The Dispatch: More from CWR...

Poll finds American majority want Roe v Wade to go

Katie Yoder   By Katie Yoder for CNA

(Image: Thomas Andreas/Shutterstock)

Washington D.C., Jan 20, 2022 / 18:29 pm (CNA).

More than 60% of Americans disagree with the central holding of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion nationwide, according to a new Knights of Columbus/Marist Poll survey.

The poll, released two days before the Jan. 22 anniversary of Roe v. Wade, found that 44% say that the Supreme Court should leave abortion up to ea​​ch individual state and 17% say the court should make abortion illegal.

The Supreme Court will decide later this year Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which challenges Roe v. Wade and asks “Whether all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortions are unconstitutional,” or whether states can ban abortion before a fetus can survive outside the womb.

While 55% of respondents identified as “pro-choice” and 40% called themselves “pro-life,” only 17% agreed that “abortion should be available to a woman any time she wants one during her entire pregnancy.” This number stayed low regardless of political affiliation. Only 31% of Democrats, 1% of Republicans, and 19% of independents said a woman should be able to obtain an abortion at any time.

In other words, 83% of Americans want some kind of limit on abortion.

“I think what is really an important takeaway is that opinion itself on abortion, although in the political realm is always discussed as complex and complicated, it is very clear in terms of public opinion,” Marist Poll Director Barbara Carvalho said during a press call.

For the past 14 years, the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal organization, has partnered with Marist Poll to survey Americans’ attitudes on abortion. This latest survey of 1,004 adults was conducted Jan. 4—9.

Both Carvalho and Timothy Saccoccia, vice president of public policy for the Knights of Columbus, pointed to the survey results regarding gestational limits when CNA asked what they found most surprising.

Here, Americans answered “at which point should abortions for other reasons be limited” if abortion remains legal including for cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of a mother.  42% said “the point at which a fetus can feel pain,” 36% said “the point at which a fetus can live outside the womb” (or the point of viability), 11% volunteered responses, and another 11% responded “unsure.”

“Anytime we see kind of double digits on a question where there is — where we have so many possibilities of a response, that suggests that people aren’t necessarily on one side or the other, but they are weighing what this actually means,” Carvalho explained. “I think that’s a very interesting number given that viability has been something that has been in part of this process for such a very, very long time.”

Regarding the threshold of fetal pain or viability, she added, “I think that that probably is one of the questions that the data would be most against the conventional wisdom that we have seen both in Congress and in the debate of this issue.”

Saccoccia also told CNA that “Any time we ask a new question, I think we’re always interested to see what the result is going to be.”

He pointed to the question regarding medical abortion. The survey found that 63% of Americans oppose or strongly oppose new federal rules that allow sending prescription drugs that induce an abortion through the mail instead of getting them in-person from a specially certified health provider.

This comes after the Food and Drug Administration lifted restrictions on mifepristone, a drug approved for use in medical abortions, in December.

“That was an interesting tidbit of information to learn,” Saccoccia said, “especially as that conversation is really starting up and as people are talking about it more, especially in light of potential changes that could come following any decision in the Dobbs case.”

At another point, he said of Dobbs: “I think as the Supreme Court considers the case . . . the American people are paying attention and have opinions there that would seem to indicate an opportunity to reconsider and an opportunity to view these more nuanced opinions in law and in jurisprudence.”

The survey findings broke down the numbers by political affiliation and by Americans’ position on abortion. The survey also found that 54% of Americans oppose or strongly oppose the use of taxpayer dollars to pay for abortion and 73% oppose or strongly oppose using tax dollars to fund abortion services in other countries.

The survey addressed religious objections to abortion, particularly in health care. 71% of respondents said doctors, nurses, or other health care professionals who have religious objections to abortion should not be legally required to perform abortions. 54% of them think that organizations who have religious objections to abortion should not be legally required to provide insurance coverage for abortions.

Instead of separating the well-being of a mother and an unborn child, 81% of Americans believe laws can protect both mother and baby.

As president of pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List, Marjorie Dannenfelser welcomed the results.

“Life is winning in hearts and minds across America,” she said in a statement. “For almost 50 years the Supreme Court has tied the hands of elected leaders nationwide as they strive to protect the unborn and their mothers, even from late-term abortions that inflict excruciating pain on children in the womb. Now, that right may finally be restored and the will of the people reflected in the law.”

If you value the news and views Catholic World Report provides, please consider donating to support our efforts. Your contribution will help us continue to make CWR available to all readers worldwide for free, without a subscription. Thank you for your generosity!

Click here for more information on donating to CWR. Click here to sign up for our newsletter.

