The widening regional divide over abortion
July 29th, 2013
11:37 AM ET
12 months ago

The widening regional divide over abortion

Washington (CNN) - As lawmakers in state capitals battle this summer over increasing restrictions on abortion, a new poll indicates where you live may determine your stance on the controversial issue.

According to a Pew Research Center survey released Monday, opposition to legal abortion is highest in the Southern Central part of the U.S., including Texas, where Gov. Rick Perry earlier this month signed into law a bill that would ban most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. By contrast, support for legal abortions remains highest in the Northeast (in particular New England) and the West Coast states.

The survey also indicates that while overall national attitudes on abortion have remained consistent over the past decade, the gap between New England and the Southern Central states has widened.

"There are signs that this regional disparity may be widening over time, as views in the South have turned more strongly against abortion," says a release by Pew.

According to the poll, in the 13 states that have laws banning abortions at either 22 weeks of pregnancy or earlier, 44% of those questioned say that abortions should be legal in all or most cases, with 49% saying they should be illegal in all or most cases.

But it's a different story in all other states (and the District of Columbia), with nearly six in ten saying abortion should be legal in all or most cases, with only 36% saying it should be illegal in all or most cases.

Republican governors in Ohio and Wisconsin recently signed into law increased abortion restrictions, and North Carolina lawmakers last week passed a similar measure.

On the federal level, the GOP-controlled House recently passed a late-term abortion ban bill, with only six Republicans voting against the measure and only six Democrats voting in support of it. The bill prohibits most abortions for women beyond their twentieth week of pregnancy.

Senate Republicans are considering sponsoring a similar measure. Such a bill would face major opposition in the Democratic controlled chamber, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said earlier this month that he would be open to allowing such a bill to be introduced.

The Pew Research Center poll was conducted July 17-21, with 1,480 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.


Filed under: Abortion
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Regardless of what polls indicate and the regional differences, abortions are constitutionally protected. What these right wing governors are doing is usurping the Constitution and practicing theology in legislating. Talk about BIG government. Look in the mirror republicans.

    July 29, 2013 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  2. ThinkAgain

    Who has pushed this issue? Republicans. Why? Because their mantra is "Divide and conquer."

    July 29, 2013 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  3. Sandy

    Why don't they ever reveal that despite some people being pro-life, more than 70% of the population believes that abortion should remain legal.

    July 29, 2013 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  4. California Gary

    Well, you folks that elected GOP majorities in your statehouses and governorships........you were looking for jobs, jobs, jobs..........and what you got was abortion, abortion, abortion. I hope you have learned something from the experience.

    July 29, 2013 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  5. patNY

    Abortion is murder...plain and simple.

    July 29, 2013 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  6. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Why do you vote for Republicans? All they care about is abortion, which was a non issue until Reagan and GHW Bush turned it into one. Vote for Democrats and we can finally move past this and everything else these do nothings pretend to care about!

    July 29, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  7. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Abortion is murder...plain and simple.
    -----------------------------------------------–
    By whose standards? God's?

    July 29, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  8. sonny chapman

    What happens to all the concern for the unborn fetus & the struggling mother after the baby draws it's 1st breath ?

    July 29, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  9. Data Driven

    Almost all of the new anti-woman legislation is unConstitutional, and yet such laws are passing in statehouses across the land (not just the South), and those laws are going pretty much unchallenged. One day, women are going to wake up to find they've lost their reproductive autonomy, Roe v. Wade or no.

    Better wake up, Millennial ladies. Your moms and grandmothers already waged this war ... you're going to have to wage it again.

    July 29, 2013 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  10. Dumbas[R]ocks

    There's a divide alright. The "red" region of America is run by a theocratic Idiocracy, with ideologic ties that go back to before the Civil War. The people who elect this big-government, anti-liberty, regressive nonsense into office have only themselves to blame.

    July 29, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  11. Donkey Party

    patNY – How many adoptions have you made? By the way, using terms like "murder" only makes your argument less valid, and more ridiculous.

