Download the WSB Radio App and Enable Push Notifications for Storm Updates




H 68° L 44°
  • partly-cloudy-tstorms-day
    Current Conditions
    Thundershowers. H 68° L 44°
  • partly-cloudy-tstorms-day
    Thundershowers. H 68° L 44°
  • heavy-rain-day
    Chance of Rain. H 56° L 44°

Wsb news on-demand

00:00 | 00:00


Wsb traffic on-demand

00:00 | 00:00


Wsb weather on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

State & Regional Govt & Politics
AJC poll: Strong support for Roe; opinion closer on ‘heartbeat bill’

AJC poll: Strong support for Roe; opinion closer on ‘heartbeat bill’

AJC poll: Strong support for Roe; opinion closer on ‘heartbeat bill’
Photo Credit: Jason Getz
People fill the hallways outside a Georgia Legislature committee room protesting against House Bill 481, the “heartbeat bill” that would outlaw most abortions at about six weeks into a pregnancy. (JASON GETZ/SPECIAL TO THE AJC)

AJC poll: Strong support for Roe; opinion closer on ‘heartbeat bill’

Seven of 10 Georgia voters say they oppose overturning the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case that guaranteed the right to an abortion, according to a new Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll.

Those surveyed were more closely split on a pending state law that would outlaw the procedure at about six weeks in most cases. Gov. Brian Kemp is expected to sign the abortion legislation.

About 49% oppose the bill, according to the poll, with about 44% saying they support it. Nearly 6% of respondents said they neither supported nor opposed the measure.

Those with opinions had strong ones — about 39% of those polled said they “strongly opposed” the legislation and almost 26% “strongly support” it.

RELATED>> Interactive: Complete poll results

AJC poll: Kemp’s approval ratings on the rise; Trump still underwater

PDF: Poll crosstabs

The poll results highlight how deeply polarizing the issue is for Georgians.

Bobbi Keith, a 48-year-old homemaker from Savannah, said she believes abortions should be allowed in certain circumstances.

“It should always be a woman’s choice, but there have to be some circumstances involved,” she said. “If it’s molestation or rape or something like that, I think it’s more (acceptable) than just someone that just had a one-night-stand and gets pregnant.”

Amy O’Sullivan, a 58-year-old Milton resident, said it’s not the government’s job to limit access to abortion.

“I don’t think it’s right to turn around and tell somebody what they can and can’t do with their own body when it comes abortion,” she said.

The poll of 774 registered voters was conducted March 24 to Monday by the University of Georgia’s School of Public and International Affairs Survey Research Center. The margin of error is 3.5 percentage points.

The AJC polled voters across Georgia about their thoughts on abortion, including the recently passed House Bill 481, which would ban most abortions when a doctor can detect a “heartbeat” — usually about six weeks into a pregnancy, before many women even realize they are pregnant.

Current Georgia law allows abortions to be performed until 20 weeks.

What is a heartbeat is at the center of dispute.

Supporters say it should be used to establish when life begins. Doctors who oppose the legislation, however, said what appears to be a heartbeat at six weeks signals the practice motions of developing tissues that could not on their own power a fetus without the mother.

O’Sullivan, who said she has raised three chronically ill children, said when she was pregnant the third time, the doctor told her abortion was an option.

“I was told to accept he would be sick or terminate my pregnancy with my youngest,” she said. “I looked at my husband and I said, ‘I don’t think I can do it (abort).’ But that was my decision.”

There are currently about 20 lawsuits involving abortion — including several “heartbeat” laws — up for consideration by the U.S. Supreme Court that could be used to challenge the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide.

RELATED>> A first wave of women targets Republicans after Ga. ‘heartbeat’ vote

Georgia’s anti-abortion ‘heartbeat bill’ heads to governor’s desk

See how Georgia lawmakers voted on anti-abortion ‘heartbeat’ bill

A look at abortion bills around the U.S. in 2019

Opponents of Georgia anti-abortion ‘heartbeat’ bill set sights on 2020

Photos: Georgia House debates abortion bill

Georgia anti-abortion activists hope the state’s “heartbeat bill” will be the one that overturns the court’s ruling.

But poll respondents across nearly all demographics said they don’t believe Roe v. Wade should be overturned.

Nearly 58% of those responding to the AJC poll said they believed abortion should be legal in all or most cases. Almost 38% of respondents said they believed the procedure should be illegal in all or most cases. Nearly 5% declined to answer the question.

The only groups polled who said they thought Roe v. Wade should be reversed were those who consider themselves “very conservative” — at almost 70% — and about 56% of those with a family income of less than $25,000 a year.

Nearly 50% of Republicans, 83% of independents and 88% of Democrats in Georgia said the decision shouldn’t be overturned.

M.V. “Trey” Hood III, a political science professor and director of UGA’s Survey Research Center, said while there has been some national support for limits on abortion, people generally don’t want to outlaw the procedure altogether.