About Catholic News Agency 11117 Articles
Catholic News Agency (


  1. Roe v. Wade (410 U.S. 113 (1973)) is, in a sense, a stalking horse. The case that needs to be overturned is the Slaughterhouse Cases (83 U.S. 36 (1873)) which effectively nullified the Fourteenth Amendment, as William Crosskey explained in his book, “Politics and the Constitution in the History of the United States”. Chicago, Illinois: University of Chicago Press, 1953.

    Disregarding the standard interpretation of Slaughterhouse, Crosskey’a analysis was that in the opinion it rendered, the Supreme Court mis-cited Scott v. Sandford (60 U.S. (19 How.) 393 (1857)) which claimed that natural rights are a grant from the State the same as citizenship. The Fourteenth Amendment in part overturned Scott, but in Slaughterhouse the Court’s opinion was so vaguely worded that it made the Fourteenth Amendment mean anything the Court wanted it to mean. As Crosskey concluded his analysis:

    “So, the Court’s opinion in the Slaughter-House Cases was, undoubtedly, most craftily written; written so as to enable the Court, with a good face, in future cases, to jump either way: to observe the intended meaning of the Privileges and Immunities Clause if that seemed unavoidable, or, in the alternative, to destroy the clause utterly if this seemed safe. And the fact that this elaborate preparation was made also means that the majority Justices saw and fully comprehended the possibility of the intermediate, plain, and sensible meaning of the Privileges and Immunities Clause here expounded, to which, indeed, Justice Bradley called attention, in his dissenting opinion. So, the majority must, as the minority charged, already have determined, if they dared, to destroy this new provision of the Constitution completely.” (p. 1130)

    In other words, the opinion in Slaughterhouse gave the U.S. Supreme Court the power not only to declare any and all acts of Congress unconstitutional at will by changing the meaning of rights and person in the Fourteenth Amendment, but to legislate from the bench and create new law at will. Going after specific cases such as Roe v. Wade that were decided in light of the Slaughterhouse opinion and the new powers the Court granted to itself by reinterpreting the intent of the framers of the Constitution does not change the underlying problem that makes decisions like Roe not only possible, but probable.

  2. Maybe an American majority want Roe v Wade to go…but that’s what the judicial branch of “representative” Government is there to thwart…popular opinion

  3. I believe that the headline for this article, while not false, is misleading. The article states that over 60% think that Roe must go. But we find that only 17% think that abortion should be made illegal. The rest believe that the decision to murder unborn babies should be left to the states. I have to say that I don’t find these numbers all that comforting. Only 17% seem to have a true moral compass.

  4. Fox News polls indicate 71% prefer restrictions on abortion, although roughly the same number in consequence agree abortion remain legal. While there’s improvement to approx 40% pro life the larger 71% incorporates a percentage of those counted as pro life. Abortion advocacy holds sway. The breakdown indicates this large percentage approx 71% is conflicted.
    That can be read as a good trend, since inner conflict is a conscience matter. As some essayists argue opponents of abortion should make the natural law argument. To an extent yes, in addition evidence of human life rather than a bundle of cells. Although a complimentary likely stronger argument is found in a Christian anthropology that redefines Man’s humanness within the virtues, particularly charity as the lever for the common good.

    • That is, the theological virtue charity as synonymous to the intellectual virtue Justice, as Aquinas reflects Justice is reducible to love of our fellow man.

  5. “The Supreme Court will decide later this year Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which challenges Roe v. Wade and asks “Whether all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortions are unconstitutional,” or whether states can ban abortion before a fetus can survive outside the womb.”

    As I read recently (I forget the source) — an excellent observation by this individual:

    The Supreme Court Justices basically will decide AT WHAT STAGE it will be legal to KILL the PRE-BORN HUMAN BEING.

    How ghoulish is that? When will a judge point to that absurd line of reasoning?

    Meanwhile, killing the zygote via the daily pill is also ignored.

    So, the The Justices frame the question thus:

    “At what stage of life should we, the Supreme Justices of the United States of America, rule that the human being can legally be exterminated?”

    Meanwhile, thought of the Supreme Being, creator of life, is relegated to the hall closet of the Justice Chambers along with right reason.

    Hitler, Sanger, Planned Parenthood, Stalin and many in Congress smirk. The human traffickers win another round. Most clergy and regular Catholics lose the use of speech. The unthinking masses go shopping.

1 Trackback / Pingback

  1. Poll finds American majority want Roe v Wade to go – Via Nova Media

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

All comments posted at Catholic World Report are moderated. While vigorous debate is welcome and encouraged, please note that in the interest of maintaining a civilized and helpful level of discussion, comments containing obscene language or personal attacks—or those that are deemed by the editors to be needlessly combative or inflammatory—will not be published. Thank you.