Abortion: Most people’s view are complex

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Opinion

May 13, 2019 - 10:03 AM

The Kansas Supreme Court ruled recently that the state constitution protects a woman’s right to an abortion. Conservative politicians in Topeka may back putting a constitutional amendment on the 2020 ballot to counter that ruling. If a lengthy abortion campaign is looming, then let’s start with facts about how average Kansans feel about abortion. That means avoiding convenient or self-reassuring stereotypes, and realizing that most Kansans are mixed on abortion and may care little about the issue.

Kansas isn’t polled frequently, so data are unfortunately infrequent. The last Kansas poll that I can find that asked about “pro-choice” or “pro-life” was 2005. SurveyUSA showed that 50 percent of Kansans called themselves pro-choice and 45 percent pro-life. Old data here are fine because choice versus life is oversimplified. Most people who call themselves pro-life in surveys support abortion rights under some circumstances, and most pro-choice people oppose abortion in some cases.

More recently, the 2018 FOX News/AP Voter Analysis survey gave Kansans these options on abortion: 14 percent said “illegal in all cases,” 32 percent “illegal in most cases,” 35 percent “legal in most cases,” and 19 percent “legal in all cases.” Thus, you can correctly say from FOX/AP that 54 percent of Kansans support abortion rights in all or most cases, 86 percent support abortion rights to some degree, and 81 percent favor restricting abortion to some degree.

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