Wednesday, July 22, 2015

No, men aren't 77% of anti-abortion leaders

Above: the front of the line at the 2015 March for Life in Washington, D.C.
You've probably seen the black-and-white poster that boldly proclaims: "77% of anti-abortion leaders are men. 100% of them will never be pregnant."

The 77% figure has always struck me as high. I've been active in the pro-life movement for about eight years. In my experience, the gender balance is pretty even; if anything there tend to be slightly more women.

The poster was created by a group called the Pro-Choice Public Education Project. Their website doesn't contain a source. So I emailed them over the weekend, asking: "Can you provide a source for the statistic that 77% of anti-abortion leaders are men? People are challenging me on it and pointing me to anti-choice orgs that are led by women. Thanks."

No response.

So I thought I'd try putting the data together for myself. But I immediately ran into a problem: who is a "leader," exactly?

Do you have to lead an organization, or would a pro-life journalist, politician, or other public figure count? If we're talking about organizations, does that include any and all organizations that take a pro-life stance, like the Republican Party and its various state and local affiliates, or just organizations that exist for the primary purpose of advancing the right to life?

How big does the pro-life organization have to be? Do local/regional pregnancy resource centers count? (If so, the number of female pro-life leaders skyrockets.) Or should the organization have to be statewide, national, or international? What about organizations like Secular Pro-Life, which has active members nationwide but is not "big" in terms of budget?

Drawing the line is completely subjective, which explains the 77% figure. I'm quite sure I could manipulate the definition of "leader" to produce any result I please.

But I won't. The pro-life movement is better than that. Instead, I encourage you to get involved and see the diversity of our movement for yourself!

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