimm’rs say abortion should be legal.
If a pregnancy is the result of incest, 94% of Skimm’rs say abortion should be legal.
Rape and abuse
If a pregnancy is the result of rape, 93% of Skimm’rs say abortion should be legal. And if the woman is in an abusive or otherwise unsafe relationship or situation, then 84% say abortion should be legal.
A woman’s future
This reason for an abortion got less support from Skimm’rs than the other reasons, yet still depended on the specific case. If an abortion is in the woman’s “best interest,” then 81% of Skimm’rs say abortion should be legal. Specifically, if a pregnancy threatens a woman’s educational or financial future, 75% of Skimm’rs say abortion should be legal. And if a woman feels unable to care for the child after it is born, then 74% of Skimm’rs say abortion should be legal.
Who should have the final say on abortion...
Skimm’rs were split about which government body should be responsible for legislating abortion. And 23% of Skimm’rs said it should be SCOTUS, another 23% said it should be up to state legislatures, and 31% said Congress should be responsible. The rest of our audience wasn’t sure, with some Skimm’rs writing in that it shouldn’t be up to any body of government.
And when it comes to actually creating those policies, 84% of Skimm’rs told us that women should have a lot more say than men. (That’s higher than the general population, where 60% of women and 51% of men say that women should have more say.) And only 10% of Skimm’rs said that women and men should have equal say when it comes to policy making, while 39% of the general population says it should be equal.
How to minimize the need for abortions...
We asked Skimm’rs what methods they thought could actually help reduce the number of abortions. And almost 50% of Skimm'rs said that passing stricter laws against abortion would not reduce the number of abortions, while 10% said it would greatly reduce the number.
About 85% of Skimm’rs said adding more support for parents (like paid family leave), more support for women during pregnancy (like financial assistance or employment protections), and expanding sex education could reduce the number of abortions. And 95% of Skimm’rs agreed that expanding access to free or low-cost birth control options could help too. Plus 67% said that holding men equally responsible for a pregnancy as women would reduce abortions.
Millennial women have lived their whole lives with the right to a legal abortion under Roe v. Wade. And Skimm’rs overwhelmingly support that right. But now, that right has been revoked. Which could mean an increase in pregnancy-related deaths, economic hardship, and a disproportionate impact on women of color.
During the week of May 9-13, 2022, we surveyed Skimm’rs on their opinions of abortion access and legalization, as a response to the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion.
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