Women's ability to control their own reproduction is necessary to achieving gender equality. This isn't just coming from me, but from the public. According to a new poll commissioned by the National Institute for Reproductive Health, a majority of voters say they support legislative agendas the promote women's equality, and which include protections for abortion access. Reproductive health, the results suggest, is not just a social issue in the eyes of many voters -- it's an economic one.
“Voters understand that access to reproductive health care, including abortion, is the key to a woman’s ability to plan her future and provide for her family,” said Andrea Miller, president of the National Institute for Reproductive Health, as reported by ThinkProgress. “The lesson here is that these policies are not controversial.”
The research firm PerryUndem Research/Communication, which conducted the poll on behalf of NIRH, surveyed a representative sample of voters in New York and Pennsylvania, where lawmakers have proposed sweeping gender equality measures. Pollsters found that 8 in 10 voters supported the measures in both states, and 68 percent of respondents said they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who also supported the legislation. When it come to abortion specifically, half of voters in each state stated that access to the procedure is linked to equal opportunity for woman, as well as financial stability -- which makes sense, given that the reason women often decide to have an abortion is out of economic necessity.
Ultimately, a majority of voters in both New York and Pennsylvania linked a woman's ability to control whether and when she has children to her ability to attain equal opportunity. And in both places, nearly three-quarters said family planning was directly connected to women's economic stability and success. So despite the preponderance of lawmakers attempting to frame contraception and abortion access as social issues -- or worse, as issues that only affect women -- it seems Americans are seeing the issues for what they are: questions of equality, justice and general betterment for all.