- 63% favor having the pill available in the U.S. with a prescription
- Support higher than in 2000, when the issue was last in public focus
- 41% of Republicans vs. 86% of Democrats favor protecting access
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- More than six in 10 Americans favor keeping the abortion pill mifepristone available in the U.S. as a prescription drug, while over a third are opposed. These latest figures come from Gallup’s annual Values and Beliefs survey conducted May 1-24.
In late 2000, after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the use of the pill, 50% of Americans supported the decision and 44% were opposed. Earlier that year, Gallup found more Americans opposed (47%) than in favor (39%) of making the drug available by prescription.
A federal judge in Texas recently reversed the FDA’s 2000 approval. The decision was appealed, and the U.S. Supreme Court allowed the pill to remain available in the U.S. pending the legal appeals.
Support for making mifepristone available coincides with elevated support for women’s access to reproductive health choices since the overturn of the landmark Roe v. Wade abortion decision. These data also coincide with Americans identifying as pro-choice at a historically elevated rate, likely a reaction to the Dobbs decision and coinciding with a period when the abortion issue is back at the center of U.S. politics in a way it hasn’t been for decades.
The 63% in favor of having mifepristone available via prescription is similar to the level of support in favor of legal abortions in the first trimester, as well as opposition to bans on abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected.
Views of Demographic Subgroups on Mifepristone
It’s no surprise that partisan views differ on access to mifepristone, with less than half of Republicans supporting prescription access to it versus the majority of independents (63%) and most Democrats (86%).
While partisan differences are stark, differences by gender are less dramatic. Women and men are about equally likely to support access to mifepristone. Support for access also varies little by age, as younger Americans are only slightly more likely than older Americans to favor making the drug available.
Earlier this year, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals called for the FDA to pull its approval of mifepristone, reviving public attention to the drug in a big way 23 years after the FDA approved it. The Supreme Court later froze that decision to protect access to the drug as the appeals process plays out. But one thing is certain -- Americans think mifepristone should continue to be available by prescription, a position consistent with their general belief that first-trimester abortions should be legal.
This is likely not the last time “settled” law on abortion will be revisited. One of the longer-term impacts of the Dobbs decision will be the continual legal testing of various rights and abortion-related services formerly protected under Roe.
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