It’s the issue that most epitomizes our ‘us’ versus ‘them’ political culture, but actually talking to people yields much more nuance
By Tricia C. Bruce
Sept. 25, 2020
Americans’ attitudes on abortion have remained relatively steady for decades, or so the polls say. Roughly half of Americans identify as “pro-choice,” half as “pro-life”; roughly half see abortion as “morally acceptable,” half as “morally wrong.” Most believe that abortion should be legal in some or all cases—or, framed another way, most support some kind of legal restrictions on abortion.
This division and stability over time make the issue of abortion look different from other social issues such as same-sex marriage, approval for which has been climbing for decades. The rift among Americans over abortion persists in ways that seem to epitomize the polarizing climate of U.S. culture and politics, of “us” versus “them,” as we’ll be reminded in heated discussion of Roe v. Wade in the confirmation battle for a new Supreme Court justice in the weeks ahead.