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Abortion Access: Where Does America Meet in the Middle?

It's no secret that abortion access is a divisive topic across both the United States and other parts of the world. In the U.S., positions on abortion have critically varied between the 2024 presidential candidates.


Where Do the Top 5 Republican Presidential Candidates Stand?


While most Republican candidates favor abortion bans, their policies vary. These are the current stances on abortion access from the top-polling Republican candidates.


Donald Trump


Former President Donald Trump has taken a more moderate stance on abortion bans. When Trump was in office, he supported a bill that attempted to ban abortion at 20 weeks. Recently, Trump didn't comment on whether he would support a 15-week abortion ban.


In September, Trump stated in an interview with NBC that it would take cooperation from both sides to agree on any abortion ban that would satisfy both sides. Trump also criticized Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for the six-week abortion ban he signed into law. Trump claimed that this was too harsh of a restriction.


Ron DeSantis


Ron DeSantis has not been shy about being "pro-life." As the Governor of Florida, DeSantis passed a 15-week abortion ban in 2022. More recently in April of this year, DeSantis signed a 6-week abortion ban into law. The law does include exceptions for women who face life-threatening complications. It contains exceptions for rape or incest, but only up to 15 weeks. Victims must provide documentation such as a restraining order or a police report.


During the Republican presidential debate, DeSantis said he would support a federal 15-week abortion ban. Until this point, DeSantis refused to provide his stance on a federal abortion ban.


Nikki Haley


Nikki Haley has been open about supporting a federal abortion ban if she were to take office. As the Governor of South Carolina, Haley passed a 20-week abortion ban. Haley has not specified what number of weeks she would want to see in an abortion ban at the federal level. However, when asked if she would sign a 15-week ban, she said she absolutely would.


Haley said that her fellow Republican candidates are not honest about how hard it is to pass regulations on abortion. Without a more significant Republican majority in Congress, it would be nearly impossible to pass an abortion ban.


Vivek Ramaswamy


Out of these five Republican candidates, Vivek Ramaswamy is the only one who opposes abortion bans at the federal level. Ramaswamy has been very clear that he believes abortion bans are a state-level issue. Since states handle murder laws, Ramaswamy thinks that states should take abortion laws as well.


Ramaswamy has expressed support for states that have passed six-week abortion bans.


Mike Pence


Former Vice President Mike Pence has taken one of the most restrictive stances. Pence supports a federal six-week abortion ban. Pence said that he doesn't support exceptions for nonviable pregnancies.


Pence is opposed to using the abortion drug mifepristone, which has been FDA-approved for over 20 years.


Where Do the Democratic Presidential Candidates Stand?


The Democratic presidential candidates for the 2024 election are overwhelmingly "pro-choice." Supporting abortion access is a key policy in the campaigns of these candidates.


Joe Biden


President Joe Biden supports codifying abortion access at a federal level. Biden has also stated that he would veto any abortion bans at a national level.


During his presidency, Biden has attempted to strengthen access to mifepristone and other forms of contraception after the overturn of Roe v. Wade.

Marianne Williamson


Marianne Williamson has proclaimed that she is "100% pro-choice." Williamson has also expressed her support for codifying the protections that Roe v. Wade previously gave at a federal level.


Where Do the American People Stand?


With widely different opinions from Democrats to Republicans, it is hard to reach a consensus. This topic was especially prevalent following the overturning of Roe v. Wade.


A poll conducted by Reuters and Ipsos in April of 2023 sheds some light on how Americans feel about various abortion policies.


State Abortion Bans


29% supported state-level efforts to restrict access to the medication needed for a medical abortion, while 61% opposed this. Overall, respondents opposed state-level restrictions on abortion medication.


National Abortion Bans


The poll asked respondents about their support on various federal abortion bans. 43% supported a national abortion ban at 15 weeks gestation, while 41% opposed it. However, when asked about a federal ban after six weeks of gestation, only 35% supported it and 50% opposed. Respondents were majority opposed to a six-week ban, but slightly favored a 15-week abortion ban.


Additionally, 72% opposed an abortion ban with no exceptions for rape, incest, or nonviable pregnancies. 21% supported a federal ban with no exceptions.


Methods of Obtaining Abortion Pills


The method of how women receive abortion medication is also divisive. 47% supported women receiving abortion pills through the mail, while 41% opposed. Most respondents supported receiving abortion pills at a doctor's office, with 68% in favor and 25% opposed. Obtaining abortion medication from a pharmacy has a slightly smaller margin, with 62% in favor and 29% opposed.


Politicians And Abortion Policy


This poll emphasizes that abortion policy does affect who Americans vote for. 56% of respondents agreed they are less likely to vote for politicians who want to limit abortion access. Only 21% disagreed with this statement. Within party lines, Democrats overwhelmingly agreed with this statement, with 77% agreeing. However, only 43% of Republicans agreed.


Similarly, respondents were less likely to vote for politicians who would appoint or confirm judges who were anti-abortion. 57% agreed they would be less likely to vote for these candidates, while 28% disagreed.


The Supreme Court


Only 37% agreed that they trusted SCOTUS to remain neutral and impartial in any future cases on the topic of abortion. 46% disagreed with this. When asked if SCOTUS is politically motivated to ban abortion, 57% agreed, and 24% disagreed.


32% agreed that the federal ruling to suspend the FDA-approval of mifepristone is a result of courts inability to be impartial. 33% disagreed that the ruling was a result of the courts inability to be partial. When asked if the federal ruling to suspend the FDA-approval of mifepristone was politically motivated, 56% agreed while only 20% disagreed.


Where Does America Meet in The Middle?


With the data that has come out within the last year or two, Americans tend to favor some level of access to abortion. A Gallup poll from May 2023 showed that 69% of Americans agreed that abortion should be legal in the first trimester. Only 37% supported legal abortions during the second trimester, and 22% supported it during the third trimester.


Recent data shows that around 61% of Americans believe that abortion should be legal in most or all cases. Americans also believe that abortion should be legal if a woman's life is at risk (73%), if the pregnancy is a result of rape (69%), or if the baby is likely to have severe health problems or severe disabilities (53%). This data comes from a poll by Pew Research in May of 2022.


While there is still no consensus on the exact number of weeks, the data shows that most Americans support abortion access to some extent. The data also shows that Americans do not support a federal 6-week abortion ban. To pass any abortion legislation at the federal level, America will have to meet in the middle on the issue.


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