FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 15, 2014
Contact: Christie Petrone, cpetrone@nirhealth.org, 646-520-3504

Multi-State Polling Shows Voters Connect Abortion Access to Financial Stability, Equal Opportunities
Voters More Likely to Vote for Politicians Who Support Abortion Access

NEW YORK — New polls released today by the National Institute for Reproductive Health reveal that many voters link abortion access to women’s financial stability and equality, and they overwhelmingly support women’s legislative agendas that include policies to protect abortion access. Voters also say they are more likely to vote for elected officials who support such policies – and less likely to vote for elected officials who want to restrict abortion access.

“Voters understand that access to reproductive health care, including abortion, is the key to a woman’s ability to plan her future and provide for her family,” said Andrea Miller, president of the National Institute for Reproductive Health. “Voters were clear not only in their support for legislative agendas that address the full range of women’s rights – including abortion – but also in their belief that a woman’s ability to control when and whether to have children has implications far beyond her reproductive health.”

The surveys were conducted by the non-partisan research organization PerryUndem Research/Communication among voters in New York and Pennsylvania, both states with broad-based women’s legislative agendas under consideration in their state legislatures. In New York, the Women’s Equality Act is a 10-point omnibus bill addressing a range of issues, including pay equity, protections for victims of domestic violence, strengthened sexual harassment laws and a codification of Roe v. Wade in state law; in Pennsylvania, the Agenda for Women’s Health consists of a set of individual pieces of legislation, including pay equity, increasing the minimum wage, pregnancy accommodation, protecting the doctor-patient relationship, and reproductive health care clinic protections. Voters overwhelmingly support both legislative packages – 84 percent of New York voters support the New York Women’s Equality Act and 80 percent of Pennsylvania voters support the Agenda for Women’s Health.

“Policies that improve women’s health, safety, and equality are wildly popular among a wide and surprising range of demographics,” Miller said. “The lesson here is that these policies are not controversial. This should be a wake-up call for elected officials whose views are out of touch with their constituents’ values.”

“Voters recognize the impact that access to reproductive health care services has on a woman’s ability to plan her future, have equal opportunities and be financially secure,” said PerryUndem Partner Tresa Undem. “These polls show that voters may be ahead of lawmakers on this issue and that lawmakers may not adequately understand the high level of support that voters have for protections for reproductive health care, including abortion.”

Key findings from the survey include:

  • Being a mother / caregiver is a top-of-mind factor that prevents women from having the same level of financial stability and opportunities as men (top response in PA; 2nd response in NY).
  • Three-quarters of voters in each state say that a woman’s ability to control whether or when she has children is an important part of equality for women (81% in NY; 83% in PA) and is related to women’s financial stability (76% in NY; 72% in PA).
  • Half of voters connect access to safe and legal abortion care to equal opportunities for women (55% in NY) and financial stability (50% in PA).
  • The majority of Pennsylvania voters think that laws and restrictions that make it harder to access abortion can have a negative impact on women’s financial stability (62%).
  • Majorities in Pennsylvania and New York are favorable toward the Roe v. Wade decision (78% in NY; 68% in PA) – which closely tracks with national polling on this issue.
  • At least seven out of 10 voters in each state support the abortion-specific proposals in both legislative agendas (77% in NY support protecting abortion rights as decided in the Supreme Court case, Roe v. Wade; in PA, 82% support making sure politicians can’t force doctors to give patients medically inaccurate information about abortion, 73% support protecting spaces around entrances to reproductive health centers, and 71% support protecting decisions around abortion).
  • At least eight out of 10 voters in each state supports women’s legislative agendas overall (84% in NY; 80% in PA).
  • About three-quarters of voters prefer that their state’s legislative agenda include – rather than exclude – protections for abortion access (73% in NY; 76% in PA).
  • Voters say they are more likely to reelect elected officials who support women’s agendas that protect access to reproductive health care, including abortion (68% in NY and PA).

The polls were conducted in late May among a representative sample of 802 registered voters in each state. It was administered by telephone, including landlines and cell phones. The margin of sampling error is + 3.5 percentage points for total results in each state.

Read the research memo here.

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