Arkansas Poll spotlights state’s divide over abortion

State News

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The newly-released Arkansas Poll shows how Arkansans feel about the issue of abortion.

The poll shows 50 percent of very likely voters favor laws that would make it harder to get an abortion in the Natural State.

It also shows 24 percent of very likely voters believe abortions should be illegal under any circumstance.

Those numbers mean very different things to people on both sides of the issue.

“I don’t see this poll and say wow, the vast majority of Arkansans want abortions to be illegal in every circumstance, in fact, very few do,” said Emily Wales with Planned Parenthood.

“It affirms that Arkansans are generally and overwhelmingly pro-life,” said Charisse Dean with Family Council.

Emily Wales with Planned Parenthood says seeing 60 percent of voters indicate abortions should depend on circumstance — and not be illegal entirely — is what the organization expected.

“I think voters understand that you need to trust patients to know what care they need, including abortion care, and we should leave it to them and their healthcare providers,” Wales said.

Charisse Dean with the socially conservative organization Family Council says the poll numbers show Arkansans reject the idea of abortion on demand.

“And that we are changing the hearts and minds of Arkansans and that we’re winning this fight against abortion,” Dean said.

Twenty-four percent of likely voters polled believe abortions should be illegal — no matter the circumstance, which is good news for Dean.

“That’s the highest number, ever,” she said.

But it’s also good news for Wales, who says that number is very low.

“And I think that reflects a level of empathy for your fellow Arkansans,” Wales said.

Both organizations are waiting to see if Arkansas will adopt a similar abortion ban to the one in Texas, which doesn’t allow abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.

“Arkansans don’t want to see a similar bill because they know just how cruel it is for patients who need care,” Wales said. “We believe in creating a culture of life in Arkansas and we welcome any sort of legislation that will protect the unborn,” Dean said.

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