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A year after Texas implemented what was then the most restrictive abortion law in the nation, a majority of Texas voters are expressing strong support for abortion rights.
In a new survey, six in 10 voters said they support abortion being ‘available in all or most cases’, and many say abortion will be a motivating issue at the polls in November . Meanwhile, 11% say they favor a total ban on abortion.
“We know politicians in Texas and across the country have enacted harmful abortion bans. We know they have been out of step with what Texans want, and now we have the data to prove it,” said Carisa said. Lopez, senior policy director of the Texas Freedom Network, one of several reproductive rights groups that commissioned the poll.
Texas Freedom Network, a progressive nonprofit founded by former Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards, describes its mission as monitoring and fighting the religious right in Texas.
Polling firm PerryUndem polled 2,000 Texas voters in late June, just before the Dobbs decision has been made. The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
The release of the data comes a year after the implementation of SB 8, which relies on civil lawsuits to enforce the ban on most abortions after about six weeks.
Pollster Tresa Undem said she thinks the issue is likely to spur the turnout of abortion-rights supporters in states like Texas in November.
“I think that’s probably why in Texas we’re seeing a shift in the Texas electorate becoming more pro-choice — because there’s been this year of SB 8, and people have made it l experience,” Undem said.
Due to SB 8, Texas had provided an early example of the impact of restrictive abortion laws, months before the United States Supreme Court released its Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization Annulling Roe v. Wade and other abortion rights precedents.
In response to that ruling in late June, the state’s trigger ban — also passed in 2021 in anticipation of Supreme Court action — also went into effect, making abortion completely illegal in Texas except for save a patient’s life in a medical emergency. Doctors say the exception is narrow and subject to interpretation, and some say they are concerned about terminating pregnancies of patients facing medical crises.
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Undem says she sees growing support for abortion rights among several key voting blocs, including women, Latinos and young voters.
Among November’s key races is a gubernatorial game between Democrat Beto O’Rourke, an abortion rights supporter, and incumbent Republican Greg Abbott, who has been a vocal opponent of abortions and signed the SB law 8 last year. Abbott has maintained a consistent lead in several polls.
The survey found that O’Rourke’s supporters ranked access to abortion among the top issues motivating their votes, while Abbott’s supporters ranked other issues as a higher priority, including border security, inflation and the economy.