“The issue of abortion is alive and well in North Carolina politics.”
Civitas President Donald Bryson made that observation at the Civitas Poll Lunch in March of 2019. In the nearly two months since that event, the truth of his words has become more evident than ever.
At times, it can seem like extreme pro-abortion voices can be the loudest on social media and the mainstream media. At the national level, no current Democratic candidate for president has come out against late-term abortions. Do North Carolinians share these same radical pro-abortion sentiments?
The March 2019 Civitas Poll surveyed 500 likely voters in North Carolina on their opinions about abortion and other issues. Overall, the poll found that an estimated 50 percent of North Carolinians identify as pro-life. Forty percent of respondents said they’re pro-choice and 10 percent unsure (with a 4.38 margin of error).
When you take a closer look at the poll’s crosstabs, we found that people’s definition of “pro-life” and “pro-choice” varied greatly. I summarized the findings by saying:
“Clearly, pro-life and pro-choice are not universally defined concepts…This ambiguity can make it difficult to discern people’s abortion policy preferences. Everyone may draw their version of the ‘line in the sand’ slightly differently.”
That analysis revealed some fascinating trends about how North Carolinians think on the issue of abortion, so I recommend checking it out. However, I think it is worth reemphasizing that the pro-choice minority of survey respondents seemed to be much more conservative in their support for abortion than the mainstream media or abortion groups, such as Planned Parenthood or NARAL, would have you believe.
Among the “pro-choice” segment of North Carolinians, only 26 percent believed that abortion should be available at any point in pregnancy (as allowed in the recent New York state law). Thirty percent believe abortion should only be allowed within the first three months of pregnancy, while 18 percent believe abortion should be allowed during the first six months.
Said another way, a minority of pro-choice survey respondents supported abortion after 3 months (44 percent). Among all respondents, that percentage was even lower, at 19 percent.
In fact, 35 percent of those that identified as pro-choice said that they would support a ban on abortion after 13 weeks except in the case of a medical emergency. Overall support for the bill was at 50 percent, despite a court recently striking down North Carolina’s ban on abortions after 20 weeks, or about 5 months into pregnancy.
As the abortion issue has again taken center stage in the national policy conversation, it is important for North Carolina lawmakers (and national candidates with an eye towards North Carolina) to remember that the state does not share the same extreme pro-abortion stance of those who seem to have the loudest voices.