People Who Are Anti-Abortion Are Also Sexist, Worrying Study Finds

FILE - In this Sept. 18, 2007 file photo, protesters march near a Planned Parenthood location in Aurora, Ill. Some Illinois l
FILE - In this Sept. 18, 2007 file photo, protesters march near a Planned Parenthood location in Aurora, Ill. Some Illinois lawmakers are seeking to require annual inspections for all the state's abortion clinics, more than three years after officials took steps to reinforce the system following a report by The Associated Press that some facilities had gone 15 years without an inspection. (AP Photo/Stacie Freudenberg, File)

A new study has found a link between sexism and anti-abortion attitudes.

PhD candidate Stephanie Begun and professor N. Eugene Walls published a study in the May 2015 issue of peer-reviewed journal Affilia: Journal of Women and Social Work linking sexist attitudes with anti-abortion sentiment, and proving no one is crazy for thinking that lack of access to abortion services have a lot to do with sexism.

Begun used data gathered from a previous survey of 651 undergraduate students from six universities, 70 percent or whom were female and 30 percent male. Analyzing their responses to a series of online surveys, she looked at three potential predictors of anti-choice attitudes: Hostile sexism, benevolent sexism, and combined scores of hostile and benevolent sexism together. Research suggests that benevolent sexism pigeonholes women into roles as nurturers and caregivers, and that women who seek abortions fail to live up to this ideal, hence the connection between benevolent sexism and abortion.

Participants were asked how much they agreed with "benevolent" sexist statements like "in a disaster, women ought to be rescued before men" and "a good woman should be set on a pedestal by her man," as well as hostile sexist statements like "women are too easily offended" and "feminists are seeking for women to have more power over men."

"The results showed that as people increasingly endorsed hostile sexist views, they were statistically significantly more likely to hold anti-choice abortion attitudes," Begun told The Huffington Post. "The same was true for people who endorse benevolent sexist views of women -- and to the exact same degree as those who endorsed hostile sexist views."

Those who scored highly on the combined scale of benevolent and hostile sexism were even more likely to hold anti-abortion views, which Begun told HuffPost "[shows] that both types of [sexism] are dangerous to supporting a woman's right to choose, and even more dangerous when both forms are endorsed."

These results held true across gender lines, showing just how nuanced sexism can be -- and explaining why the fight for a woman's right to choose is so complicated.



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