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Expand chart
Data: Gallup; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

The percentage of Americans who think abortions should be legal under any circumstances has ticked up in recent years, but a plurality still say it should only be legal in certain circumstances, according to polling by Gallup.

Driving the news: The Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Monday for two challenges to a new Texas law banning abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected. 58% of Americans oppose such bans, as of earlier this year.

Between the lines: Polls over the years reveal a long-divided country over the issue. Even as a record share of Americans (47%) now see abortion as morally acceptable, there are a variety of views over the strictness or laxity of abortion laws.

  • The share of Americans claiming to be "pro-choice" or "pro-life" has hovered around 50% since the late 1990s.
  • As of earlier this year, 49% labeled themselves pro-choice and 47% pro-life, according to Gallup.

By the numbers: Roughly one in three Americans now say abortion should be legal in any circumstance. Only 19% think it should be completely illegal, but another one in three say it should be legal only in a few circumstances.

  • Other Gallup polling gives some insight into the circumstances under which Americans are most supportive of abortion. As of 2018, a solid majority says abortion should generally be legal during the first trimester of pregnancy.
  • Meanwhile, at least 65% said abortion should generally be illegal in the second and third trimesters.
  • Yet when asked this year if they favor or oppose a ban on abortions after the 18th week of a pregnancy — in the second trimester — more than half of Americans said they opposed the idea.

Go deeper

U.S. bishops pass communion guidelines amid debate on Biden's eligibility

Photo: Vatican Media via Vatican Pool/Getty Images

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on Wednesday overwhelmingly passed a document which clarifies the meaning of communion and who can receive the sacrament, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: The effort to produce the document was partly ignited by questions surrounding President Biden, the first Catholic president since John F. Kennedy, and whether his support for abortion rights should disqualify him from receiving communion.

Updated 14 hours ago - Sports

The potential GOAT of chess faces intriguing challenger

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The World Chess Championship between Norway's Magnus Carlsen and Russia's Ian Nepomniachtchi began on Friday, 1,094 days after Carlsen won his fourth consecutive title.

Why it matters: During the long, COVID-fueled layoff, chess entered a new era, and with the championship finally here, the age-old game is ready for its close-up.

Department of Interior proposes raising cost of drilling on public lands

A horizontal drilling rig and a pump jack sit on federal land in Lea County, New Mexico. Photo: Callaghan O'Hare/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Oil and gas companies should pay more to drill on federal lands and waters, the Department of the Interior argued in a report released Friday, saying that the current rates were "outdated."

Driving the news: The Department of Interior report said that the federal government's oil and gas leasing and permitting program "fails to provide a fair return to taxpayers, even before factoring in the resulting climate-related costs that must be borne by taxpayers."