When Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement on June 27th, abortion rights supporters began to worry that the replacement President Donald Trump selects would repeal Roe v. Wade. And yesterday, July 2nd, as Trump began interviewing potential nominees, a new poll revealed that most Americans support keeping the landmark court decision in place.
The poll, conducted by Quinnipiac University, found that 63% of respondents agree with Roe v. Wade’s determination that states can’t outlaw abortion prior to fetal viability (around 24 weeks). A majority of Republicans (58%) disagreed with the decision, but every other demographic surveyed supported the 1973 ruling. The three groups with the highest rates of support for the decision are Democrats (81% support), black respondents (71% support), and white college-educated respondents (70% support). Roe v. Wade has been historically popular in Quinnipiac polls. Since 2005, support for the decision has never dipped below 60% in polls administered by the university.
Although it’s unclear if Trump’s nominee will work to overturn Roe v. Wade, there is still cause for concern. According to Politico, Trump has so far narrowed the field of potential Supreme Court nominees to five contenders. The president has said that he won’t ask candidates for the position if they support Roe v. Wade, but during the 2016 presidential campaign, he vowed to nominate only anti-abortion justices. And in a July 1st interview on Fox, Trump said that the decision of abortion “could very well end up with the states at some point.”
The Supreme Court, of course, is not beholden to public opinion. But as president, Trump’s job is to represent the American people, and since most Americans support Roe v. Wade, it makes sense to nominate a Supreme Court justice who will honor this decision. SCOTUS has already ruled that women have the right to choose; we need the current government to respect that precedent.