Nearly nine in 10 readers who took part in a Rochester Beacon survey on Monday think the U.S. Supreme Court was wrong to overturn Roe v. Wade. When asked about the decision, announced Friday, 88 percent said they disapproved.
The ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization eliminated the constitutional right to obtain an abortion, which the Roe decision established nearly a half-century ago. Now, abortion law will be a matter left to the states—and more than half could severely restrict or ban abortion, according to analysis by the Guttmacher Institute and others.
In New York, abortion rights are protected by the 2019 Reproductive Health Act, which decriminalized abortion and expanded who can perform the procedure.
Monday’s survey of Beacon readers closely parallels the results of a reader poll conducted in May, after a draft of the majority opinion in Dobbs was leaked. In that poll, 85 percent of respondents said they supported Roe, versus 13 percent who wanted it struck down.
A majority of readers in the May survey said abortion should be legal in all cases only in the first trimester. Roughly 72 percent said abortion should be legal in the second trimester, but a plurality (41 percent) said only “some of the time.” Seventy-six percent said abortion should be illegal in most or all cases in the third trimester.
In the survey conducted Monday, 98 percent of women responding opposed the decision overturning Roe, compared with nearly 79 percent of men. Views also varied by political affiliation. A slight majority of Republicans—53 percent disapproved of the ruling—versus 100 percent of Democrats, 90 percent of those affiliated with another political party, and 78 percent of independents.
National polls conducted after Friday’s release of the Supreme Court ruling show a majority of Americans oppose the court’s decision. In a CBS News/YouGov poll, for example, 59 percent of all survey participants—and 67 percent of female respondents—disapproved of it.
Battles over abortion now will be waged in many states—and possibly on Capitol Hill. Pro-choice advocates want to codify the right to an abortion as established by Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the 1992 case that affirmed the right to an abortion until a fetus is viable, meaning it can survive outside the mother’s womb. Meanwhile, some abortion opponents seek a law banning the procedure nationwide.
When asked for their views on federal legislation, 85 percent of those taking part in the Beacon reader survey said the right to an abortion, as it existed before Friday’s Supreme Court decision, should be codified in federal law. By contrast, only 3 percent want a federal law prohibiting abortion nationwide.
Among women who participated in the survey, 95 percent said abortion rights should be codified in federal law and 100 percent opposed a federal law prohibiting abortion nationwide; by comparison, 76 percent of male respondents backed codifying abortion rights in federal law, while 96 percent opposed a federal prohibition.
As they were in their reaction to the Supreme Court decision, Republican survey participants were closely divided on whether abortion rights should be codified, with 48 percent responding yes. A federal prohibition was backed by 13 percent of Republican respondents. Among Democrats, 100 percent opposed a federal prohibition and 97 percent want a federal law that restores abortion rights as existed before Friday’s Supreme Court decision.
Monday’s survey drew 350 participants, compared with nearly 260 readers who took part in the survey conducted May 11.
Respondents also were asked to share their thoughts on abortion and the law. The following are the complete signed written responses of survey participants. Many additional unsigned responses were submitted. As a matter of policy, the Beacon does not post unsigned comments.
This is a major setback for our country, and I believe it will have a ripple effect of varying negative consequences. I’m truly disappointed, and stunned really, still trying to come to terms with this new reality. I don’t know anyone who is pleased with this outcome.
—Cheryl A. Krall
Whether harsh penalties are arbitrarily imposed or not, women and doctors should not live in fear.
Women are not second class citizens with their health care determined by cis men. Besides the known increase in maternal death, increase in poverty, blatant racism, and likelihood of a new era of mass incarceration—never have those who are pro-life elected representatives who INCREASE support for maternal health, mental health, child-care, and other basic needs to keep families out of poverty … they work to reduce these essentials crucial to the raising of healthy successful children. How can one proclaim to be pro life and celebrate the end of Roe v Wade and in the same breath celebrate anything that expands the Second Amendment, allowing greater carnage in most any venue we once celebrated as a part of a vibrant community?
—Paul D. Minor
The Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade is a frontal assault on the rights of women to have control over their own bodies.
—Stephen L Gaudioso
I am horrified at the turn our country is taking towards injustice, towards diminishing rights for women and others, in an effort to turn back the clock and allow white, (mostly) Christian men’s views to dominate our country’s policies and practices. This is not what our country was meant to be, but if it was meant to be this way it was perverted and done out of ignorance. How interesting that individual rights were touted regarding the Supreme Court decision on guns, yet ignored regarding abortion. And preservation of life was touted in the decision on abortion, yet ignored regarding guns. This is absolutely horrifying to me, and yet my compassionate mind tries to understand it as terrified, mostly white people attempting to retain/create a world that somehow makes them feel safer even when it isn’t really safer. I seek to understand and feel compassion for their perspective, yet work for the change that must come if we are to be a just and compassionate society.
Don’t let this drive you to despair. Let it galvanize you to action. Take care of yourself, make sure you have friends to support you, and do what you can. I care about you.
The Republicans are rubbing their hands together with glee, as their efforts over four decades have continued to pay off. Meanwhile, the Democrats have leapt into action, immediately circling the wagons after a month of ignoring the leak completely. They’re working hard now, they have sent no less than millions upon millions of urgent emails asking for money. If before it was not plain to see, now it must be: no one in government is going to protect your rights. That’s not their job. The cops too—all of the above serve and protect capital, and capital wants you having children against your will. It is up to us to organize, agitate, and educate. And remember, kids: in a capitalist society, interruptions to commerce is what they hear loudest and fear most.
