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The Abortion Debate Is NOT a Male vs. Female Issue

by Chris Hearn 2 years ago in controversies

Gender doesn't dictate what one feels about abortion.

Photo by Maria Oswalt on Unsplash

Alabama just passed strict new anti-abortion laws that would essentially make it illegal to have an abortion except in very few situations. And if you happen to be a doctor that performs an abortion, you could end up going to jail for a whopping 99 years. Heck, this law is so restrictive that the ordinarily ultra-conservative televangelist Pat Robertson has basically said, "Whoa, Alabama, don't you think you went a little too far here?" You know things might be out of hand when even ol' Pat is wincing at the punitive measures being put into place by anti-abortionists.

As you can see by the tweet sent out by the Governor of Alabama, Kay Ivey, she is proud to be signing this piece of legislation into law.

Now, if you take a close look at that name and the picture of the Governor, you may notice something. This law is being authorized by... a woman. Why is this of importance? Because even though this is the case of a woman putting a restrictive abortion law into place, if one looks at social media, one would think that this is a war on women BY men... specifically old, white men. This is the narrative that gets repeated over and over and over, and it's gotta stop. Why? Because it's just not true. The reality is, there are almost as many women who oppose abortion as there are men who oppose abortion. And both men and women who oppose abortion are in the minority!

Although several organizations have done polls regarding this issue, let's take a look at a recent Gallup poll and it's findings.

"Many US political leaders may think of abortion as a key 'women's issue,' but it is not an issue about which women have substantially different attitudes than men. A Gallup analysis shows that differences in views on the legality of abortion between men and women have been relatively narrow for decades, going back to the 1970s. Additionally, there are only slight differences in men's and women's descriptions of themselves as pro-choice or pro-life."

Chart Image from Gallup

So, based on this, one can clearly see that this issue is NOT gender. Both genders seem fairly equal when it comes to their views. So, if gender isn't the issue, what is? Simply put, it's the ideology. This is not a men vs. women issue... this is a pro-choice vs. anti-abortion issue. And that is absolutely how it should be framed.

A good example of the men vs. women narrative that we see persisting around the abortion debate would be Alyssa Milano's recent call for a sex strike. That was very much a concept that pitted men vs. women in this debate, and that is a discouraging viewpoint. It doesn't recognize the fact that roughly the same number of women and men are both opposed to abortion, OR the fact that the majority of both men AND women do support some level of choice.

In the case of Alabama, the most powerful person in the state is a woman and she gleefully signed this bill into law. And those supporting her were a healthy mix of both men AND women, all opposed to abortion. This was not a case of men being at war with women. This is a case of those against abortion being at war with those who want to preserve the right of a person to choose for themselves.

Heck, there is even a branch of feminism that calls itself pro-life feminism. One group that pushes that particular agenda is Feminists for Life, but that isn't the only one. So, clearly, again, it isn't a men vs. women issue. It's anti-abortion vs. pro-choice. Even feminists are divided over the issue.

The abortion debate need not be presented as a Mars vs. Venus gender war. It is an ideological war, where two opposing groups have very different ideas of ethics and morality. It is a clash of beliefs. As we see by the above poll, these ideological differences do NOT appear to be driven by gender. So let's not frame it as a gender war. Let's be honest about what it really is.

Chris Hearn
Chris Hearn
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Chris Hearn

I'm a 47 year old writer, amateur photographer and amateur dad living in Winnipeg, MB, Canada.

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