A majority of Texans oppose the legislation currently being considered by the legislature that imposes restrictions on abortion and 80 percent do not want abortion to be raised during the special session of the legislature called at the end of May by Governor Rick Perry.

Of registered voters, 63 percent say the state has enough restrictions on abortion and 71 percent thinking that the Governor and legislature should be more focused on the economy and jobs. A majority opposes the sort of legislation passed by the state Senate and being considered by the state House during this legislative Special Session, believing that it imposes further restrictions on abortion. Overall, only 34 percent trust the Governor and the legislature to make decisions about women's healthcare.

The following memo is based on a statewide survey of 601 registered voters in Texas, conducted June 17 – 19, 2013. These data are subject to a margin of error of +/- 4.0 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level. The survey is representative of the Texas electorate. Among those surveyed, 49 percent self-identify as Republicans and 37 percent identify as Democrats; ideologically, 46 percent say they are conservative, 33 percent identify as moderates, and 15 percent are liberal.

Major findings include:

  • Nearly three quarters of voters (74 percent) in the state say personal, private medical decisions about whether to have an abortion should be made by a woman, her family, and her doctor, not by politicians; just 19 percent of voters think government has a right and an obligation to pass restrictions on abortion. Support for a woman's ability to make decisions on abortion for herself is both broad and deep, including among Independents (76 percent) and Republicans (61 percent).
  • Fifty-two percent of Texas voters think that abortion should be legal in all or most cases, compared to 39 percent who say it should be illegal in all or most cases. Even among those who think abortion should be illegal, a majority (51 percent) believe that personal, private medical decisions about whether to have an abortion should be made by a woman, her family, and her doctor, not by politicians.
  • Eight in ten voters agree that the special session should be focused on issues like "education, jobs, and economy instead of bringing up social issues like abortion"; 71 percent think that the Governor and the legislature should spend less time passing laws restricting abortion. Again, both Independent and Republican voters share this view.
  • Overall, a majority (51 percent) oppose the current legislation in the legislature, which "would place new restrictions and regulation on abortion providers that would likely result in the closure of all but five abortion clinics in the state of Texas, all of which are located along the I-35 corridor and would ban most abortions at 20 weeks of pregnancy."
  • While voters are split on whether or not women's access to healthcare is being threatened in the state (43 percent each threatened and not threatened), 57 percent do not trust the Governor or the legislature to make decisions about women's healthcare.

In sum, this legislation is not a reflection of any voter sentiment that this is an important issue for the Governor and legislature to take up or any desire for further restrictions on abortion. Indeed, a majority opposes this legislation, being devised by politicians they do not particularly trust on women's health issues.

The frequency questionnaire is here. (pdf)

Memo (Word doc)