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5 takeaways from PRRI's 2021 American Values Survey

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U.S. Supreme Court is seen in Washington, U.S., November 27, 2017. |

3. Most Americans support legal abortion, Supreme Court receives mixed reviews

While most Americans overall think abortion should be legal in most or all cases (60%), beliefs about abortion differ considerably based on partisan and religious affiliation. Similarly, 63% of Americans believe that the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide was the right decision and should be upheld. 

Support for Roe v. Wade is highest among the religiously unaffiliated (82%), Democrats (81%), non-Christians (74%), white mainline Protestants (71%), black Protestants (67%), independents (66%) and white Catholics (54%). Majorities of the religiously unaffiliated (84%), Democrats (83%), non-Christians (74%), black Protestants (69%), white mainline Protestants (66%), independents (62%), white Catholics (56%) and Hispanic Catholics (54%) think abortion should be legal in all or most cases. 

The groups least likely to view Roe v. Wade as the right decision are white evangelical Protestants (30%), Hispanic Protestants (40%) and Republicans (41%). Those groups are also the least likely to believe that abortion should be legal in all or most cases, with 24% of white evangelical Protestants, 30% of Hispanic Protestants and 33% of Republicans holding that view. 

The questions about Americans’ views on abortion come as the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments in a case surrounding Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban. A decision in favor of Mississippi, which seeks to uphold the ban, would significantly weaken the precedent set by Roe v. Wade

Americans’ trust in the Supreme Court, which consists of six justices appointed by Republican presidents and three justices appointed by Democratic presidents, differs based on party affiliation. A majority of Republicans (54%) trust the Supreme Court, while smaller shares of independents (49%) and Democrats (43%) expressed confidence in the court. 

Differing views of the Supreme Court also manifest based on religious affiliation. Majorities of Hispanic Catholics (60%), non-Christians (55%), white Catholics (53%) and white evangelicals (51%) trust the court. In comparison, confidence in the justices is less prominent in other Christians (40%), black Protestants (39%) and religiously unaffiliated Americans (34%).

Republicans (36%) and Democrats (37%) are more likely to view abortion as a critical issue facing the U.S. than their independent counterparts (24%). Thirty-eight percent of Democrats see the appointment of U.S. Supreme Court justices as a vital issue while 27% of independents and 24% of Republicans say the same.

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: ryan.foley@christianpost.com

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