A majority of Americans disapproves of the Supreme Court’s recent decision to allow a ban on most abortions to take effect in Texas, with key aspects of the law — such as empowering private citizens to enforce it through lawsuits — proving overwhelmingly unpopular, according to a national poll released on Monday.
The Monmouth University Poll found that awareness was high about the Texas law, which prohibits most abortions after six weeks and is the most restrictive in the nation. The Supreme Court allowed the law to take effect on Sept. 1 in a one-paragraph decision on the case, though it said it would consider future challenges.
The law is notable because it allows private citizens to sue someone who helps a woman obtain an abortion, and an individual who wins an abortion lawsuit can collect $10,000. Seventy percent of Americans in the survey disapproved of having private citizens enforce the law, and 81 percent disapproved of citizens being eligible to collect a $10,000 payment, which critics have called a “bounty.” Overall, the poll found that 54 percent disagreed with the court’s ruling and 39 percent agreed.
Also on Monday, the court announced hearings for Dec. 1 on a separate case over a ban on abortions after 15 weeks in Mississippi, in which the state seeks to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that grants a constitutional right to an abortion.
Some legal experts saw the Texas decision as a signal that the court’s 6-3 conservative majority, with three justices appointed by former President Donald J. Trump, was poised to overturn or substantially weaken Roe.
Six in 10 Americans in the new Monmouth poll wanted the court to leave the Roe decision as it is, with only one in three saying the precedent, dating to 1973, should be revisited.
A ruling in the Mississippi case is expected next year, in the heat of the midterm races for control of Congress. Striking a blow at Roe could outrage and engage Democratic voters, but it also has the potential to rally Republicans.
That much was apparent in the partisan divide over abortion that the new Monmouth survey reaffirmed. Most Democrats, 73 percent, opposed the court’s decision in the Texas case, which effectively banned abortions after a point at which some women are not even aware that they are pregnant. Most Republicans, 62 percent, supported the court.