Little Public Support for N.C. Antiabortion-Rights Bill, Poll Finds

July 17, 2013 — Few North Carolina voters support an antiabortion-rights measure that is progressing through the state Legislature, and their disapproval has hurt Gov. Pat McCrory's (R) popularity, according to a poll from Public Policy Polling, Politico reports (Gold, Politico, 7/16).

McCrory threatened to veto a previous version of the bill but has since said he supports abortion restrictions that the House approved last week (AP/WTVD, 7/15).

The bill would allow the state's Department of Health and Human Services to "apply any requirement" that applies to ambulatory surgical centers to abortion clinics, as long as the regulations do not impede access to abortion. The measure also would require a physician to be present while the first drug used in a medication abortion is administered and includes various restrictions on insurance coverage of abortion (Women's Health Policy Report, 7/12). In addition, the measure would ban abortions based on the sex of the fetus (Politico, 7/16).

Poll Results

The poll found that 47% of voters in the state disapprove of the bill, compared with 34% who approve of it.

In addition, 80% of voters disapprove of the way the bill was brought to the floor and passed. House lawmakers attached the antiabortion-rights provisions to an unrelated bill about motorcycle safety (Politico, 7/16). The earlier version in the Senate also was approved after being added to an unrelated bill (Women's Health Policy Report, 7/11).

The poll also determined that 49% of voters dislike how McCrory is handling his job, while 40% approve -- representing a 15-point drop in his approval ratings from June and marking the first time more voters disapprove of his governorship than approve. The poll found that 35% of voters approve of how Republicans are running the state government, compared with 55% of voters who disapprove.

McCrory in an interview with CNN defended his agenda, remarking, "I have stepped on toes in my first six months in office of the right and the left and the media. Maybe that means I'm doing something right" (Politico, 7/16).