Men have been more pro-choice over the past 30 years

abany2One of the weird things that annoys me about American politics is the idea that support for abortion rights is particular in some way to women. This is very common on the Left side of the political spectrum, but strangely for the self-described “reality based community” it has basically no correspondence with reality at the first pass.* All you need to do is look at the General Social Survey, which as a variable “ABANY” which asks respondents if it should be legal for a woman to have an abortion for any reason. The question has been asked every few years since 1977. I limited the data to whites only, and what you can see above is that year to year there is actually a correlation between men and women when it came to a “Yes” response. I was actually surprised by that. The jumps are not total noise, but reflect changes in the Zeitgeist (the rule of thumb is that the populace becomes more pro-choice during Republican presidencies and more pro-life during Democratic ones).

The second plot illustrates that for most of the years since 1977 men have supported abortion on demand at a higher clip than women. It doesn’t prove anything, except that reality is a little more “problematic” than some people who regularly call in to NPR might think (that’s what triggered this post).

* If you look close, there is evidence that a smaller well educated segment of liberal women are particularly intense about abortion rights.

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