Abortion is not nearly as popular as Democrats seem to think it is.
A new Harvard-Harris Poll found that although a majority of the public opposes overturning Roe v. Wade, that same majority supports restricting abortion significantly. In fact, 56% of respondents said they would support restricting abortions after 15 weeks, which is exactly what Mississippi’s "heartbeat" bill, the legislation at the center of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, aims to do.
Democrats, however, have become so radicalized on the issue of abortion that they’ve convinced themselves most people not only support Roe, but support expanding abortion access to an extreme degree as well. Just a couple of months ago, House Democrats introduced a bill that would codify Roe and prevent the states from regulating the procedure entirely. And last year, New York passed a law extending the time period in which women can get abortions to well into the second trimester.
But again, neither of these policies reflect public opinion on the subject. The Harvard-Harris Poll shows that if voters were able to decide abortion policy directly, laws such as New York’s would not be allowed to stand. Voters don’t want abortion on demand, they want the “safe, legal, and rare” standard of days past.
This raises an important question: If the Supreme Court really does overturn Roe in its Dobbs decision next year, will there be a massive voter backlash the likes of which Democrats are predicting? I’m willing to bet "no." For years now, poll after poll after poll has shown voters support restricting abortion, which is exactly what overturning Roe would allow the states to do.
Of course, public opinion could change a lot between now and the 2022 midterm elections, especially if something as monumental as Roe being overturned happens. But right now, at least, abortion doesn't seem to be the silver bullet Democrats want it to be.