A solid majority of Americans believe most abortions should be legal in the first three months of a woman’s pregnancy, but most say the procedure should usually be illegal in the second and third trimesters, according to a new poll.
The poll comes just weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a case involving a currently blocked Mississippi law that would ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, two weeks into the second trimester. If the high court upholds the law, it would be the first time since the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision confirming a woman’s right to abortion that a state would be allowed to ban abortions before a fetus can survive outside the womb.
The new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds 61% of Americans say abortion should be legal in most or all circumstances in the first trimester of a pregnancy. However, 65% said abortion should usually be illegal in the second trimester, and 80% said that about the third trimester.
Still, the poll finds many Americans believe that the procedure should be allowable under at least some circumstances even during the second or third trimesters. For abortions during the second trimester, 34% say they should usually or always be legal, and another 30% say they should be illegal in most but not all cases. In the third trimester, 19% think most or all abortions should be legal, and another 26% say they should be illegal only in most cases.