Support for Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision that decriminalized abortion access, has reached an all-time high in the latest poll from NBC News and the Wall Street Journal.
Seventy-one percent of U.S. voters, including 52 percent of Republicans, do not believe the ruling should be reversed. Only 23 percent of respondents say Roe v. Wade should be overturned. Support for the ruling has risen six percentage points since 2005 and 13 percentage points since 1989.
The increased focus on abortion access follows President Donald Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Kavanaugh has a history of controversial rulings and remarks about reproductive rights, raising fears that Kavanaugh could join the other four conservative justices to overturn Roe v. Wade if confirmed.
In response to this threat, states have started to protect or improve abortion access within their borders. Massachusetts passed the NASTY (Negating Archaic Statutes Targeting Young) Women Act to repeal a 173-year-old abortion ban last week. State Rep. Claire Cronin (D) described the urgency behind Massachusetts’ move:
“The changing dynamic of the Supreme Court is a real and legitimate concern. We have both a president and a vice president who have expressed an intent to overturn Roe v. Wade and we take them at their word. We must ensure that if this occurs, in Massachusetts we have taken the necessary steps to protect the right to choice and to protect the right to access to health care and access to the information need to make private medical decisions.”
However, Kavanuagh currently has the lowest approval rating of any recent Supreme Court nominee.