Roe v. Wade at 40: Six questions about the state of abortion rights today

On Tuesday, the United States marks the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the historic US Supreme Court decision that granted women the right to an abortion. Here is a look at the state of abortion rights in America today.

6. How have the public’s views evolved over the past 40 years?

Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News/AP
Thousands of antiabortion supporters gathered on Ross Ave. in downtown Dallas, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013 for the March for Life following a service at the Cathedral Guadalupe.

Polling has been controversial, since results vary based on how questions are framed and who asks them.

Based on Gallup polling, the percentages of Americans who believe abortion should be legal under all circumstances, illegal under all circumstances, and legal only under certain circumstances have stayed remarkably stable. The biggest chunk of Americans falls into the last group: 52 percent in 2012, compared with 54 percent in 1975. A quarter of Americans told Gallup last year they believed abortion should be legal in all circumstances, compared with 21 percent in 1975.

Over the past 17 years, however, Gallup polling has shown that fewer Americans identify as favoring abortion rights – declining from 56 percent in 1995 to 41 percent in 2012 (for both years, these responses came after survey-takers had been asked about the legality of abortion).

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The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

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