    July 29, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  12. Fair is Fair

    Data Driven

    Almost all of the new anti-woman legislation is unConstitutional, and yet such laws are passing in statehouses across the land (not just the South), and those laws are going pretty much unchallenged.
    ------
    And why has not one local, state, or national organization filed for a review by the SCOTUS? Be careful what you ask for – you just might get it.

    July 29, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  13. Fair is Fair

    Donkey Party

    patNY – How many adoptions have you made? By the way, using terms like "murder" only makes your argument less valid, and more ridiculous.
    --------
    Hmmmm... how about birth control? Or is THAT a ridiculous arguement too?

    July 29, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  14. Tom

    I'm sorry but I didn't see where they the "right wing" has made abortion illegal. Can someone from te left please clarify?

    Please realize that if you respond with "this is just the start" that you then can understand why someone is in fear of "just the start" with bannin guns of any type...

    Try to remain consistent!!

    July 29, 2013 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  15. Gurgyl

    CNN do not be an ah., publish all. Churches need to stay out of women issues. Let abortion be legal.

    July 29, 2013 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  16. sonny chapman

    The divide in 1789 that kept this Country from becoming a Nation will always be there. North v. South, rural v. urban, agricultural v. manufacturing, strong Fed. Govt. v. States Rights, everyone votes v. only the few can vote. Now, we're a Nation of over 300,000,000. And one political party, since 1968, has held power by exploiting the rifts.

    July 29, 2013 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  17. Ron L

    Honestly, you will NEVER stop abortions from happening. This was tried before and it failed miserably. To me it looks like more men are pushing this than women. Which doesn't surprise me at all. I believe that many pro choice people could adjust to the option of having a abortion legally dropping from 24 to 20 weeks as long as you still had an option up to 24 if the mothers life was in danger. My problem, along with many other Americans is the pro-life people aren't attempting just to reduce the number of weeks, they are attempting to stop it completely!! This will not work, and will only cause more friction and division in the country.

    July 29, 2013 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  18. Marie MD

    Why do rethugs hate women?
    Why don't we see more commercials and more contraceptive aids for women and no closing of clinics (Pap tests, cervical/ uterine cancer tests and mammograms) instead of one Viagra/cialis and now underarm testosterone after another!?
    You know why? Because without the repugs making women's lives miserable (along with anyone else " not them") they would have nothing to do or witch about. That's why!

    July 29, 2013 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  19. rosethornne

    Republicans: the party of hate, obstructionism, and an anti-American waste of taxpayer money as they endlessly recycle issues that have already been decided.

    Vote for the American Taliban, vote Republican
    (not)

    July 29, 2013 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  20. TONE

    Why rightwingers don't move to afganistan? how could they fight the taliban that are as extreme as they are?

    July 29, 2013 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  21. rs

    An example of the GOP playing to their Fundamentalist Christian, Taliban-like base. They freak out at Sharia law ever being used in America (it won't, ever), but are racing to establish a state religion (NC), and fill the books with non-scientific, non-medical-based anti-abortion, and anti-birth-control bills.
    Where the GOP predominates, you see support for these egregious laws. And they say they are the "uniters".
    Horsefeathers!

    July 29, 2013 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  22. lolo

    @PatNY please stop trying to push your beliefs on other people. Religion and government are seperate. You are not judge, jury and executioner. If you don't want one don't have one. It is not your descision to tell other people what to do. Also quit believing the hype that the government is paying for abortions. That is only a GOP/TP myth to keep their followers thinking that minorities are using the government to pay for abortions and you swallowed it hook, line and sinker.You really need to research and educate yourself. The rest of America with common sense is waking up to their BS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 29, 2013 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  23. Data Driven

    @Fair,

    Given the ideology of the majority of the court, I'm forced to agree with you.

    July 29, 2013 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  24. I'm NOT a liberal

    Democrats want the option to have an abortion up to the baby's first birthday.

    July 29, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  25. MaryM

    Republicans, Wasting time and Money Again. All these red state anit-abortion laws will be blocked and overturned by the Courts.

    July 29, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
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