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Part of the reason for this is that the abortion issue taps into competing, deep-rooted views on the role of men and women in society.The sexual revolution and the radical transformation of the work and personal lives of women after the introduction of the contraceptive pill in the early 1960s — and the guarantee of women’s reproductive rights by the Supreme Court decisions Griswold v. Wade in 1973 — brought these antithetical beliefs about abortion to the fore.For example, on the abortion rights side, last year Gallup found that a clear majority — 64-28 — opposed overturning Roe v Wade.
Leaders of the anti-abortion movement are explicit in placing blame on the sexual revolution for what they see as the larger corruption of the social order, the demand for women’s autonomy and for abortion.“The abortion license has helped to erode the moral foundations of the American civic community,” wrote 39 prominent opponents of abortion in a famous 1996 declaration, “The America We Seek: A Statement of Pro-Life Principle and Concern.”How do its opponents believe abortion has undermined the American moral character?
According to the statement, The abortion license is inextricably bound up with the mores of the sexual revolution.
Among primates, male coercion of females has evolved many times and is expressed in many different of these ancient impulses have become enshrined in patriarchal ideologies.
This helps explain why the most extreme efforts to curtail female reproductive autonomy today are primarily funded by groups linked to Catholic, Orthodox Jewish, Islamic and other belief systems with deep patriarchal roots.
Put another way, “ideology is just the narrative used to sell the strategy that is in one’s interests.”Sarah B.
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Hrdy, professor emerita of anthropology at the University of California, Davis, and the author of “Mother Nature: Maternal Instincts and How They Shape the Human Species,” wrote in reply to my inquiry that the issues touched on in the abortion debate run deep: Nature provides myriad examples of species where males attempt to control who females mate with and when.
Over the years, the abortion debate has become a linchpin in the political battle between Democrats and Republicans, mobilizing Christian evangelicals on the right and supporters of the women’s movement on the left.
Why has the abortion issue had such staying power, compared, for example, with the steady liberalization of views on homosexuality and interracial marriage?
From 1975 to 1988, the views of Democrats and Republicans on abortion were virtually identical, again according to Gallup, when 18 percent to 21 percent of voters in both parties agreed that abortions should be allowed “under any circumstances.” Since 1988, the parties have diverged: by 2018, 46 percent of Democrats, but only 11 percent of Republicans, said abortion should be “available under any circumstances.”Contemporary polling shows that there are a number of contradictions in the public view of abortion.
In some respects, majority opinion is supportive of abortion rights, in others it is opposed.