About a week after a Texas pro-life law went into effect, a new poll reveals that Americans are split in their opinions about the measure, reflecting the partisan divides that have come to define American politics.
A poll released by Rasmussen Reports Tuesday found that a plurality of likely voters (46%) approve of the Texas Heartbeat Act, which went into effect last Wednesday. Forty-three percent of respondents disapprove of the law while 11% told the pollster they were not sure what they thought of the law.
Broken down by partisan affiliation, 70% of Republicans support the Texas law. In comparison, approval of the law was measured at just 23% among Democrats and 44% among voters not affiliated with either major political party. Demographic groups most supportive of the law included men (51%), racial minorities other than black voters (54%) and those between the ages of 40 and 64.
Meanwhile, the Texas law registered the lowest approval ratings from women (41%), black voters (36%), white voters (45%), voters with incomes above $200,000 a year and those with graduate degrees.
Signed into law by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott in May, Senate Bill 8, also known as the Texas Heartbeat Act, bans abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, usually around six weeks gestation. The law also allows private citizens to sue individuals who perform abortions and those who help women obtain illegal abortions.
The U.S. Supreme Court allowed the law to go into effect, rejecting pleas by abortion providers to block it. Litigation against the law is expected to continue in the lower courts.
The Rasmussen poll also asked respondents if they thought that “abortion laws should be determined by state governments or by the federal government.” Forty-six percent of likely voters believe that state governments should determine abortion laws, 34% want abortion laws determined at the federal level and the remaining 20% are not sure.
Among Republicans, support for deciding abortion laws at the state level stands at 64%. Much lower percentages of Democrats (31%) and unaffiliated voters (44%) believe that the responsibility for determining abortion laws should lie with the states.