July 16, 2010
Wesley Burt

Abortion remains a polarizing issue in Oklahoma

A recent SoonerPoll finds that most Oklahomans supported the controversial abortion law that was passed after Governor Brad Henry's veto of the bill was overridden in the Senate.

The law requires women to undergo an ultrasound and listen to a detailed description of the fetus before getting abortions. Results show that 52.6 percent of Oklahomans support both aspects of the law.

Henry vetoed the bill that had already passed in the House and Senate on the grounds that it did not allow rape and incest victims to be exempted. On April 27, 2010 the Republican controlled Senate voted 36-12 to override Henry's veto of the bill.

"Governor Henry has been consistent in the application of his veto to this issue," observed SoonerPoll's Keith Gaddie, "this is an issue with a strong partisan dimension, but the issue is not over, as litigation is certain. The governor's rationale for veto was based on potential constitutional failure of the measure. The legislators -- Democrats and Republicans -- are willing to run that test again.", Oklahoma's Public Opinion Pollster, commissioned and conducted the scientific study using live interviewers by telephone of 503 likely voters from May 25 - June 8, 2010. The study has a margin of error of ±4.4 percent.

Republicans were 20.6 points more likely to support a description of the fetus before an abortion than Democrats and 24.9 points more likely to support ultrasounds.

Further analysis of the results reveals a direct relation between political label and support of the measure, as self proclaimed liberals are more likely to oppose the law while conservatives are more likely to support the law.

Similarly a correlation can be found between church attendance and support of the measure, as those who attend church services more frequently are more likely to support the law than those who say they never attend church services.

"There's no easy ground on abortion," observed Dr. Gaddie. "The public is trying to simultaneously keep abortion in some form but also regulate it and make it a rare practice. But the issue is polarizing because the most extreme elements drive the debate, making every policy decision into an epic moral debate."

This is not the first time Governor Henry has found himself on the other side of public opinion, past polls have shown that Henry is often on the other side of public opinion, though his approval rating remains high.

Wesley Burt
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Wesley Burt