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Missouri strongly supports pro-life heartbeat bill, survey finds

The pro-life heartbeat bill signed by Gov. Mike Parson has strong support from Missouri voters, a new poll from St. Louis University and YouGov found.

The survey, which included questions about a range of policies, found that 56 percent of likely voters believe abortion should be prohibited after eight weeks’ gestation, “National Review” reported. The pro-life bill enjoyed broad support from a range of demographic groups, including majorities of white voters and black voters. The survey also found that women were more supportive of the heartbeat bill than men were. These statistics are good news for pro-lifers in Missouri.

This particular poll is notable for two reasons. First, the survey was conducted by two organizations unconnected to the pro-life movement.  Second, the wording of the question about the bill was not particularly favorable to the pro-life position. It asked respondents if they agreed or disagreed that “the Missouri state government should prohibit abortions after eight weeks of pregnancy.”

Typically, respondents are more likely to support pro-life legislation if the survey question asks about protecting the preborn rather than about prohibiting abortion. The fact that the poll found 56 percent of Missouri voters support the recent heartbeat bill is especially noteworthy.

This is the second recent poll showing strong support for heartbeat legislation among Missouri voters. A November 2019 poll conducted by Remington Research Group and Missouri Scout found that 61 percent of likely voters in the state supported House Bill 216, which prohibits abortion at eight weeks gestation.

Missouri has an exceptionally strong pro-life culture, with numerous groups building a culture of life through education, service and legislative activity. This might explain why strong pro-life legislation polls particularly well in the state.

Even though heartbeat bills have been struck down in court, they remain a wise pro-life strategy, especially because Supreme Court decisions often are influenced by public opinion. The fact that strong, protective pro-life laws enjoy support in conservative parts of the country sends a message to the court as it prepares to consider the constitutionality of Mississippi’s 15-week abortion limit this fall.

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice