The Truth About Gender and the Abortion Issue

Political Myth: Women are more likely than men to be pro-choice.  Men are more likely than women to be pro-life

Reality: There is very little difference between men and women in terms of attitudes toward the abortion issue.


Responses to opinion polls about attitudes toward abortion tend to vary widely depending on how the question is phrased, but they are a good way to measure the “gender gap” on the abortion issue (if there is one), since both men and women are asked the same questions.  In 2002, ABC News/Washington Post did a public opinion poll that indicated 44% of men and 42% of women believed that “abortion should generally be available to those who want it.”  35% of women and 34% of men believed “abortion should be available, but under stricter limits than it is now.”

More recently, a 2011 Gallup Poll found that 49% of men and 50% of women self-identified as “pro-choice,” indicating that a person’s gender is not a very good predictor of a person’s attitudes toward abortion.  Better predictors include age (younger people tend to be slightly more pro-choice than older people) and party affiliation (Roughly 2/3 of Republicans are pro-life, while 2/3 of Democrats are pro-choice.  51% of independents are pro-choice and 41% pro life.)

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