Pew Study Finds 'No Gender Gap' on Abortion Debate Positions

A recently released study by two departments of a major survey organization found that among respondents there was no statistically significant gender gap on the issues surrounding the abortion debate.

The study was conducted jointly by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press and the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life. It was released less than a week before the 40th anniversary of the controversial U.S. Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade.

"There are no significant gender differences in opinions about the Roe v. Wade decision, the importance of abortion as an issue, or the morality of abortion," said the researchers on Wednesday.

Survey data was gathered from Jan. 9 to Jan. 13 and included a sample space of 1,502 American adults asked via telephone interviews conducted in either English or Spanish.

When asked if abortion was immoral, 45 percent of men and 49 percent of women agreed. When respondents were asked if Roe should be overturned, 63 percent of men and 64 percent of women disagreed.

An equal percentage of male and female respondents stated that they consider abortion a "critical issue" (18 percent), while near equal percentages felt that abortion was "not that important" an issue (54 percent for men, 52 percent for women).

More significant differences in opinions over abortion were found through the religious affiliation of respondents, as noted by the researchers.

"There are deep differences among religious groups, as well as a wide partisan gap, in opinions about the moral acceptability of having an abortion," read the Pew Research paper.

"Most white evangelical Protestants (73 percent), as well as 55 percent of white Catholics and 53 percent of black Protestants, say it is morally wrong to have an abortion. That compares with 36 percent of white mainline Protestants and just 20 percent of the religiously unaffiliated."

Other findings of the study included the Millennial generation being "far less aware" of the Supreme Court decision than other demographics and wide differences among party identification over the morality and legality of abortion.

According to researchers, most Americans oppose completely overturning Roe v. Wade and the opinions on the case have remained largely unchanged over the past 20 years.

"More than six-in-ten (63 percent) say they would not like to see the court completely overturn the Roe v. Wade decision, which established a woman's constitutional right to abortion at least in the first three months of pregnancy," wrote the researchers.

"Only about three-in-ten (29 percent) would like to see the ruling overturned. These opinions are little changed from surveys conducted 10 and 20 years ago."

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