Most Texas residents don’t support Senate Bill 5, the omnibus anti-abortion bill currently advancing in the legislature, according to a new bipartisan poll. In fact, 80 percent of Texans don’t want their lawmakers to be considering abortion-related bills during the special session that Gov. Rick Perry (R) convened at the beginning of the month.
SB 5 combines several attacks on women’s reproductive into one omnibus measure. It would impose unnecessary burdens on abortion providers, force most of the abortion clinics in the state to close their doors, and criminalize abortions after 20 weeks (although one Senate version of the legislation removed the 20-week ban). Anti-choice lawmakers hope that the special session will give them the opportunity to push through SB 5, since its separate provisions failed to advance during the regular legislative session this year.
But Texas voters don’t actually want any more restrictions on abortion in their state. After conducting a survey among a representative sample of state residents between June 17 and 19, the polling firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner (GQR) found that 63 percent of registered voters think the Lone Star State already has enough anti-abortion laws on the books. Seventy one percent think the legislature should be more focused on the economy and jobs instead of social policies to police women’s reproductive rights.
Nearly three quarters of respondents said that personal medical decisions about whether to have an abortion should be made by a woman and her doctor, not by politicians. Fifty seven percent said they don’t trust the Governor or the legislature to make choices about women’s health care. And that opposition cuts across party lines: The support for women to make their own reproductive decisions remains strong among both Independents (76 percent) and Republicans (61 percent).
That opposition to the current legislative agenda is reflective in the massive numbers of protesters who have spoken out against SB 5 over the past week. On Thursday and Sunday, as the House considered SB 5, hundreds of women’s health advocates turned out to protest the abortion restrictions. Although those actions successfully delayed a vote on the bill, the House did eventually approve SB 5 on Monday morning. Senate Democrats have pledged to filibuster the legislation when it comes up for final passage in their chamber on Tuesday night — and, since the special session ends at midnight on Tuesday, they’re hoping to block it long enough to officially kill it for this year.