72% of Americans back legal access to abortion pill, poll finds

Nearly three-quarters of all Americans back legal access to medication abortion, according to a new poll released Friday, reaffirming that the pro-choice side is winning the debate over reproductive rights.

Roughly 72% of those surveyed back allowing women to use the abortion pill to end a pregnancy if prescribed in person by a doctor, including more than 90% of Democrats and a majority of Republicans, according to the Axios/Ipsos survey.

Political independents strongly support unfettered access to abortion medication, underlying the increasing political peril Republicans face over their wide-ranging pro-life stance.

A narrow majority support allowing women to obtain the abortion pill through the mail, without needing to physically see a doctor. But 77% of Republicans oppose that.

The poll was conducted this week as the Supreme Court considered overturning a ruling by a right-wing federal judge in Texas that would ban mifepristone, a drug used in about 60% of all abortions in the U.S.

“There is a resounding consensus to stop litigating this, that this is a health issue between a woman and a doctor,” said Mallory Newall, a vice president at Ipsos, a public opinion research firm.

Fewer than half of Americans say they are aware of the mifepristone case that the Supreme Court heard arguments over this week.

Overwhelming majorities say they back the Food and Drug Administration’s unfettered right to make decisions about abortion medications, which a group of pro-life doctors is trying to reverse in the mifepristone case, the survey found.

Despite public support for abortion rights, Republican-led states have quickly moved to ban abortion, including medication abortion, after the Supreme Court in 2022 overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that had legalized abortion nationwide.

Most GOP leaders also support national bans on abortion, and former President Donald Trump, the presumptive GOP nominee, recently said he is considering a ban on the procedure after 15 weeks of pregnancy. That stance would be unpopular with voters, a recent Fox News poll said.

Democrats are confident that they enjoy a huge political advantage on the abortion issue heading into the 2024 presidential race and beyond.

Pro-choice voters have won recent referendums in red states like Kansas and Ohio and pundits credit fears over abortion restrictions with helping Democrats avert an anticipated wipeout in the 2022 midterms.