“Georgians may be viewing the new law, rightly or wrongly, as placing curbs on the procedure,” he said.

A national Gallup poll from July 2018 found that 64% of those surveyed did not want to overturn Roe v. Wade.

But Keith, the Savannah homemaker, said she believes the U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortions up until a fetus is “viable” — usually around the third trimester — should be reversed.

“By that time, it’s no longer a fetus,” said the mother of two. “You can find out the baby’s sex at that point. It’s developed to the point that it’s a baby to me.”

How people felt about access to abortion fell along party lines. About 80% of Democrats said they think abortion should be legal in most or all cases compared with about 67% of Republicans who believe the procedure should be banned in most or all cases.

Kemp, who made a campaign promise to sign the nation’s most restrictive abortion law, is expected to sign HB 481 sometime this month. The American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia has already said it will file a lawsuit challenging the legislation.

If it becomes law, Georgia still would allow later abortions in cases of rape, incest, if the life of the mother is in danger or in instances of “medical futility,” when a fetus would not be able to survive after birth.

Someone who has become pregnant after an incident of rape or incest would have to file a police report to have the abortion performed.

Roopville auto mechanic Ben Sundling, 40, said being a Christian leads him to oppose abortion in general. But if someone who is a victim of rape or incest wanted to get an abortion, he thinks it should be allowed.

“There should be some guidelines to when you can get one,” he said. “They shouldn’t just 100% have the option to do an abortion for convenience.”

The new law would also allow parents, once a heartbeat is detected, to claim an embryo on their taxes as a dependent and it would be counted toward the state’s population.

AJC poll

The poll was conducted March 24-April 8 for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution by the School of Public and International Affairs Survey Research Center at the University of Georgia and included a total of 774 registered voters in Georgia. The margin of error is 3.5 percentage points.

In 1973 the Roe v. Wade decision established a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion, at least in the first three months of pregnancy. Would you like to see the Supreme Court overturn its Roe v. Wade decision or not?

Yes, should be overturned — 24.3 percent

No, should not be overturned — 70.3 percent

Don’t know/refused — 5.4 percent

Do you think abortion should be legal in all cases, legal in most cases, illegal in most cases or illegal in all cases?

Legal in all cases — 22.5%

Legal in most cases — 35.4%

Illegal in most cases — 26.8%

Illegal in all cases — 10.8%

Don’t know/refused — 4.5%

The Georgia Legislature has approved legislation that would ban virtually all abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, except in cases of rape and incest that are reported to authorities. Do you strongly support, somewhat support, neither support nor oppose, somewhat oppose, or strongly oppose this legislation?

Strongly support — 25.7%

Somewhat support — 18.6%

Neither support nor oppose — 5.7%

Somewhat oppose — 9.5%

Strongly oppose — 39.2%

Don’t know/refused — 1.3%

About this poll

The poll was conducted March 24-April 8, 2019, and included a total of 774 registered voters in Georgia.

The survey was administered by the School of Public and International Affairs Survey Research Center at the University of Georgia. Interviews were conducted in English. The sample included 69 percent cellphone numbers and 31 percent landline numbers and was obtained through Self Made Insights Company (SMI is a sampling vendor that maintains a database constructed from state voter registration lists. Through commercial sources, phone numbers have been added to the individual records (registrants) that make up these lists). The survey results were weighted to ensure the sample was representative of the registrant population in terms of race, sex and age.

The margin of error for the total sample is 3.5 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level. This would mean that if 50 percent of respondents indicate a topline view on an issue, we can be 95 percent confident that the population’s view on that issue is somewhere between 53.5 percent and 46.5 percent.

