Depending on whom you believe, Anthony Kennedy’s retirement either means that Roe v. Wade will definitely be overturned — or else that it will probably be overturned (but definitely chipped away at).
Regardless, one thing is certain: If the Supreme Court’s new conservative majority takes the right to reproductive autonomy away from the American (female) people, the vast majority of the U.S. electorate will be displeased. A new poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation finds that 67 percent of voters do not want Roe v. Wade overturned. Opposition is overwhelming among Democrats and independents. But, in another sign that the congressional Republicans do not actually represent the consensus views of their constituents, some 43 percent of GOP voters want Roe upheld (the percentage of Republican Congress members who’d be willing to espouse that position in public is in the single digits).
What’s more, an analysis of Cooperative Congressional Elections Study data by the progressive think tank Data For Progress recently found that there is no state in the country where banning abortion in all circumstances has the support of even one-quarter of voters.
In the run-up to the 2016 election, polls showed that nearly half of Trump voters approved of Planned Parenthood. Shortly after Trump’s victory, that organization convened a series of focus groups with such voters, to understand how they could square their support for reproductive health care with voting Republican. Michelle Goldberg reported on the results on Slate:
In several focus groups, the moderator asked if people expected Trump to veto a defunding bill, and most hands went up. The new mother in Harrisburg pointed out that Trump avoided social issues in the campaign: “That was never Donald Trump’s platform.” Said a Phoenix man in his 30s: “I think this is coming from the bible-thumper mentality. I don’t see Trump having that mentality, but [Mike] Pence, Paul Ryan, those guys, it’s like they call up God from their cellphone. They’re so out of touch with reality.”
Conventional wisdom holds that this Supreme Court opening will help Republicans in November midterms by energizing religious voters. And there’s likely some amount of truth to that. But it’s worth remembering that these religious voters want things that the vast majority of Americans — and a significant number of Republicans — do not.