The Sciences

Polarization on abortion in the USA

Gene ExpressionBy Razib KhanDec 9, 2010 7:06 AM

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news
 

Some comments below made me want to look at attitudes toward abortion in the USA by ideology over the decades. I know that political party polarization on social issues has played out mostly over the past 20 years or, but I assumed that this was less evident in ideology (mostly, liberal Republicans became Democrats and conservative Democrats became Republicans). I looked at the ABANY question:

Please tell me whether or not you think it should be possible for a pregnant woman to obtaina legal abortion if:The woman wants it for any reason?

Then I combined years to produce four decades. 1977-1980 = 70s, 1981-1990 = 80s, 1991-2000 = 90s, and 2001-2008 = 00s. I compared this with the POLVIEWS variable, which goes from extremely liberal to extremely conservative. I constrained the sample to whites to control somewhat for population confounds. Below are the results by decade in various formats.


Raw data, % who say "yes" to abortion for any reason:


DecadeExtreme LiberalLiberalSlightly LiberalModerateSlightly ConservativeConservativeExtremely Conservative

1970s62494234363331

1980s66564938383019

1990s72665943402622

2000s79695542362126


As you can see, the gap between extremes went from 30 points in the 70s to 50 points in the 00s.

1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month
Already a subscriber? Log In or Register
1 free articleSubscribe
Want unlimited access?

Subscribe today and save 70%

Subscribe

Already a subscriber? Log In or Register
More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Join
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

 
Subscribe
To The Magazine

Save up to 70% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2021 Kalmbach Media Co.