Abortion Activist Admits Overturning Roe Won’t Cause a Feminist Backlash Because Women are Pro-Life

National   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Dec 3, 2021   |   4:48PM   |   Washington, DC

For years, abortion activists have been trying to drown out public opinion by shouting that abortion is a woman’s issue and men shouldn’t have a say.

They shout it in the streets, decrying pro-life efforts to end abortion and protect unborn babies by calling them “cruel” and “dangerous.”

This week, however, Washington Post columnist Megan McArdle admitted that the widely-publicized outrage about keeping abortion on demand legal is not consistent with polling.

And if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, she predicted that there won’t be the “fierce electoral backlash from women” that abortion activists and their political allies are presuming.

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McArdle wrote:

It seems a reasonable assumption that women care more about abortion than men, since we indisputably bear the burden of pregnancy. As such, it also seems reasonable to assume, as many people do, that a Supreme Court ruling in the Mississippi case to overturn Roe v. Wade would result in a fierce electoral backlash from women belatedly awakened to the dangers of GOP rule.

In fact, there’s no real data to back up those assumptions.

Pointing to decades of polling, she said the division between men and women on abortion is “remarkably small — and arguably non-existent.”

As one example, she cited the University of Chicago’s National Opinion Research Center General Social Survey, which has been polling people about their views on abortion since the 1970s.

Consistent with others’ analyses of other polls, McArdle said the survey shows that public opinion on abortion has not changed much since Roe v. Wade, and men’s and women’s opinions are not that different. In some cases, men are more supportive of legalized abortion than women.

She continued:

In 1972, overwhelming majorities of men and women supported abortion in cases of rape, fetal abnormalities or danger to the mother, with basically no daylight showing between men’s and women’s answers. By 2012, the percentages were virtually unchanged, as was the gender distribution.

To be fair, a small gender gap did emerge in the most recent survey. The men surveyed in 2018 were somewhat more likely than women to support abortion in such cases. But given the stability of answers over the years, this may just mean that 2018 respondents were less representative than usual on abortion rights.

On questions about whether abortions should be legal if a married woman does not want more children or a woman cannot afford more children, the University of Chicago poll found that men and women polled almost evenly in 2012, with a minority (about 40 percent) saying abortions should be legal in such cases.

McArdle argued that Americans’ opinions may change if Roe goes. Right now, Roe prohibits states from protecting unborn babies from abortion before viability, so the public does not have much say in the matter. But if the Supreme Court overturns Roe in a major Mississippi case that it heard this week, she speculated that Americans’ attitudes could shift because they would become more directly involved in the issue.

Whatever happens, McArdle concluded that public opinion has more to do with “values or lifestyle” than being a man or woman.

She is far from the first person to observe the disconnect between what abortion activists loudly portray in the media spotlight and the actual views of the American public. Back in 2015, a New York Times columnist also debunked the stereotype that most women support abortion on demand.

Instead, “conservative women are the most anti-abortion segment of the population, and liberal women are the most in favor of abortion rights. You might say that the more significant difference here is not between men and women, but among women,” columnist Razib Khan wrote.

A number of polls through the years have found strong opposition to abortion on demand among women. Significantly, a new Saint Louis University/YouGov poll found that 56 percent of Missourians agree that the state should prohibit abortions after eight weeks of pregnancy, including 57 percent of women.

And, on Wednesday, pro-life women led the rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court building to call for an end to Roe v. Wade. If the high court overturns Roe, women all across the country – and men, too – will rejoice because the vast majority of Americans recognize that unborn babies are valuable human beings who deserve to be protected under the law.