Abortion advocates are enthusiastically touting a new poll which purports to be proof that pro-lifers are inherently misogynistic and oppose women’s equality. The survey of 1,912 likely voters was conducted by Supermajority and PerryUndem. Supermajority was co-founded by Cecile Richards, the former Planned Parenthood president who left an appallingly anti-woman legacy in her wake. This group holds an obvious bias and conflict of interest — but of course, that was completely ignored in the rush to smear pro-lifers as misogynists who hate women and don’t actually care about protecting life.
One section of the poll divides respondents into those who support abortion, and those who oppose it, and then asks them questions about supposed equality issues. The results showed that pro-lifers were less likely to agree with certain statements, like wanting “equal numbers of men and women in positions of power in our society,” or agree that “access to birth control affects women’s equality.” Unsurprisingly, abortion advocates wasted no time turning the poll’s results into ‘proof’ of the pro-life movement’s so-called inherent misogyny.
But the poll’s slanted and unreliable findings do not mean that pro-lifers hate women; despite the frequent claims of abortion supporters, pro-lifers regularly help women and their born children. This despicable attempt to defame pro-lifers is nothing more than a sign of the growing desperation endemic in the abortion movement.
Ardent abortion activist Jill Filipovic claimed in her column for the Guardian regarding the poll, “Abortion rights advocates have spent decades pointing out that these self-styled pro-lifers don’t seem to care much about ‘life’ once a baby is born.” She added, “They want to cut aid to needy children and healthcare to poor mothers and pregnant women. They oppose contraception and sex education – the most effective ways to reduce the abortion rate. Many of them continue to support a president who separates small children from their parents and keeps them in squalid cages. ‘Life,’ it seems, has precious little to do with being ‘pro-life’. This survey is another example of how abortion opposition is tied up in a whole knot of misogyny.”
Wonkette writer Evan Hurst claimed the poll proves that being pro-life isn’t about protecting the lives of the vulnerable, but is instead “about control, and it’s about punishment.” NARAL tweeted that the poll “found highly misogynistic views among anti-choice voters.”
But in a recent column for Secular Pro-Life, Nathan Apodaca points out just how ridiculous these claims are, when one simply looks at what should already be obvious:
There’s a very good explanation for why you will never see pro-life groups protesting tattoo parlors or breast enlargement clinics. You will never see someone sidewalk counseling outside of plastic surgery facilities. The number of pro-lifers devoting any time to these establishments is zero. The reason is very simple, actually: Pro-lifers really do believe abortion intentionally kills an innocent human being, and thus should be stopped, unlike any other elective surgery….
The notion that the pro-life movement is hiding its desires to control women is juvenile. Critics of the pro-life view need to do better than that. Pro-lifers argue that it’s wrong to intentionally kill an innocent human being. Elective abortion does that. Therefore, elective abortion is wrong.
In other words, our critics must take the time to answer our essential argument, instead of contriving silly conspiracy theories about why people oppose abortion.
Political scientist and The Catholic University of America professor Michael New also gave a statement to Live Action News criticizing the celebration of this poll, rightly pointing out that the poll was biased… and, frankly, doesn’t line up with what is already known. “The Supermajority/PerryUndem poll does not publicly breakdown abortion attitudes by gender,” said New. “However, a very substantial body of survey research shows that men and women hold relatively similar views on abortion. Furthermore, a number of polls indicate that women are actually more likely than men to support a range of incremental pro-life laws including 20 week abortion bans. It is hard to believe that the millions of pro-life women in America espouse pro-life views because they want to hurt or control other women.” (emphasis added)
… [S]ome of the questions which Filipovic and other commentators claim show animus toward women are actually issues where people of good will can disagree. For instance, some argue that great access to birth control has helped women, while others think it has created a culture of sexual irresponsibility that has made it easier for men to abandon women they impregnate. The question of how well male elected officials can represent the views and interests of female constituents is another issue where reasonable people can certainly disagree.
Then New got to the heart of what’s behind polls like this: a desire to avoid the true issue — that abortion takes a human life — and to completely misrepresent what pro-lifers believe. He told Live Action News, “As sonogram technology has improved, there have been durable, long-term gains in pro-life sentiment,” adding that “good investigative research has exposed a great deal of misconduct on the part of Planned Parenthood and other facilities that perform abortions.”
Because of this, he says, “it should come as no surprise that groups supporting legal abortion want to shift focus away from the unborn and instead impugn the motives of pro-lifers who seek to legally protect the weak and vulnerable.”
Editor’s Note, 8/27/19: Correction; Dr. Michael New is now professor at The Catholic University of America.
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