As Roe v. Wade turns 40 this year, the discussion about reproductive rights in America is as heated as ever. With an election cycle that ushered in a slew of despicable comments about rape from politicians and pundits alike, the disparity between those for and against abortion in America became even more abundantly clear. But it turns out that all those misinformed comments about sexual assault and women’s health weren’t very persuasive—at least not in the way that the speakers intended.
A new NBC/WSJ poll shows that the majority of Americans think that abortion should be legal in most, if not all, cases. This is the first time that public opinion has been in favor of legal abortion in America. And just in time for Roe v. Wade’s court date, the poll also shows that 70 percent of Americans oppose the decision being overturned. This is a huge shift from 1989, when only 58 percent of Americans opposed overturning the decision. Pollsters say that this change in statistics is due in large part to the voices of African Americans and Latinos.
This change of heart may very well be the result of this year’s infuriating rape-related soundbites from Republican politicians. Their very public misunderstanding of gender equality, sexual assault, and women’s health (not to mention basic biology) could be responsible for this new majority in public opinion. Maybe all those dudes blathering on about "legitimate rape" were actually double agents, seeking to rally people behind the fight for reproductive rights! Maybe those cringeworthy interviews were elaborate pieces of satirical performance art! OK, yeah, wishful thinking. But whatever the intention, the results (inadvertent as they may be) are looking good.
Photo via Luke Sharrett/Redux/Eyevine
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