From: Katherine Patterson, Public Policy Polling

To: Interested Parties

Subject: Majority of Virginians Believe Abortion Should Be Legal; Oppose Unnecessary Restrictions Targeting Abortion Providers

Date: January 24, 2020

A new Public Policy Polling survey finds that 79% of Virginians believe that abortion should be legal, and that the government should not prevent a woman from making that decision for herself, while only 19% believe that abortion should be illegal. Those who believe abortion should be legal include a majority of voters across party lines, including 95% of Democrats, 79% of independents, and 55% of Republicans.

A large majority, 82% overall, agree that any decision about pregnancy should be made by the woman with the support of those she loves and trusts—including 80% of independents, 68% of Republicans, and 62% of voters who supported President Trump in 2016. A majority of voters (59%) further believe that it is important for state legislatures to proactively protect the right to abortion through state legislation, while just 32% disagree.

Virginia voters oppose unnecessary restrictions on abortions:

  • 60% support allowing trained nurse practitioners, advanced practice nurses, and physician assistants to provide early abortion care to increase access to abortion in areas without providers, including 55% of independents. Only 30% overall oppose this.
  • 59% of voters oppose the law that forces a woman to undergo a medically unnecessary ultrasound prior to having an abortion, including 52% of independents.
  • 87% of overall voters agree that a woman seeking abortion care should receive full and unbiased information from her doctor about her options, while just 7% disagree. This includes majorities of independents (91%), Republicans (71%), and voters who supported President Trump in 2016 (78%).
  • 69% think doctors should not be forced to read a state-mandated scripts that conflict with their medical judgment, including 64% of independents and 51% of Republicans. Only 17% disagree.
  • 59% disagree with imposing additional restrictions on abortion clinics that go beyond what is necessary to ensure patient safety. This includes 60% of independents.

Virginia voters are also less likely to vote for a politician who supports these restrictions:

  • 55% of voters are more likely to vote for a politician who supports allowing licensed advanced practice clinicians to provide abortion care in early pregnancy, while only 29% would be less likely.
  • 61% are less likely to vote for a politician who supports mandating medically unnecessary ultrasounds, including 57% of independents.
  • 58% are also less likely to vote for a politician who supports placing medically unnecessary restrictions on abortion providers.
  • 61% are less likely to vote for a politician who supports requiring doctors and other medical providers read state-mandated and medically inaccurate scripts to abortion care patients, while just 22% say they are more likely.

PPP surveyed 576 Virginia voters from January 22-23. The margin of error is +/- 4.1%. The survey was conducted by telephone. 50% of interviews were conducted by telephone and 50% by text message. 72% of respondents to the survey are white, 17% African-American, 6% Hispanic or Latino, 2% Asian-American or Pacific Islander, and 3% identify with another race or ethnicity.

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