56% of Millennials Have No Idea What Roe v. Wade Was About

They think the landmark abortion decision dealt with desegregation, the death penalty, or the environment instead.

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Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion, came down 40 years ago next week. But will anyone under the age of thirty remember what it's about? According to a recent Pew poll, only 44% of Millenials — roughly defined here as people who were born some time after 1983 — are aware that Roe v. Wade pertained to abortion. The rest had no idea:

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.

Here's a chart to map the difference between the polled age groups:

The Pew Forum also found a striking divide on the question of whether abortion is a "critical" issue today:

Those who would like to see Roe v. Wade overturned are particularly inclined to view abortion as a critical issue facing the country. Nearly four-in-ten (38%) of those who support overturning the abortion ruling say abortion is a critical issue, compared with just 9% of those who oppose overturning Roe v. Wade.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.