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Public Opinion and Constitutional Controversy$
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Nathaniel Persily, Jack Citrin, and Patrick J. Egan

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195329414

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195329414.001.0001

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(p.80) 4 Abortion
Public Opinion and Constitutional Controversy

Samantha Luks

Michael Salamone

Oxford University Press

Although commentators may consider abortion to be the paradigmatic constitutional controversy, the survey data point to a public and constitutional jurisprudence largely in sync with one another. Solid majorities want the Court to uphold Roe v. Wade and are in favor of abortion rights in the abstract. However, equally substantial majorities favor procedural and other restrictions, including waiting periods, parental consent, spousal notification, and bans on “partial-birth” abortion. Since the 1970s, the issue clearly has become more politicized, and differences between partisans have intensified. Overall, African Americans, people who are more religious, people with less education, and married people are more likely to be pro-life, and pro-choice opinions are more common among whites, the better educated, the less religious, and the unmarried.

Keywords:   abortion, Roe v. Wade, public opinion, family planning, parental consent, pro-choice, pro-life

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