Half of Republicans say politics drove US abortion pill court ruling - Reuters/Ipsos

By - Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Half of U.S. Republicans think a federal court was motivated by politics when it ordered the suspension of government approval for a widely used abortion pill, a Reuters/Ipsos poll completed on Wednesday found.

Fifty-one percent of self-identified Republicans in the poll said they agreed that the ruling last week - which would essentially make sales of the abortion pill mifepristone illegal - was politically motivated. Only 28% of Republicans disagreed, and the rest said they weren't sure.

A federal appeals court late on Wednesday put the ruling partly on hold, allowing mifepristone to remain available for now but with significant restrictions, while the case proceeds.

Fifty-six percent of overall respondents, including 67% of Democrats, said the decision was politically motivated.

The poll's results point to deepening doubts about the impartiality of the U.S. justice system, and to potential trouble for Republicans in coming elections, including next year's presidential contest.

Many Republicans have campaigned on promises to ban abortion or severely restrict access to it, but a substantial slice of Republican voters support some form of abortion rights.

During his four years in office, Republican former President Donald Trump nominated many federal judges associated with anti-abortion views, including three Supreme Court justices and U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk in Amarillo, Texas, the judge who suspended approval of mifepristone.

The U.S. Supreme Court, which now leans conservative 6-3, last year struck down women's constitutional right to abortion in a landmark case that is widely seen as a key factor in Republicans' underperforming expectations in last year's congressional elections.

Fifty-one percent of Republicans in the poll, and 73% of Democrats, opposed state-level restrictions on access to abortion pills. Forty-three percent of Republicans said they were less likely to vote for a politician who supports limiting access to abortion.

Doubts in the impartiality of the U.S. legal system have simmered in recent years. A Reuters/Ipsos poll last month found about half of Americans, including one-third of Democrats, believe a New York investigation into whether Trump paid hush money to a porn star is politically motivated.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll gathered responses from 995 adults nationwide, including 433 self-described Democrats and 379 Republicans. The poll had a credibility interval, a measure of precision, of about 4-6 percentage points in either direction.

(Reporting by Jason Lange; Editing by Scott Malone and Leslie Adler)

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