Poll: most don’t trust Supreme Court to decide reproductive health cases

Most respondents in a new poll said they don’t trust the Supreme Court to decide cases related to reproductive and sexual health. 

Only 37 percent of all adults said they trust the court “a lot” or “somewhat” to make the right decision on reproductive and sexual health, according to the poll released Friday by KFF.

The results come amid an ongoing lawsuit that seeks to undo federal approval of the common medication abortion pill mifepristone, and almost a year after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. 

The poll found confusion and concern about abortion is widespread.

According to the survey, awareness of mifepristone has doubled since January 2023, but about half of women under age 50 said they are unsure whether medication abortion is available if their state limits or bans the procedure.

The views of mifepristone’s safety were also colored by politics. Nearly three quarters of Democrats surveyed said medication abortion is safe, and nearly 60 percent of independents. But less than half of Republicans said the same.

The drug was first approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2000. It has been used by more than 5 million people in the United States since, and accounts for more than half of all abortions in the country. 

Additionally, 60 percent of respondents thought it would be inappropriate for a court to overturn the FDA’s approval of a medication, including 73 percent of  Democrats and 57 percent of independents.

Republicans were divided, with half saying it would be appropriate and half saying it would be inappropriate.

The lack of confidence in the Supreme Court from women under 50 spanned political parties; 56 percent of Republican women in that age group and 81 percent of Democrats said that they trust the court “not too much” or “not at all” to make decisions about reproductive and sexual health.

The issue of abortion broadly remains a key issue for voters ahead of the 2024 election, especially among women and Democrats.

The poll found 36 percent of women voters and 46 percent of Democrats said they would only vote for a candidate who shares their view on the issue. Only about 20 percent of Republicans said the same. 

When asked which party best represents their views of abortion, 42 percent of people said the Democratic Party, while only 26 percent said the Republican Party. About a third of respondents said neither party represents their views. 

Among voters who identify as independent, more of them said Democrats best represent their views on abortion than Republicans, though half said neither party represents their views.

The survey was conducted from May 9-19, among a sample of 1,674 U.S. adults. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points for the full sample and 4 percentage points for women 18-49.