About six-in-ten Americans (62%) know that the U.S. Supreme Court’s historic Roe v. Wade decision — issued 40 years ago today — dealt with the issue of abortion. Much smaller percentages incorrectly associate the decision with school desegregation (7%), the death penalty (5%) or environmental protection (5%). One-in-five (20%) say they do not know.

Among those younger than 30, just 44% know that the case was about abortion; 16% say it dealt with school desegregation, and 41% either say it dealt with another issue (the death penalty or the environment), or do not know. Majorities of older age groups know that Roe v. Wade dealt with abortion.

Educational levels also account for differences in knowledge about Roe v. Wade. Fully 91% of those with post-graduate education know it dealt with abortion, as do 79% of college graduates, 63% of those with only some college experience and 47% of those with no more than a high school education.

Identical percentages of women and men (62% each) are aware that Roe dealt with abortion. Nearly seven-in-ten Republicans (68%) answered this question correctly, compared with 63% of independents and 57% of Democrats. Read more