There are 21 states that have a 15-week or less abortion restriction law. Of those, only Arizona and Georgia voted for Democrat Biden in 2020, and both narrowly. Also, Arizona has the least restrictive position on abortion, allowing it until 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Of the remaining 29 states, only six voted for Republican Trump: Alaska, Montana, Wyoming, Kansas, Iowa and Ohio.

Are there any established political theories or political scientists that hypothesize a link between a state's position on abortion and its tendency to vote "red" or "blue?" Or is this a situation where "correlation does not imply causation?"

  • 1
    I'll point out that laws are passed by the states' legislatures, which may or may not have the same opinions as the actual citizens. Since the citizens are the ones who vote, there isn't necessarily any correlation. Just look at the outcomes whenever it's directly on the ballot.
    – Bobson
    Commented Jun 3 at 17:20
  • 1
    @Bobson: Your remark may indicate why "correlation is does not imply causation." But I did want to ask the "raw" question.
    – Tom Au
    Commented Jun 3 at 17:24
  • Is there any political theory that explains why people would vote for things they support and against things they oppose? Or is that too obvious to need a political theory?
    – Stuart F
    Commented Jun 4 at 10:13
  • There points out the problem of a binary position in politics. A good follow up question would be about Republican would perfer a different stated party position.
    – DogBoy37
    Commented Jun 4 at 16:19

2 Answers 2


The Republican party's platform is anti-abortion:

• “Proud to be the party that protects human life and offers real solutions for women” and “strongly oppose[s] infanticide,” including specific support for: the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act; a human life constitutional amendment; a ban on abortion at 20 weeks, when unborn babies can feel pain; a ban on abortion based on sex or disability; a ban on dismemberment abortion “in which unborn babies are literally torn apart limb from limb”; abortion clinic safety regulations; a ban on human cloning, and creating or experimenting upon human embryos, including three-parent embryos; a ban on any sale of body parts; and a ban on the “use of public funds to perform or promote abortion or to fund organizations, like Planned Parenthood.”

Whereas the Democratic party is pro-choice:

  • Supports “repealing the Hyde Amendment” to allow the government to fund abortion.
  • Supports “codifying” the right to abortion.
  • “Democrats believe every woman should be able to access... reproductive health care services, including safe and legal abortions.”
  • [O]ppose and will fight to overturn federal and state laws that create barriers to reproductive health and rights.
  • Opposes current FDA safety restrictions on chemical abortion pills.
  • Supports repealing President Trump’s changes to the Title X program that separate abortion from federal family planning grants.

(source for all this) - FRC action (a socially conservative pressure group)

So there is no surprise that Republican controlled states should enact pro-life laws, whereas Democrat controlled states should enact pro-choice laws. No complex theory is needed to explain this relation, it's just the parties doing what they say they'll do.


Let's cross-reference the Cook PVI (2022) with the US News abortion list. States with restrictions over 15 weeks are in bold. States with laws beyond 15 weeks that are also R+ anything are also in bold

State Abortion Restriction Cook PVI
Alabama Illegal R +15
Alaska None R +8
Arizona 15 weeks R +2
Arkansas Illegal R +16
California 24 weeks D +13
Colorado None D +4
Connecticut 24 weeks D +7
Delaware 24 weeks D +7
Florida 6 weeks R +3
Georgia 6 weeks R +3
Hawaii 24 weeks D +14
Idaho Illegal R +18
Illinois 24 weeks D +7
Indiana Illegal R +11
Iowa 22 weeks R +6
Kansas 22 weeks R +10
Kentucky Illegal R +16
Louisiana Illegal R +12
Maine 24 weeks D +2
Maryland None D +14
Massachusetts 24 weeks D +15
Michigan None R +1
Minnesota None D +1
Mississippi Illegal R +15
Missouri Illegal R +10
Montana 24 weeks R +10
Nebraska 12 weeks R +10
Nevada 24 weeks R +1
New Hampshire 24 weeks D +1
New Jersey None D +6
New Mexico None D +3
New York None * D +10
North Carolina 12 weeks R +3
North Dakota Illegal R +20
Ohio 22 weeks R +6
Oklahoma Illegal R +20
Oregon None D +6
Pennsylvania 22 weeks R +2
Rhode Island 24 weeks D +8
South Carolina 6 weeks R +8
South Dakota Illegal R +16
Tennessee Illegal R +14
Texas Illegal R +6
Utah 18 weeks R +13
Vermont None D +16
Virginia 26 weeks D +3
Washington 24 weeks D +6
West Virginia Illegal R +22
Wisconsin 22 weeks R +2
Wyoming 24 weeks R +25

I know some of this is debatable. Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are pretty much on the line as far as party affiliation (and trying to point to some states as being one party or another is a fool's errand).

Iowa and Wyoming have passed laws lowering their limits. Courts have blocked them, pending litigation.

New York technically has theirs at 24 weeks, but the Attorney General of New York has noted there is a mental health exception, meaning there is no real restriction there.

So where does that leave us state-wise? Alaska, Kansas, Montana, Ohio, and Utah are both decently Republican and have pretty permissive abortion laws. 19 states have basically viability laws (24 weeks or so). We could throw Utah in there at 18 weeks and bring it to a round 20 states (nearly half).

14 states have abortion totally illegal. No Democratic majority state has a restriction below viability.

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    To look at some of the exceptions, Kansas is a case where the decision was made by a ballot initiative that overrode the decisions of partisan elected officials, and Montana was a case of a state constitutional provision passed for another purpose having an unintended side-effect post-Dobbs. So, they don't alter the conclusion about how partisan elected officials act when given the chance to do so.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Jun 4 at 1:29

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