Medication Abortions and the U.S. Supreme Court

NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist National Poll

Nearly Two in Three Oppose Banning Abortion Pill… Many Believe in FDA’s Final Approval of Prescription Drugs

With the U.S. Supreme Court weighing in on access to mifepristone, a prescription drug used to perform medication abortions, nearly two in three Americans say they oppose laws which ban access to medication abortions, and many believe federal judges should not have the right to overturn the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval of a prescription drug. The Supreme Court’s decision comes at a time when Americans’ confidence in the Court is at a low, and nearly seven in ten residents nationally say justices appointed to the Supreme Court should have limits placed on their tenure on the Bench. These findings are part of a larger survey on the issue of abortion which will be released on Wednesday, April 26, 2023.

Banning Medication Abortions
A medication abortion is the use of a prescription pill or a series of pills taken to end a pregnancy. Do you support or oppose a law that bans access to a medication abortion?
Source: Marist Poll National Adults. Interviews conducted April 17th through April 19th, 2023, n=1,291 MOE +/- 3.4 percentage points. Totals may not add to 100% due to rounding.
  • Nearly two in three Americans (64%) oppose a law which bans access to a medication abortion, that is, the use of a prescription pill or series of pills to end a pregnancy. Nearly three in four Democrats (73%) and majorities of independents (57%) and Republicans (55%) oppose such laws.

  • 61% of Americans do not think federal judges should be able to overturn the FDA’s approval of a prescription drug. 36% believe these judges should be allowed to reverse the administration’s approval. 75% of Democrats, 62% of independents, and 45% of Republicans think the FDA should be the final arbiter. A majority of Republicans (51%), however, say federal judges should be permitted to overturn FDA approval of a prescription drug.

  • Only 37% of Americans report a great deal (15%) or a quite a lot (22%) of confidence in the U.S. Supreme Court. This is down from 39% in June 2022 and marks the lowest degree of confidence Americans have in the Court since the NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll first asked this question in 2018. At that time, 59% of Americans had a great deal or good amount of confidence in the U.S Supreme Court. More than six in ten Americans (62%) say they have not very much (39%) or no confidence at all (23%) in the United States Supreme Court.

  • Nearly seven in ten Americans (68%) think U.S. Supreme Court justices should only serve on the Court for a limited time. Three in ten (30%), though, believe the justices should continue to receive lifetime appointments. Regardless of party, majorities of Democrats (78%), independents (66%), and Republicans (57%) think term limits should be placed on Supreme Court justices.

“The Supreme Court’s decision on medication abortion comes at a critical time for the Court as an institution,” says Lee M. Miringoff, Director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion. “With Americans’ confidence in the Court on a decline, the Court’s decision will likely fuel the flames of debate and not squelch them.”