The overturning of Roe vs. Wade is part of an ongoing effort to reduce and limit the rights of women. The GOP and those on the SCOTUS who purport to value babies and children are in fact the same people who fight against assistance to families, federally-funded lunches for school children and assistance for daycare, so that working mothers can be assured of their child/children being safe. Roe vs. Wade being overturned is a warning that the GOP political party wants control of women, People of Color and those who are poor—do not be fooled.
—Mary E. Wambach
Taking something away from citizens that they have had the right to for 50 years will cause a much more extreme backlash than not giving something to people they never had in the first place. There are two glaring issues: the minority in this country is making crucial decisions for a significant majority, and SCOTUS is imposing a specific religious ideology when there must be a hard line between church and state. Moreover, this decision will adversely impact predominantly poor people of color in rural America’s poorest states. It cannot be allowed to stand. The entire spectrum of citizens who find this ruling the start down a slippery slope must vote in November to unseat as many Republicans as possible.
—Franklin H. Orienter
Abortions should be free, on demand, and without apology.
A woman’s right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness should override abortion prohibitions. The decision to abort is deeply personal and enormously complex. Exemptions for medical, psychological, and economic factors must be included in the decision.
This decision shows what we have always known: this country does not care if women die. And they will die. Poor women, Black women, Disabled women, women who suffer abuse at the hands of their partners will die as a result of this decision by 6 unelected people. Women in this country are not free.
The Supreme Court has taken away our rights for independence. The subjugation of women’s health in our society is unconscionable.
It makes people of color wonder if rights such as voting will be impacted eventually.
The decision to have an abortion should be left to the woman to decide. It is cruel to deny the child a home where he/she is not loved and wanted. It is cruel to purposely impose the psychological and financial burden of motherhood on a woman who does not want a child. This is how you have people in society who run around doing harm to others.
I believe that individuals should be able to make their own choices about their own bodies—with both before life and end of life issues.
Although I responded to the “in or out” choices of the survey questions, I wish a third option was presented. I’m weary of the polarized divisiveness in our country.
It is a woman’s human (not just Constitutional) right to control the use of her body. In addition, there are life-threatening medical, social and emotional situations requiring that the option of abortion be available. The current (and historic) politicization of the issue of abortion ignores the fact that the need for termination of an unwanted pregnancy can also be the symptom (and result) of specific economic, social and political inequalities in a woman’s situation. It is essential that Americans and their leaders focus a National effort on long-term measures for alleviating these inequalities, rather than imposing draconian legal measures for eliminating abortion, when the need for it is actually a symptom of the pervasive inequalities in our American Society. Thanks for asking.
—Lee M. Loomis
First, I believe in life. I was adopted and wouldn’t be alive if my mother had chosen to have an abortion. I personally would not have an abortion. However, no governmental agency nor religious group has the right to determine a woman’s right to have an abortion. We do not live under the rule of a dictatorship. It is the sole right of the woman, (or) in some cases, for health purposes, a legal guardian or a person with signed consent to make the decision. There are many unfortunate circumstances for which a woman may choose or need to have an abortion. Our government and religious groups need to stay out of a woman’s right to make personal decisions and stop making women feel guilty for their decisions.
The five justices formulating this decision are beholding to a radical ideology funded by ultraconservative money and religious sects. This decision was not about abortion, it was about power and control. Roe should have been left as is.
This ruling is a continuation of an extremist court that has overruled decades long precedents on worker rights (Janus, Cedar Point v. Farmworkers, and OHSA right to a safe workplace), gutting Voting Rights, legitimizing Gerrymandering, and refusing to apply the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause to Gay Marriage, and Women’s Rights, to name just a few. They have elevated religious rights over all other rights, including the establishment clause (Blaine Amendments) to mandate tax dollars to religious institutions. They have reversed 200 years of precedent on gun regulation in Heller, see Burger and Stevens, and this Court began as Judges or advocates for stealing an election in Bush v. Gore. Since they can overrule any legislation, the carnage to democracy will continue until the Supreme Court is reformed and expanded.
—James V. Bertolone
I think the wording of these questions is slanted to the left.
The reversal of Roe v. Wade will have a dramatic and far-reaching economic and social impact on American society. It will limit opportunities for women, reduce the available workforce for businesses, and negatively affect family life.
Forced choice surveys don’t leave room for nuance. Bottom line: Abortion is a medical decision that does not require legislation. Control of a woman’s medical needs is hers alone.
Women have become second class citizens once again. This is just the beginning of a continuous struggle for determining one’s pursuit of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Abortions will not stop happening. We will now go back to people with uteruses dying or permanently damaged because abortion is now illegal and medically unsafe in some states. I am fearful for the future because many poor White and BIPOC women will be affected by this ruling. Let’s face it, middle to high income biological women will probably have the financial resources to travel to a state where abortion is still safe and legal.
I find it hard to have the government inside the home, dealing with intimacy.
—David J. Whitlock
Not only is this decision an assault on bodily autonomy of women/pregnant people, but it is an assault on the religious freedom of American Jews. SCOTUS crossed two bright and shining lines with one unscrupulous and religio-politically motivated decision.
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