The Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling by the Supreme Court in 2022 had a significant impact on the politics of abortion. It shifted the focus of the issue from being primarily important to conservative Christians to becoming a crucial voting matter for the left. Recent polls indicate that the decision may also be influencing the perspective of abortion-rights advocates, particularly in terms of whether the government should regulate abortion at all.
A new and intriguing finding from PerryUndem, a nonpartisan research firm, suggests that a significant chunk of abortion-rights supporters may now oppose any government restrictions on abortion — even limits on later abortion that were largely uncontroversial before Dobbs. The researchers asked 4,037 registered voters if they supported a constitutional amendment establishing reproductive freedom. Half of the sample read an amendment identical to the ballot measure that passed in Michigan in 2022; the other half read the same amendment except the researchers removed language that allowed the state to regulate abortion after viability, or when a fetus can live outside a woman’s body.
PerryUndem found that respondents who received the version of the ballot measure with no government regulations included were 15 percentage points more likely to say they would “definitely” vote for it: Forty-five percent said they would “definitely vote yes” on the version with no restrictions, while 30 percent said they would “definitely vote yes” on the version with a viability restriction. The results were particularly pronounced among Democrats and women of reproductive age (ages 18 to 44), who were much more likely to support the version of the amendment without restrictions.