SSN Commentary

Religion, Not Gender, Is the Key Dividing Line on Abortion

Policy field

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Cornell University

Originally published as "Religion, Not Gender, Is the Key Dividing Line on Abortion," Times Union, May 19, 2022.

With the leaked U.S. Supreme Court draft opinion that directly threatens Roe v. Wade continuing to dominate headlines, a common response has been to question whether men should be able to tell women what to do with their bodies. This is a good question, but it doesn’t address the fact that there are many women on both sides of the debate about reproductive choice. That is because religion, rather than gender, is the key dividing line on abortion rights in the United States.

Knowing about someone’s religion is likely going say more about their views on abortion than knowing their gender. And yet religion and gender are connected in a meaningful way: Women are substantially more religious and their views are then more likely to be shaped by religion.