Majority of Americans Support Legal Abortion as 2024 Election Looms

A recent Pew Research Center survey found 63% of Americans believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases. Abortion rights ballot measures are set to appear on the ballot in several key battleground states, including Florida and Maryland, in November.

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Bijay Laxmi
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Majority of Americans Support Legal Abortion as 2024 Election Looms

Majority of Americans Support Legal Abortion as 2024 Election Looms

As the 2024 election approaches, the issue of abortion rights is taking center stage. A recent Pew Research Center survey conducted from April 8-14, 2024 found that 63% of Americans believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases. A narrow majority also supports the statement that the decision to have an abortion should belong solely to the pregnant woman.

Why this matters: The outcome of the 2024 election will have significant implications for abortion policy and reproductive rights in the United States. The results of the ballot measures and the election will shape the national conversation around abortion and influence policy decisions for years to come.

The survey comes as abortion rights ballot measure campaigns are ramping up in several key battleground states. In Florida and Maryland, initiatives are already set to appear on the ballot in November. Ten other states may also have measures on reproductive rights before voters by the fall. The outcome of these ballot measures could have significant implications, as two pending U.S. Supreme Court cases on abortion have the potential to impact state protections for reproductive rights.

In Florida, a six-week ban on abortion went into effect on May 1, 2024. On the same day, Vice President Kamala Harris gave a speech in Jacksonville, calling the ban "so extreme it applies before many women even know they are pregnant." Harris urged voters to make their voices heard in November by passing Amendment 4, which would protect abortion rights in the state constitution through fetal viability, typically no more than 24 weeks of pregnancy.

However, some abortion rights campaigns are concerned that overt politicization of the issue by Democrats could alienate swing voters. In battleground states like Arizona, Florida, and Missouri, campaigns must win over voters from all parties to succeed in November. A consultant working with several state ballot initiatives, speaking anonymously, said, "I'm not trying to suggest that Democrats shouldn't talk about abortion. I think Democrats should talk about abortion all day long. You just don't need to talk about the specific ballot initiatives all day long."

Nearly all the campaigns are sticking to nonpartisan messaging focused on freedom from government control and personal autonomy. They are largely refraining from commenting on specific candidates. The outcome of the 2024 election will be seen as critical evidence by both Democrats and Republicans about how much the abortion issue matters to voters. As Mary Ziegler, Martin Luther King Jr. Professor of Law at UC Davis, notes, "If voters put former President Donald Trump back in the White House and award Republicans control of the House, Senate, or both, pundits will read that rightly or wrongly as a sign that the electorate does not care that much about reproductive rights after all."

The 2024 election will determine control of state legislatures and governors' mansions, which will have significant sway over abortion policy even if ballot initiatives pass. It will also impact the composition of state Supreme Courts, which will play a crucial role in interpreting any ballot measures and determining if they permit restrictions on reproductive rights. With 63% of Americans supporting legal abortion in most cases, the issue is poised to be a major factor as voters head to the polls in November.

Key Takeaways

  • 63% of Americans believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases.
  • Abortion rights ballot measures are set to appear on the ballot in FL and MD in November.
  • 10 other states may have reproductive rights measures on the ballot by fall.
  • The 2024 election will impact abortion policy and reproductive rights in the US.
  • State legislatures, governors, and Supreme Courts will play a crucial role in shaping abortion policy.