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Tipsheet

Pew Survey Shows Women's Views on Abortion Align With Men's Worldwide, Bucking the 'Women's Issue' Narrative

According to a new analysis of Pew research survey data, women and men do not differ significantly in their views on abortion. This undermines the idea pushed by abortion advocates that abortion is a “women’s rights issue.”

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Pew noted that the data from 34 European countries and the U.S. showed that “regardless of the overall support for legal abortion, women and men in 27 of the 34 countries surveyed do not differ significantly in their views about whether abortion should be legal.”

In the U.S., they found, 60 percent of women and 57 percent of men favor legal abortion.

These results align with a recent Gallup analysis also showing that in the U.S. women’s views on the issue of abortion are not substantially different than men’s views.

“Since 1990,” Gallup said, “the average gender difference in the view that abortion should be legal in all circumstances is four percentage points, with women more likely than men to hold that attitude. For the past four years, an average of 31% of women and 26% of men have held this view.”

Pew found that in the European countries where women and men do differ on abortion, it’s not always in the same direction.

“In countries including Armenia and Lithuania, women are more likely than men to say abortion should be legal,” they wrote. “By contrast, Portuguese and Norwegian women are less likely than men to say abortion should be legal.”

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One potential explanation for women across the globe not being more supportive of abortion than men is religion.

“Women around the world tend to be more religious than men,” Pew noted. “In other words, attitudes toward abortion may be tied more closely to religion than gender.”

“Women who frequently attend religious services are much more likely than women who attend less often to say abortion should be illegal,” they added. “For example, 61% of Norwegian women who attend religious services monthly say abortion should be illegal, compared with just 11% of those who do not participate as frequently — a 50-percentage-point difference.”

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