Thursday, January 23, 2014

The "Anti-Choice War On Women"

(Note: You can click on any image to see a larger version.)

Every now and then I see this resurface:

I'd be interested to know how they're defining
"anti-abortion leaders"...

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.

According to Gallup, roughly half of Americans call themselves "pro-life."

Link here.

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:

Link here.

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"...?


Link here.

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:

Link here.

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.


ignorance_is_curable said...

Why is it, if the "title image" specifies anti-abortion leaders the first statistic you present involves followers? Don't you know the difference?

LN said...

The implication is that men are running the PL movement, but as M showed, they're representing mostly women. Don't you know how representation works?

LN said...

Yeah 94% want abortion illegal in the third trimester but only 68% want to ban partial birth abortion?? I can't think of any alternative explanation for that other than 'doesn't know what PBA actually is'.

Tom said...

Doesn't matter. The claim that "X% of anti-abortion leaders are men" is nothing more than a sexist attitude against men meant to discredit men from public discourse simply because of their sex. Hmmmm, somehow that wouldn't fly if it was the other way around...

ignorance_is_curable said...

That is a decent response, thank you.

On the other hand, it doesn't mean that those men cannot have an ulterior motive for wanting to lead abortion opponents. Suppose a man was a secret rapist who wanted his rapes to cause pregnancies? That category of man would oppose abortion!

Or, consider the Law of Supply and Demand, and the many business enterprises that fully understand the consequences of that rule, and also happen to be mostly led by men....

It is well-known how competing companies try to put each other out of business, in order to "corner a market", and thereby raise prices and profits.

What is not-so-well-known is that there is another way to increase profits. All you have to do is oppose abortion! This has two consequences, the first of which directly causes extra Demand for goods --and if you just happen to not increase the Supply at the same rate as the Demand, prices and profits both go up.

The second consequence is longer-term, as babies grow up and start to seek jobs. The more competition for jobs, the lower wages can be --and the more that businesses can profit.

Have you not noticed that in the 1950s the average working man could support a family on just one salary, while today it is often necessary for both parents to have jobs (sometimes 2 jobs each), to be able to support a family? That is a direct result of 60+ years of population and Demand increasing faster than the Supply of resources and jobs. It is the fundamental reason why the rich have gotten richer, and everyone else has gotten poorer, to the extent that economists have noticed that the "middle class" is in danger of extinction.

Oh, yes, men can most definitely have an ulterior motive for being leaders of the anti-abortion movement!

TooManyJens said...

That 77% number has been around for over 15 years, and nobody has EVER been willing to answer the question "Where does this number come from?" I know; I went to the source (the Pro-Choice Education Project) when it started showing up in the late 90s and they wouldn't answer. And even supposing it was true in the late 90s, which there's no reason to believe, that still wouldn't prove that it's true today.

People believe this figure because it fits with what they already believe/want to be true, not because it's backed up with evidence.

Crystal Kupper said...


Alden Smith said...

The most pro life people I know are women. My mom is pro life and she is reason why i am to

Reese said...

Only 22% of all statewide elective executive office positions are currently held by women.

Ericka said...

READ "Land of Diminished Distinctions"! It details how Abortion, genetic engineering along with the rapid spread of the same-sex culture are all attempts to denounce creation and deem mankind the "all in all".

LN said...

Denounce creation..?

Pro Life Liberal said...

"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. "

This is not quite accurate. It is more accurate to say that you cannot reject the hypothesis that women are more or less pro-choice than men.

ockraz said...

Wow- that's off the wall even for you! I'm breaking radio silence for that comment.
1) If you think that men are somehow bamboozling women into being PL (and to the point where PL and PC women are roughly at parity!) then you can't have much respect for women's intellects.

2) You're localizing a global economic phenomenon so that it's true nature is misunderstood and attributing it to a PL conspiracy?! Barriers to free trade and economic growth in developing countries has meant that low skilled manufacturing jobs have moved away from wealthy countries and into poorer ones. That sucks if you're an American with no degree because you're worse off than you would've been in the past. It's great if you're from rural India or China and can send your kids to school for the first time.

ockraz said...

My dad and I argue about abortion whenever politics comes up. He frequently says that he's PC because he cares about women and PL is anti-woman. I always remind him that in that case his wife, mother and sisters are all anti-woman too. lol

ockraz said...

