Abortion in Texas: Procedure should be allowed in cases of rape and incest, say nearly 90% of voters in UT poll

Most registered voters in Texas oppose a comprehensive abortion ban, but are split on how available abortion should be, according to a june poll conducted by the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin.

The video above is from a previous report.

State abortion clinics stopped offering abortions almost immediately after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Roe v. right more at odds with public opinion. The poll was conducted from June 16 to June 24, the day Roe v. Wade was canceled.

A February poll found that only about a quarter of those polled wanted abortion laws to become stricter. Texas banned abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy in fall 2021.

Under current Texas law, abortion is prohibited even in cases of rape or incest. But polls show Texans overwhelmingly support the rape and incest exceptions — just 13% and 11%, respectively, said pregnant women shouldn’t be able to get abortions in those cases.

Renée Cross, senior director of the University of Houston’s Hobby School of Public Affairs, is not involved with the Texas Politics Project but has also conducted polls on abortion policy.

“The most useful polling questions are those that attempt to go into nuance, rather than supporting or opposing that single option,” she said.

To that end, the latest Texas Politics Project poll asked registered voters to consider how far into pregnancy a person should be allowed to have an abortion taking into account different circumstances, including when the health of the no one was in danger, the pregnancy was the result of rape, or the family could no longer afford to have children. This is the first time that pollsters have asked respondents these questions.

While most Texans support exceptions for rape and incest, some still want to see limitations based on how far along a person is in their pregnancy. Nearly a quarter of respondents want abortions in cases of rape or incest to be limited to the first six weeks of pregnancy, a stage at which many people do not know they are pregnant. Last September, 10 months before the cancellation of Roe v. Wade, Texas has banned abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy, with no exceptions for cases of rape or incest.

Respondents supported more restrictions when asked about abortion in cases where the family has low income, or the pregnant person does not want to marry or is married and does not want any more children. More than 30% of voters said abortion should not be allowed in these cases.

These numbers are mostly consistent over time. The Texas Politics Project began polling registered voters on abortion availability in 2009. A historical look shows that voters’ views on abortion haven’t changed much in more than a decade.

In the latest June poll, 15% of voters said abortions should never be allowed, while about 78% of voters said they should be available in at least some situations.

In particular, 26% of respondents said that abortions should only be allowed in cases of rape or incest or if the life of the pregnant person is in danger. Another 14% of respondents said it should be allowed in these and other cases. Joshua Blank, research director for the project, said “other cases” can include reasons such as the pregnant person has a low income or doesn’t want any more children. Another 38% said a pregnant person should always be able to get an abortion.

Jim Henson, director of the project, said that in the years the poll was conducted, people didn’t have much reason to change their views on abortion.

“Abortion has been a sufficiently present issue that I think most people who have an attitude towards abortion have given enough thought to it to be quite fixated on their attitude,” he said. .

Blank notes that these attitudes were all developed under Roe v. Wade. Now that he’s been overthrown, people will be forced to ask new questions about their exact position on the issue of abortion.

“All of this within the framework of Roe v. Wade, which allowed people to develop attitudes,” he said. “The fact that there were clear guardrails around what was and wasn’t allowed in terms of restrictions helped reinforce the rigidity of people’s attitudes, because there was a safety net in both meaning on what the courts would likely accept.”

Given that views on abortion have generally not changed and abortion laws have become more restrictive over time, it makes sense that Texans increasingly want less abortion laws. strict, Henson said.

A month before a law banning abortion after 20 weeks was passed in July 2013, the polling project found that 26% of voters wanted more permissive abortion laws. By February 2022, a few months after Texas banned abortions after around six weeks of pregnancy, the number had risen to 43%.

The Hobby School of Public Affairs has also recently interviewed Registered Voters in Texas on Abortion Availability and Policy. Cross said the polls focused on laws proposed after the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned Roe v. Wade.

“So rather than focusing primarily on ‘do you support abortion rights’, we took it a step further by saying ‘it’s the law of the land now, so now what are you supporting’.

The Hobby School poll asked voters to rate potential policies such as whether abortion should be considered homicide and whether it should be legal for Texans to take abortion pills obtained outside the state. ‘State. About 60% of those polled oppose both the classification of abortion as homicide and the criminalization of taking abortion pills from out of state. About 30% support these classifications, while about 10% said they don’t know.

Blank says he expects politics to play a big role in attitudes toward abortion laws.

“To the extent that both sides seek to mobilize evocative individual stories that promote their political goals, people will hear a lot more about them,” he said.

While the Democrats hopes to mobilize voters for more permissive abortion laws, Blank foresees a chance for Republicans to rally for more restrictions as well.

“As more organizations spring up trying to circumvent Texas laws, this will give conservative lawmakers the ammunition to go to their constituents and say, ‘See, we need to do more.’ I think you could see an uptick in both,” he said.

The new abortion laws will affect not only registered voters, who make up the samples in the Texas Politics Project and Hobby School polls, but also people who are not registered to vote, including undocumented immigrants.

“I would certainly say for undocumented residents that (the new laws) would make it more difficult simply because they won’t have the same access to any kind of government support, whether it’s baby items free or publicly funded prenatal care,” Cross said. .

The new laws will also affect children.

“We already have Heard from the 10-year-old girl in Ohio who had to travel to Indiana to get an abortion,” Blank said. (After this incident, Indiana past a near-total ban on abortion.) “If (Republicans) don’t think 10-year-olds are being raped and having abortions, they’re about to find out there’s a lot more of them than they don’t think so.”

The Texas Grandstand is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that educates — and engages with — Texans about public policy, politics, government, and statewide issues.

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