Whether you’re a conservative or liberal, most Americans can’t answer basic health questions about abortion
In America, the right to have an abortion has been legal since before I was born. Since the landmark court case of Roe V. Wade in 1973, abortion has been a lawful practice among women. The debate surrounding abortion however seems far from over.
The 1973 decision reinforced the ideological division in the country. It has produced some hard-line conservatives who want the decision reversed and liberals who want to keep the status quo. Surprisingly, given the amount of emotion the abortion debate brings out on both sides, neither side can answer some very basic questions.
A new national study by the University of Cincinnati reveals that regardless of your political ideology and location, Americans can’t answer some basic health questions about abortion.
For starters, only 41 percent of those surveyed knew that one in three women will seek an abortion before the age of 45. The survey then asked some important health questions:
Which had the greater health risk: An abortion in the first three months of pregnancy or giving birth? The answer, which only 31 percent of respondents got right, is giving birth.
Is a woman who has an abortion in the first three months of pregnancy more likely to have breast cancer than if she were to continue the pregnancy? The answer is of course no, but only 37 percent got it right.
Another interesting questions was whether or not a woman who has an abortion in the first three months of pregnancy is more at risk of a serious mental health problem than if she were to continue that pregnancy. Again the answer was no, but only 31% answered correctly.
A woman having an abortion in the first three months of pregnancy is more likely to have difficulty getting pregnant in the future. This statement is false, but only 35 percent of people knew that.
According to the survey, only 13 percent of respondents demonstrated a high knowledge of abortion. To add insult to injury, 7 percent incorrectly thought that abortion in the first 12 weeks was illegal and another 11 percent didn’t know if it was illegal or not.
The demographics of the survey was split pretty evenly among sex and age. However 37 percent described themselves as very or somewhat liberal, 38 percent felt they were moderate and 25 percent identified as somewhat or very conservative.
One has to wonder how much worse the results of the survey would have been if it were a tad more even handed. Nonetheless, it gives us good insight on an issue that we know little about, but has polarized the nation for decades.
One can surely look to the education system and the lack of proper sexual education as a reason behind these terrible results. On the other hand, there might be other factors at play here.
There is a large amount of religious conservatives at the state and federal level who try and restrict access to abortion. The best way for them to get these restrictions past without a public outcry is to provide a mass amount of misinformation to their constituents.
While this deceptive approach is obviously working on the base of the Republican Party, it is clearly rubbing off on the liberals among us. Liberals who should know better. It’s hard to debate an issue like abortion when the people on the right side of the fight don’t even know the answers to the argument.
If those who identify as progressive don’t take the time to educate themselves on the issues, we are going to keep losing the big battles… and it won’t stop with abortion.