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Protesters at a rally at the Texas State Capitol. Photo: Jordan Vonderhaar/Getty Images

All 10 swing voters in Axios’ latest focus groups — including those who described themselves as "pro-life" — said they oppose Texas' new anti-abortion law.

Why it matters: If their responses reflect larger patterns in U.S. society, this could hurt Republicans with women and independents in next year's midterm elections. The swing voters cited overreach, invasion of privacy and concerns about frivolous lawsuits jamming up the courts.

  • The law that went into effect this month bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.
  • It also incentivizes people to sue anyone suspected of helping a pregnant woman obtain an abortion by offering a reward of up to $10,000.

Details: Sentiments against the Texas law were some of the key takeaways from our latest Engagious/Schlesinger focus groups. The Sept. 14 sessions included 10 voters, in key swing states around the country, who backed Donald Trump in 2016 but switched to Joe Biden in 2020.

  • While a focus group is not a statistically significant sample like a poll, the responses show how some voters in crucial states are thinking and talking about current events.
  • Eight of the 10 voters said abortion is an issue they would vote on in the midterms. Nine voters said if the abortion law passed in Texas was up for debate in their state, it would be an issue that would drive their vote.

Between the lines: Many of the voters did not know the extent of the law’s enforcement. Once the details were described, they listed a number of reasons why they believed its implementation was problematic.

  • “This is like Big Brother’s watching," said Gerard A., 50, of Michigan. "You’re interfering with other peoples’ private lives. … You’re asking us to spy on each other.”
  • “You can't confide in anybody. … This might make somebody suicidal,” said Carly L., 33, from Minnesota. “I think this is very extreme. It’s actually — wow — I guess I’m just really shocked."

What they’re saying: Engagious president Rich Thau, who moderated the sessions, said they underscore how pivotal voter education may be on this issue.

  • That portends aggressive ad campaigns on both sides.
  • “Democrats should worry that swing voters barely know how the Texas law works, particularly its enforcement," he said. "Republicans should worry that, once swing voters understand the law, they’ll think it’s too extreme."

Go deeper

Anti-abortion activists' Supreme Court dreams are coming true

Photo illustration: Annelise Capossela. Photos: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

This is the moment the conservative legal movement has been building toward for decades: The solidly conservative Supreme Court is about to hear two major abortion cases within a month of each other.

Why it matters: All of this is likely to end with significant new restrictions on abortion and a clear path for Republican-led states to win the next big abortion cases, too — the culmination of a long and bitter fight for control of the judiciary.

Mike Allen, author of AM
2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Fauci fires back at Rand Paul for slam on tonight's "Axios on HBO"

Responding to charges by Sen. Rand Paul on Sunday's "Axios on HBO," NIAID director Anthony Fauci told "ABC This Week" that it's "molecularly impossible" for U.S.-funded bat virus research in China to have produced COVID-19.

Why it matters: The issue 0f Wuhan research was reignited on the right last week with a National Institutes of Health letter to Congress disclosing more about the research.

Manchin, Schumer huddle with Biden in Delaware to discuss spending bill

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (L) and Sen. Joe Manchin (R) at the U.S. Capitol on Nov. 13, 2014. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) will meet with President Biden and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Sunday morning in Delaware as Democrats look to reach an agreement on the massive spending measure.

Driving the news: Democrats are still negotiating what to keep in the bill and how to pay for it, with Biden saying on Thursday that the party does not have the votes to raise the corporate tax rate.