Religiosity, Safety Beliefs, and Support for Abortion Regulations in Texas

Elizabeth Ela , University of Texas
Isabel McLoughlin, University of Texas at Austin
Kari White, University of Alabama at Birmingham
Joseph E. Potter, University of Texas at Austin

Texas House Bill 2 was signed into law in 2013 and targeted abortion providers, requiring that physicians have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital and that facilities meet the standards of an ambulatory surgical center. Although these provisions were struck down by the Supreme Court, similar regulations have been enacted in other states. We use online survey data to investigate predictors of support for HB2 among Texas voters. We find that religiosity predicts support for both regulations, particularly among voters with college degrees. Respondents who received abortion safety information are generally less likely to support HB2. However, this intervention has no effect on biblical literalists. Religiosity, education, and political ideology predict support for HB2 indirectly; these relationships are mediated by beliefs about the safety impact of the law. Providing accurate safety information seems to reduce voters’ support for medically unnecessary abortion regulations, but this strategy may not be universally effective.

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 Presented in Session 1. Fertility, Family Planning, Sexual Behavior, & Reproductive Health 1