GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — The Supreme Court overturned the landmark abortion decision Roe v. Wade, and a recent poll says most North Carolinians did not want this to happen.

According to a WGHP/The Hill/Emerson College Poll released in May, nearly half the respondents (46%) said that Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that allows women to have access to legal abortions, should not be overturned. There were 36% who said the court should overturn that ruling and 18% said they were unsure or had no opinion.

But nearly 9 in 10, when asked about their views on access to abortion, said they believed that there should be access, with most choosing to have some restrictions over a total ban should the court change its position.

A crowd gathers outside the Supreme Court in Washington on May 2 after a draft opinion circulated among Supreme Court justices, suggesting they would overturn the 1973 case Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion, was reported by Politico. It’s unclear if the draft represents the court’s final word on the matter. (AP Photo/Anna Johnson)

A political issue

In May, Politico reported the leak of a draft opinion written by Associate Justice Samuel Alito, circulated among the nine justices in February, that foreshadowed the Supreme Court's thoughts on overturning Roe v. Wade and the later ruling in Planned Parenthood v. Casey that had upheld the law.

That leak made abortion rights a more significant issue in the midterm elections, and 51% of respondents to the poll said it made them more likely to vote, and only 6% said it made them less likely. The remaining 43% said the ruling would make no difference.

Among those voters, slightly more women (47.5%) than men (44.5%) support upholding Roe v. Wade, but more men think the law should be overturned (37.7% to 33.6%).

The poll found that among those who said a court ruling would make them more likely to vote, 53% said they would support presumptive Democratic nominee Cheri Beasley in a U.S. Senate race against Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance), who has taken a commanding lead in polling on the GOP nomination. The poll found that among undecided voters in a Beasley-Budd matchup, 40% think Roe v. Wade should be upheld, 36% say it should be overturned, and 35% are unsure.

What should North Carolina do?

Some expect the North Carolina General Assembly to take up restrictions if Republicans can get a supermajority in the House and Senate this fall or win the governor’s mansion in 2024.

But voters who responded in the poll were split on whether they think lawmakers should act. A bare plurality, 38%, said lawmakers should make it easier to access abortion, but 36% said they should make it more difficult. And nearly 3 in 10 (27%) said the legislature shouldn’t even get involved.

Respondents were asked a series of questions about their views on possible restrictions on abortion, similar to those adopted in other states, and nearly 9 in 10 said abortion should be available in at least some cases, with 28% saying it should be available in all cases.

The majority of respondents, though, were split on various restrictions, with 32% saying there should be access only for certain cases – such as rape or incest – 19% saying abortion should be legal up to 20 weeks of pregnancy and 8% saying it should be legal up to 6 weeks of pregnancy.

Only 13% said abortion should be illegal in all cases.

A Washington Post-ABC News poll found that 54% of Americans think Roe v. Wade should be upheld, and 28% believe it should be overturned. That poll also found that 57% oppose their state making abortions legal only in the first 15 weeks of pregnancy, and 58% oppose limiting abortion to the first six weeks of pregnancy.

Emerson College conducted the poll among 1,000 registered voters by telephone and online surveys, and the responses were weighted by various demographics based on 2022 turnout modeling. The poll has a Credibility Interval – which is similar to a margin of error – of +/- 4.5 percentage points.