Luke’s Log- What Does Gallup Say about Women and Abortion?

prolifevsprochoice

Listening to any feminist activist, you’d be forgivable to assume that every single women in the world was clamoring over the right to abort the fetus within them. That’s certainly how the loudest and most commonly-visible feminist activists tend to argue, anyway. There’s a tendency among modern feminists to label people who are morally opposed to abortion as ‘anti-woman’ and to make greater access to abortion rights as the top item on their agendas. Anything less than the full submittal to the feminist line is the result of patriarchal men trying to legislate their way into women’s bodies, or something like that. Abortion is THE women’s issue and men shouldn’t be involved- didn’t you know?

So I was surprised when one day I did a quick search and found that the actual opinions of American women aren’t nearly so clear-cut. Here’s what Gallup- which, by the way, doesn’t usually fudge its numbers for ideological purposes- has to say about American women’s opinions on abortion:

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American’s own views on abortion- by major subgroups

Women:

Pro-choice: 47%

Pro-life: 46%

Net pro-choice majority: 1%

Men:

Pro-choice: 42%

Pro-life: 50%

Net pro-choice majority: -8%

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Granted, Gallup says the poll didn’t specify the definitions of pro-choice or pro-life, so we don’t really know what those respondents said. I, for example, am legislatively pro-choice- I think laws outlawing abortion are counterproductive and wrong- but I am morally pro-life- I personally see no justifiable abortion save in instances wherein the woman’s life is in danger. So what would I answer, where would I fit? I would probably have answered ‘pro-choice’ had I been polled- but my vote would not have been for the women-have-the-absolute-right-to-abort-and-men-can’t-interfere ideology that feminists seem to assume pro-choice respondents ought to hold.

So anyway, there are two conclusions we can draw from these poll results (which were published in 2013, by the way.)

First, it doesn’t seem that there is a vast male conspiracy to control female bodies. Certainly it appears that there are more men opposed to abortion than women, and certainly that may have to do with the fact that they are not the subjects of this conflict- women are. But given that a full 40% of men consider themselves pro-choice, it would be a far stretch to say that men in general try to put women down (and this is just my personal musing, but I would damn well bet that the majority of men who responded pro-choice are more desirous of having sex with lots of women- and thus making abortions more frequent, if they screw up- than the 50% of men who responded saying that they’re pro-life. Prove me wrong.)

But second and more striking, IT WOULD APPEAR THAT THERE IS AN EVEN SPLIT DOWN THE MIDDLE ON WOMEN’S VIEWS OF ABORTION. This is HUGE. This COMPLETELY invalidates the feminist narrative, that all women seek abortion rights. It shows that there is a significant pro-life portion of the female population that does not feel represented or included in the feminist viewpoint that abortion is a woman’s right. It shows that the feminists who claim to speak for all women actually- and no one is surprised- represent but a faction of women.

This should be something of a relief for pro-lifers and something of a warning for feminist pro-choicers. Nothing wrong with having your views; but it’s important that neither side claims to speak for the majority of American women, because quite frankly, neither does. (It would be probably best, though, for both sides to moderate their rhetoric and their demonization of the other- if Americans are truly as moderate as many other polls seem to suggest, it would seem that strong abortion rhetoric in either direction makes more enemies than friends.)

I’m tempted to conclude with an old ditty of mine, ‘The world really is more interesting than it seems.’ The world is so complicated, human nature so confusing and human societies so complex, that no vapid ideological model would ever be able to capture the full beauty of it. Better to think and deal with facts, than to feel and make your own.

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