The Real Dividing Line On Abortion

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.

The Pew poll found that more women (40 percent) than men (30 percent) said they had thought “a lot” about abortion. But that doesn’t mean that women’s views on the subject are any more uniform. In fact, some of the most prominent anti-abortion advocates and Politician are women. One reason is that Religion is a good predictor of beliefs about abortionand Women tend to be more religious than men. Some anti-abortion advocates also see this as a women’s rights issue, but in a different sense of the word – they argue that abortion harms women.

It turns out that people with different views on what it takes to achieve gender equality also think quite differently about abortion — at least that’s what Tresa Undema co-founder of the nonpartisan research firm PerryUndem, found. In a recent poll, her firm found that 69 percent of voters who want the Supreme Court to overthrow Roe agreed with the statement, “These days society seems to punish men only for acting like men,” while a similar proportion of the Voters who support Roe (63 percent) disagree. In a survey from 2019 with whom PerryUndem has collaborated supermajority, a left-leaning advocacy group focused on women as a voting bloc, they found that likely voters who oppose abortion rights are generally much less likely to believe that the balance of power between men and women is unequal or that issues such as access to Birth control and women’s political representation affect women’s equality.

These results align with decades of research suggesting that abortion beliefs are closely related to how people think about motherhood, sex, and women’s social roles. In the 1980s, the sociologist Kristin Luker argued that abortion is such a persistent issue because people on both sides of the debate have fundamentally different ideas about women’s autonomy. In her opinion, supporters of abortion rights saw decision-making ability of women about her body as fundamental to women’s equality, while anti-abortion advocates believed that this focus on autonomy undermines the importance of women’s role as mothers.

This analysis can feel a little stuck in the Reagan era, especially since Support for women working outside the home has grown rapidly since the 1980s. Tricia Brucea sociologist affiliated with the Center for the Study of Religion and Society at the University of Notre Dame Researched attitudes towards abortionsaid that people who are anti-abortion don’t “necessarily [coming] from a place where women only belong in one sphere, which is motherhood.” But views of power and control are still crucial, she said. As opposed to a focus on women’s ability to make decisions about their own bodies, anti-abortion advocates see that choice in a broader context, in which other people also have opinions that matter. “We hear from women and their spouses what is the role of the father,” she said. “The idea is that this isn’t a decision that women should make in isolation.”

The divide between people who support traditional gender roles—particularly those who believe that modern society upsets the balance of those roles by giving women too much power—and people who disagree with that position breeds other culture wars. That’s partly why former President Donald Trump’s hypermasculine persona has worked so well for him politically Why Republican politicians continued to focus on the idea that men face discrimination, fueled by a backlash to the #MeToo movement and by declining higher education and rising rates of loneliness among men.

Of course, these arguments do not appeal to all men, and You approach some women.

These messages address fears shared by men and Women on the fading influence of traditional gender roles – in this case, traditional masculinity. Political scientists have found that when people think about threats to their power and status, political behavior and attitudes change, making basing it on these fears a viable political strategy. For example, in an experimental study from 2016the authors found that when men’s masculinity was threatened by the prospect of job loss, these men were more likely to say they wanted a male president—which of the two candidates was Trump.

This also helps explain why there are usually major political differences under men and women as between She. For example, studies show that men who adhere to more rigid notions of male identity, used as proxies to support traditional gender roles, look very different on political issues than men who identify as less masculine, as we wrote in 2020. Another way of looking at these divisions is through the lens of partisanship. according to a current survey According to the American Enterprise Institute’s Survey Center on American Life, 25 percent of Democratic men and 20 percent of Democratic women agreed with the statement “Today’s American society has become too soft and feminine,” while 78 percent of Republican men and 65 percent of Republican women agreed. And just 26 percent of Democratic men and 20 percent of Democratic women agreed with the statement “White men are too often blamed for problems in American society,” compared with 75 percent of Republican men and 60 percent of Republican women.

All of this complicates the conventional political wisdom about how and why voters will react to policy changes and messages. It’s a little pointless to ask if women as a whole would mobilize in response to the Supreme Court’s overthrow of Roe, given that women have such widely differing views on abortion. Instead, it is more insightful to examine other facets of people’s identities – such as their beliefs about gender roles – that are less visible but more politically influential.

“Abortion becomes personal to people who see it as proxies for men, mostly white men, depriving women of power,” Undem said. “It’s not a process. It’s about women’s place in the world.”

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