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Poll: Strong support in South for abortion in cases of rape, severe birth defects

South Carolina lawmakers are considering making the state's six-week abortion ban more restrictive.
Ron Cogswell/Flickr
South Carolina lawmakers are considering making the state's six-week abortion ban more restrictive.

A new Winthrop University poll of people in 11 southern states — including North and South Carolina — shows a majority support abortion if a pregnancy is the result of rape.

The Southern Focus survey found that 64% of Republicans said women should be allowed to have an abortion after rape. Among all people polled, the number was higher, at 74%.

Among Republican voters surveyed, 48% said abortion should be allowed if the baby was to have severe birth defects, while 59% percent of all people in the online survey were in favor.

In South Carolina, legislators are debating whether to pass a more restrictive abortion bill than one that currently bans abortions after six weeks. Some lawmakers want no exceptions for rape or incest.

North Carolina lawmakers are expected to consider new anti-abortion legislation next year.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, has said he will veto any new anti-abortion rights legislation. GOP lawmakers are trying to win super-majorities in the House and Senate that would allow them to override any veto.

The poll did not ask people about their overall views on abortion and whether they would support bans at 6, 15 or 20 weeks.

The poll also covered other issues.

President Biden’s approval rating in the poll was 35%. When asked if the results of the 2020 presidential election were “fair and accurate,” just under half of all people who took the poll said it was, as did 22% of those who identified as Republican.

The states polled were Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas- and Virginia. Nearly 2,300 people took part in the online poll.

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Steve Harrison is WFAE's politics and government reporter. Prior to joining WFAE, Steve worked at the Charlotte Observer, where he started on the business desk, then covered politics extensively as the Observer’s lead city government reporter. Steve also spent 10 years with the Miami Herald. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, the Sporting News and Sports Illustrated.