Stay on top of what’s happening in Georgia government and politics at

Read More


  • A 19-year veteran of the Phoenix Police Department is accused of assaulting a homeless man who was allegedly shoplifting pants from a Walmart, KNXV reported. >> Read more trending news  Roger Moran, 22, was arrested Dec. 8, and his mugshot shows several cuts and bruises on his face, the television station reported. According to Maricopa County court documents, Moran is accused on three occasions of resisting arrest and trying to assault an officer. The officer, Tim Baiardi, is accused of delivering “23 knee strikes to (the suspect's) face,' KNXV reported. The Phoenix Police Department has recommended Baiardi be charged with aggravated assault, the television station reported. The report, written by a different responding officer, added '(Moran) attempted to escape again and the officer was able to deliver 45 closed fist strikes,' the television station reported. When Moran continued to resist arrest, Baiardi allegedly 'struck (the suspect) about 23 more times with a closed fist,' according to the incident report. Phoenix Police Department officials said they have launched an internal investigation, KNXV reported.
  • A woman driving along a Nevada highway had a scary moment when a ladder bounced off her windshield, KTNV reported. >> Read more trending news  Madi Nelson was driving on U.S. 95 near Las Vegas when a van ran over a ladder on the highway, the television station reported. Video obtained by KTNV shows the ladder going airborne after a van drove over it and bouncing off Nelson’s windshield, cracking it. 'From across the right lane, the ladder kind of rolls and everyone else kind of rolls over it. I was in the far left lane, so I was just able to get over to the emergency lane. I threw my hazards on and I was just trying to figure out what just happened,' Nelson said. 
  • Easter is a day to spend with family and friends.  And if you don’t want to spend that time in the kitchen rushing to get a meal together, plenty of restaurants will be opening their doors Sunday. If you are going to take the day off from cooking and want to relax with family and friends at a local restaurant, here are a few deals that you might want to consider.  Some restaurants require reservations, and some locations may not be open. Call ahead to your local restaurant to make sure they will be open. Here are some restaurants open on Easter: Baskin-Robbins  Bob Evans   Boston Market >>Easter 2019: When is it; what is it; why isn't it on the same date every year? Buca di Beppo   The Capital Grille  Claim Jumper  Cracker Barrel  Eddie V’s Prime Seafood  >>Easter 2019: How to make perfect hard-boiled eggs for Easter egg dyeing Fleming’s  Hometown Buffet   Krispy Kreme    Legal Sea Foods   Maggiano’s Marie Callender’s   McCormick & Schmick’s   Mimi’s Cafe Country Buffet  Ruth’s Chris Ryan’s  >>How did crucifixion kill Jesus? Shoney’s  Waffle House 
  • A woman is accused of assaulting a 70-year-old Houston parking enforcement volunteer who was writing her father -- a double amputee -- a ticket for not having a disabled permit placard, KTRK reported. >> Read more trending news  Jade Williams, 18, was charged with misdemeanor assault for the Tuesday incident, according to the Harris County Pct. 5 Constable's Office.  David Hansen said he was writing a citation when the SUV owner and his daughters confronted him about it, KPRC reported. 'Then she wanted to fight me,' Hansen told KTRK. 'She's walking around going, 'Come on, let's fight.' I kept retreating all the way back to my truck, and when I got to my truck, she, with an open hand, slapped my face and that's when I called 911.'  Williams’ father, Byron Williams, was wearing a prosthetic leg at the time of the incident, KTRK reported. He also lost his arm in a motorcycle accident. 'He started swinging,' Williams told the television station. 'Yes, he pushed my dad and when he pushed my dad, my dad backed up, like my dad was about to fall, and I said, 'Don't put your hands on him.''  In a statement, Houston city officials said they were “very upset to hear about this incident,” KPRC reported. Williams denies she hit Hansen.  'He's trying to make it seem like since I'm young, I assaulted an elderly person,' Williams told KTRK. 'That's not me. I'm a very respectful person.' 
  • Three people, including a 1-year-old boy, were shot early Friday morning at a South Fulton apartment complex, police said.  Officers responded to the triple shooting at the Hickory Park Apartments shortly after midnight, according to South Fulton police spokesman Lt. Derrick Rogers. Investigators at the scene in the 4900 block of Delano Road learned there was an argument about a burglary at one of the apartments inside the complex. “The argument became very heated and at some point, gunfire erupted resulting in the three victims receiving a gunshot wound,” Rogers told Channel 2 Action News in a statement. A stray bullet hit the 1-year-old boy in the leg, according to the news station. He is expected to be OK. The others are stable at a hospital, Lt. Marcus Dennard told Channel 2 from the scene. Their injuries are not considered life-threatening.  “I have no details on suspect(s) at this time and no names of the victims,” Rogers said in the statement.  We’re working to learn more. —Please return to for updates. In other news:
  • Who will sit on the Iron Throne when “Game of Thrones” ends its run later this year? You can -- well, sort of. >> Read more trending news  A student at a Kentucky welding school built a 200-pound replica of the Iron Throne as a wedding gift for his wife, WLKY reported. He is also renting it out, the television station reported. Michael Hayes is a student at the Knight School of Welding in Louisville. He and his instructors spent nearly 110 hours over two months to craft the throne, which includes 400 swords, WLKY reported. The school funded the project, which cost $7,000. The throne is not made of iron or steel, but aluminum, otherwise “it would pretty much stay wherever it sat,' Hayes told the television station. Hayes said he made the throne as a wedding gift for his wife, Kacie Hayes. 'The show is one of the first things my wife and I bonded over,” Michael Hayes told WLKY. “It's a really important thing to us.” >>  Social media reacts to season premiere of ‘Game of Thrones’ The throne was a centerpiece at the Hayes’ wedding, and the couple struck a pose similar to ones by “Game of Thrones” characters Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen. 'Besides the awesome fact that my wife pretty much does look like Daenerys, especially when she's in her get-up,” Michael Hayes told WLKY. “It made it all the more awesome when I could see her sitting in the throne and doing her thing. It's just been awesome.” Hayes said if you want to rent the throne, email him at, WLKY reported.