A previously unreleased poll shows that a majority of Alabamians do not support the kind of extreme abortion ban passed by their state legislature this week, AL.com reports, revealing that Alabama lawmakers seem to be out of step even with their own highly conservative electorate.
According to the 2018 statewide poll, conducted by Anzalone Liszt Grove Research on behalf of Planned Parenthood, only 31 percent of Alabamians were in favor of an abortion ban that lacks a rape/incest exception. As Vox’s Anna North reported, the ban signed into law by Alabama’s Gov. Kay Ivey on Wednesday does not have an exception for rape or incest.
A minority of respondents said they believe in bans that go further than Alabama’s current law; 15 percent responded that abortion should be illegal in all cases, including in cases in which a pregnancy would threaten the pregnant woman’s life. Slightly more — 16 percent — said abortion should be banned in all cases, except for when a pregnant woman’s life is in danger.
Overall, however, the numbers reveal that while a majority of Alabamians do oppose abortion, most believe in a rape or incest exception at the very least (as do most Americans, as Vox’s Anna North explains). The plurality of respondents (29 percent) said abortion should be legal only in cases of rape, incest, or if the life of the woman is in danger; 20 percent said abortion should be legal in most cases, and 16 percent said that abortion should be legal in all cases.
In other words, the poll found 65 percent of Alabamians think rape and incest victims should have access to abortion.
Even among the most conservative Alabama subgroups, outlawing abortion without an exception for rape and incest has only minority support: Among Republicans, 41 percent of people said there should be no rape or incest exception; 39 percent of Ivey voters and 40 percent of evangelicals said the same.
The data, which was originally collected ahead of Alabama’s Amendment 2 vote (on abortion funding and whether the state constitution conferred the right to an abortion) was sent out to “interested parties” in a memo on Wednesday, although it’s not clear why it wasn’t revealed previously.
As Vox’s Jane Coaston reported, many anti-abortion conservatives think Alabama’s abortion law goes too far, and that it may actually damage their cause:
To be clear, most Republicans oppose legal abortion, though the majority support limitations on abortion that would still permit the procedure in the case of rape or incest. So those expressing alarm about the Alabama bill are doing so because they think the legislation might ultimately prove counterproductive to their cause. Counterproductive because there’s a good chance the law won’t get before the Supreme Court, and because the unpopularity of the law nationally could put anti-abortion advocates on the defensive after, in their view, a decade of wins.
Abortion is still very unpopular in Alabama — and in America
While Alabamians may disapprove of the severity of the new abortion ban, it’s clear many still disapprove of abortion in general, as both the survey and the Amendment 2 results show 60 percent think access to abortion should be, at most, limited.
They’re not alone. A new YouGov-Cambridge Globalism survey revealed the US has a more negative view of abortion than any other developed country, the Guardian reported.
US views on abortion were found to be similar to those in India and Turkey; 46 percent of Americans said they believe abortion is unacceptable, compared to 38 percent who said they find it acceptable. Respondents in India Turkey said they oppose abortion at 48 and 47 percent, respectively. In Great Britain, 17 percent of respondents said they believe abortion is unacceptable; in Sweden and Denmark, only 10 percent of people were against the procedure.