There are certain divisions in the American electorate that we keep coming back to to explain why people think and vote the way they do. Age, gender, race, education – you know the drill. But other, harder-to-spot departments can be just as important, if not more so. These hidden departments are not about important statistics or affiliations. They are about how people see the world.
Take the issue of abortion. It’s been in the headlines ever since a leaked Supreme Court ruling suggested that five judges were willing to hear Roe v. to overthrow Wade, giving states the power to ban abortion for the first time in about 50 years. Much speculation has focused on how such a judgment comes about would affect female votersespecially if it could push more women to vote for the Democrats in this year’s midterm elections.
But this framework is not the only way to look at the problem. Even if abortion is common presented as a women’s issueit is not a subject of strong disagreement between men and women. As you delve into the polls and research, it becomes clear that the divide is less about people’s individual gender and more about the way they are think about gender. People who believe in traditional gender roles—and perceive that these roles are increasingly being blurred to the detriment of men—are much more likely to oppose abortion than people who don’t hold these beliefs.
The dividing lines of the abortion debate are not just about the morality of abortion. It’s also about ideas of power. Who has it? Who does not? And who should? And the impact of these beliefs isn’t limited to abortion — it affects other culture struggles as well, particularly whether men are discriminated against.
Whenever abortion is in the news, a lot of discussion inevitably ensues how women will react. Losing access to safe, legal abortions will result in more women becoming pregnant. The problem itself is often framed in relation to women’s rights and autonomy. The problem is that not all women feel this way about abortion. According to a recent survey by the Pew Research CenterMen and women in the US have very similar views on the legality of abortion.