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Blog Post · October 7, 2021

Where Do Californians Stand on Abortion?

photo - Supreme Court of the United States

As the Supreme Court begins a new term, the justices are poised to rule on a variety of contentious issues, including a case that challenges Mississippi’s law banning abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Their ruling is likely to be the most consequential decision on abortion rights in 30 years. If the decision is in favor of Mississippi’s law, it may ultimately set the groundwork for overturning Roe v. Wade. So how do Californians feel about the issue?

According to the July PPIC Statewide Survey, a record-high share of adults (77%) and likely voters (79%) do not want Roe v. Wade overturned, while one in five Californians do. Strong majorities have consistently opposed overturning the law since we first asked this question in 2005. Today, majorities across regions, demographic, and partisan groups—including 59% of Republicans—do not want Roe v. Wade overturned.

While the Supreme Court’s decision will affect federal policy, it will also uphold or invalidate many existing state-level abortion laws. As the country awaits a ruling, Texas has recently enacted new state legislation—Senate Bill 8—which prohibits abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected (roughly six weeks into a pregnancy). The Supreme Court has declined to block the measure from being implemented.

While the PPIC July survey was conducted prior to news of this controversial Texas law taking effect, we asked Californians if they are more concerned about states making it too difficult or too easy to get an abortion. A solid majority of adults (61%) and likely voters (68%) say that their greater concern is that some states are making it too difficult to get an abortion. The shares with this view has increased from September 2019 (54% all adults, 61% likely voters) when we last asked this question. Broad majorities of Californians across regions, demographic, and partisan groups—with the exception of Republicans, Latinos, and those with only a high school education—believe states are making it too difficult to get an abortion.

Californians are overwhelmingly against the repeal of Roe v. Wade and the upcoming Supreme Court ruling could potentially send the abortion issue back to state legislatures for adjudication. PPIC will continue to monitor developments on this important topic as the court nears a decision.


abortion Political Landscape Statewide Survey Supreme Court