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Every now and then I see this resurface:
I'd be interested to know how they're defining
The first implication is that men shouldn't have a say in the abortion debate, a ludicrous claim we've addressed before. The next implication is that the pro-life movement is primarily composed of, and orchestrated by, men.
This claim is, of course, total crap.
The pro-life movement is filled with women. For example, check out the break down of SPL's Facebook followers:
Women make up 46% of Facebook users, but 60% of our followers. (Thanks, ladies!)
But SPL is a relatively small group. Maybe our stats having nothing to do with the overall pro-life movement. Maybe we're just some random aberration in a mostly pro-choice nation.
Ha! Not exactly.
According to Gallup, roughly half of Americans call themselves "pro-life."
If being anti-abortion means being anti-woman, we'd expect self-described pro-lifers would be almost all men, and almost all women would describe themselves as "pro-choice." Right? But of course that's not the reality:
These stats have a 4 point margin of error, so numbers within 8 points of each other are statistically equivalent. In other words, statistically, women are just as likely to describe themselves as "pro-life" versus "pro-choice," and pro-lifers are just as likely to be women versus men.
So no, we can't say almost all women are "pro-choice." In fact, not even a majority of women call themselves pro-choice. Likewise, self-described pro-lifers aren't almost all men. Statistically, there's no correlation between a person's gender and whether they call themselves "pro-life" or "pro-choice."
But there can be a lot of ambiguity about the terms "pro-life" and "pro-choice." People who aren't really involved in the abortion debate may not define these terms the same way activists do. Some people believe abortion is morally wrong but should remain legal; they may tell pollsters they are "pro-life."
Is that what's going on here? Maybe most women think abortion should generally be legal but just say they are pro-life because they are "personally pro-life"...?
Here, the left two columns are people who think abortion should be legal all or most of the time. The right two columns are people who think abortion should be illegal all or most of the time. According to these stats, 58% of Americans think abortion should generally be illegal; that includes 59% of men and 57% of women. Only 40% of women say abortion should generally be legal. These stats again have a 4 point margin of error, meaning, statistically, the same amount of men and women think abortion should generally be illegal, and women are significantly more likely to think abortion should generally be illegal rather than legal.
Of course some argue that you're only pro-life if you believe abortion should be illegal all the time, but in reality very few people believe that. Here, look:
So for example, most pro-lifers believe abortion should be legal if the mother's life is in danger or if the pregnancy resulted from rape. These pro-lifers would then say abortion should be "legal only in a few circumstances." Heck, I believe abortion should be "legal only in a few circumstances."
Furthermore, these stats also show even most pro-choicers support parental consent requirements, mandatory waiting periods, bans on partial-birth abortion, and making abortion illegal in the third trimester. Actually, about half of pro-choicers believe abortion should be illegal even in the 2nd trimester!
Remember, according to Gallup, 48% of Americans call themselves "pro-life" and 45% say "pro-choice," and those numbers break down roughly half and half between men and women. If you apply those numbers to the above policies, that means about 67% of men and women think abortion should be illegal after the 1st trimester, and about 80% of men and women think it should be illegal in the 3rd trimester. Are we to believe that all of these people--including a strong majority of women--want to restrict abortion as part of an "anti-choice War on Women"? Please.
Being anti-abortion isn't about being anti-woman. Being anti-abortion is about protecting fetal life. And no matter how many abortion rights activists insist otherwise, pro-life women know the difference.