Texas’ new abortion law, Senate Bill 8, amounts to a nearly complete ban on abortion in the state. It prohibits most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, making no exceptions for pregnancies resulting from incest or rape.
In response to the news, we used Glimpse’s automated targeting techniques to speak to 100 people from across Texas (50 males and 50 females, age 18 to 85) and ask them how they feel about the new law.
One participant said she thought the abortion ban reflected an overall opposition to abortion in the state:
"I think it reflects the feelings of the state population. I also think Planned Parenthood has a history of targeting minority populations to limit their growth."
— a 37-year-old white middle-class Republican male, with kids
Actually, she's wrong to think Texans overwhelmingly support banning abortion. In fact, a majority of Texans actually oppose the bill. Using Glimpse’s NLP polling techniques (which uses text analysis AI to interpret people's responses instead of multiple choice survey questions), we saw that over 60% of those we spoke to are against this new abortion law.
Not only that, another 10% of people said that they would support banning abortion in theory, but do not support this particular bill because it makes no exclusions for rape or incest.
So — overall, over 70% of people we spoke to were not in favor of the new abortion law.
And it's not just the Democrats who are against the law. A large proportion of Independents and Republicans also oppose the bill. Perhaps not surprisingly, women are more likely to oppose the abortion ban, but 42% of them are also male. Of those males, over half of them were older than 55.
24% of people we spoke to flat out support the law. The majority of its supporters being older, predominantly white, older, Republican males, many of whom are clearly misinformed.
A 27 year old white Republican female (who is also pregnant) said:
"I feel like this is a fair bill to be passed. I am for advocating for babies in the womb who seem to have no protection or rights when it comes to abortion. I will need to look further into the no exceptions for incest or rape as I don’t believe that is true about the bill."
Again, this respondent is wrong on the facts (article here). The law clearly stipulates there will be no exceptions for rape or incest. (When probed about this, Governor Abbott seemed untroubled, saying, "Texas will work tirelessly to make sure that we eliminate all rapists from the streets of Texas by aggressively going out and arresting them and prosecuting them and getting them off the streets".)
One of the most common reasons we found among participants for supporting the abortion ban is religion. One person wrote:
"I agree with the new Texas abortion law because it is in The Holy Bible not to kill babies. It is not only a Texas law, but a law from our Heavenly God Father. Once the baby is conceived it is a form of life & It is a sin to kill babies even when they are a fetus."
— 64 year old white Republican middle-class female
In an outdated and sexist holdover, one participant seemed to blame women themselves for being pregnant, saying:
“Good law. Maybe women will realize that they have the power to say no.”
— 75-year-old low-income Republican male
But mostly, people are just outraged. Many celebrities have spoken out against the law, including John Oliver, who publicly shamed his show’s parent company, AT&T for remaining silent on the matter.
Here are some additional comments:
Participant Opinion: Women should have a choice
"Think it is a terrible law. Medicine shows a heartbeat can be detected in a petri dish but has no intelligence. Women should have the right to make their own choice in such matters."
— 74-year-old African-American middle-class Democratic female
Participant Opinion: Men should be responsible
"It stinks. It is an assault on women. Men should be held responsible for their acts, not women. We, the country, need mandatory DNA testing for men over 14, no exceptions. "
— 75-year-old white retired educated Democratic female
Participant Opinion: Women should have control of their bodies
“I think it is wrong. Women should have complete control over their bodies. Pro-Lifers want to stop abortions, but could care less about the child after it is born.”
— 70 year old white male
Participant Opinion: This law will lead to mayhem
“Absolutely ridiculous control over women only, against the law, same people don’t give a shit about anyone after they are born as long as they are born...This will lead to death, hospital, suicide, and with other laws, migration from Texas.”
— 47 year old independent white male
Participant Opinion: A case of trying to control women
"I think this law is absolutely ridiculous! I think women should be able to choose what they want to do as far as an abortion. ESPECIALLY if it is the result of rape or incest. Most women don’t even know they are pregnant until around 7-8 weeks in most cases and then to forbid them an abortion and to carry this baby around is absurd. Why should they be reminded of what happened to them and this end up being the result. I think it is just a case of trying to control women and to keep the money rolling in from adoption or even worse… kidnapping and sex trafficking. Maybe it’s so the white man can try to stay as the majority and controlling women, who are the ones who create this little being, is the way to make sure more white babies are produced since white women are the ones who typically get the abortions anyway. This law is stupid."
— 32 year old middle class, non-white female (who’s also a mother)
Participant Opinion: Pro-life people should be taxed
"I think these pro-life people should have to pay for child support, medical and mental treatment for mom and child, school, and daycare. An extra Tax just for them. And they should have to be visited by a CPS caseworker themselves at least once a month. They like to get in everyone's business, I say what's good for the goose is good for the gander."
— 45 year old middle class, non-white female (who’s also a mother)
Participant Opinion: No one should be told what to do with their bodies
“Well first I would like to say.. I'm against abortion period but I don't believe anyone should be told what to do with the bodies if they are of age. And I believe if a person has gotten pregnant through rape or incest then it’s totally their right as a human being.”
— 47 year old lower class, non-white female (who is also a mother)
What do you think?
Would you like more insight into who is making these comments? Reach out to Glimpse for more info.