Millennials Are Neither ‘Pro-Choice’ Or ‘Pro-Life’

Abortion continues to be an issue that polarizes families and friends alike. The” culture wars” as the media would title it continues to divide the issue into two very distinct camps: pro-choice or pro-life. However, a new report by The Public Religion Research Institute reveals that when it comes to millennials, their sentiments don’t fit so easily into such a binary.

According to the report, millennials are quite conflicted over the issue of abortion. About half (46% percent) of millennials said that having an abortion is morally acceptable. However, this demographic is no more likely than other demographics to advocate for legal abortion in any or most circumstances. The Public Religion Research Institute observes that “these findings suggest general measures of legality may not fully capture support for legal abortion among millennials.”

Further tension between the “pro-life” versus “pro-choice” terminology is evidenced in the institute’s polling of all Americans, including millennials:

Seven-in-ten Americans say the term ”pro-choice” describes them somewhat or very well, and nearly two-thirds simultaneously say the term ”pro-life” describes them somewhat or very well.  This overlapping identity is present in virtually every demographic group.

Millennials’ conflicted attitudes about abortion — that is personal feelings as opposed to what should be legal — says more about the dangerous framing of this issue than anything else. After all, the sentiments behind the term “pro-choice” is not what you would do or what you think is best, but what can ultimately work for the woman in question.

Being pro-choice is not a reflection of what decisions you or your partner would make. A pro-choice mentality protects the availability of a specific option for others. There is absolutely room in the pro-choice tent for those who are personally against abortion or, for whatever reason, would never have the procedure themselves. Constructing abortion rights around frantic discussion of what you, or your daughter, or girlfriend, or wife “would do” is not what this debate is ultimately about.


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