I'm guessing that that stat probably came from the PL caucus in congress or something similar- which would mean that they're defining 'antiabortion leaders' not as 'leaders of the prolife movement' but as leaders (specifically elected officials) who endorse pro-life views. At best it's deceptive.

ockraz said...

PS: Could be worse- I frequently get told: the anti-choicers are just doing whatever they're told by the bishops - !

Alden Smith said...

Now that is irony.

ockraz said...

'doesn't know what PBA actually is' - That's also a prob for polls about RvW. The majority opposes overturning it, but only 62% know RvW is about abortion! I'd love to see a poll that's more granular about understanding. Most people who know it's about abortion think that overturning it would create a ban. I bet that only a tiny fraction of the people - single digits - really know what RvW does!

Might as well poll "overturning the Whiffenpoof ruling!"

MarcusFenix said...

Could also point out where places like PP have been shown to hand over rape victims back to their rapists, not report sexual assaults or crimes, and so on. The list of garbage that pro-abortion supporters do, in this realm, is ceaseless and disgusting.

But *we* are the ones who hate women. *facedesk*

Coyote said...

This pro-abortion choice point, even if it was completely accurate, doesn't mean much. Why? For the same reason that the argument that "Most of the people who consider the Holocaust to be a bad thing were before after 1945; Thus, 100% of these people never experienced and never will experience the Holocaust" is a flawed and a bad argument.

For the record, though, it is theoretically possible that males will get pregnant in the future, whether it will occur due to these males getting a sex change (with better technology than we currently have) and/or due to something else.

Coyote said...

Yes, some/many males can certainly have an ulterior motive for being politically anti-abortion. However, saying that their political positions on this issue are less valid due to this appears to be an example of the appeal to motive fallacy, since regardless of what one's motives are for his or her political positions, one's arguments in themselves due not become any more or any less valid due to this.

Coyote said...

Yes, it's essentially an argumentum ad hominem fallacy, since it is focusing on people's sex/gender, rather than on their arguments themselves.

ignorance_is_curable said...

Yes, some/many males can certainly have an ulterior motive for being politically anti-abortion. However, saying that their political positions on this issue are less valid due to this appears to be an example of the appeal to motive fallacy,
OH? Is there also an "'appeal to emotion' fallacy", and an "'appeal to idiocy' fallacy", and a "'what I want is inherently more important than what you want' fallacy" --because abortion opponents appear to be committing all of them, especially the last.

since regardless of what one's motives are for his or her political positions, one's arguments in themselves due not become any more or any less valid due to this.

In Law, a Judge that has a vested interest in a case is suppose to recuse self from participation.

Why can't the same be true of Debate? We all know how the cigarette industry spent decades downplaying the Facts about the addictive and destructive substances they sell. All because of their vested interest in the outcome!

Well, perhaps the final outcome will copy what happened to the just-as-greedy-and-lying asbestos-use industries....

The point is, why should those with a direct vested interest be allowed to participate in a Debate? Objectivity, not Subjectivity, is the most important thing!

The honest but involved Judge knows that his or her Objectivity is compromised, and that is why withdrawal from participation is the appropriate thing to do.

Why would abortion opponents want compromised participants on their side???

Meanwhile, on the pro-choice side, the most obvious "compromised participants" would, logically, be abortion doctors. I'm pretty sure they are an extreme minority of actual Debate participants! And the next compromised group would of course be pregnant women who desire to abort. Beyond that, though, there are lots of pro-choicers not in either of those categories.

In the interest of fuller disclosure, I'm male and single and know that no pregnancy ever resulted from any of my direct actions.

What of you?

Coyote said...

What exactly is bad about homosexuality and (at least certain kinds/forms of) genetic engineering? In my honest opinion, these things aren't comparable to abortion at all.

Alden Smith said...

So to the person that is marking down. Can you not stand that someone has a different opinion then you and feel to the need to troll our sites. PS We are winning the war!!!

Kiyah Yelton said...

It's a question that the answer depends on the person being polled. A few circumstances could mean whatever it means to you when you are asked the question.
It's looking for a general feeling and idea on abortion. Not asking those polled to outline every single possible scenario in which someone may want to seek an abortion.