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Culture

New Poll: Millennial Women Are Skeptical of Feminism and Abortion

Earlier this month, Refinery29 released a survey of more than 2,000 Millennial women, in collaboration with CBS News, polling them on a range of political issues. Most of the media coverage has focused on the fact that a low percentage of Millennial women (ages 18-35) say they support President Donald Trump. The poll also contains some interesting findings on the attitudes of Millennial women toward feminism and abortion.

For instance, the poll found that only 46 percent of Millennial women identify as feminists, and Refinery29 published a subsequent story on this part of the poll, including follow-up interviews with some of the women surveyed. One woman said she believes feminists place too much emphasis on issues such as abortion and contraception, while others said they disapprove of the way some feminists accept provocative clothing choices and promiscuous lifestyles. One woman said she feels that modern feminists ignore the needs of minority women. Other respondents said they believe that most women are doing well economically, and thus that feminist complaints are dated.

The poll also found that only 28 percent of Millennial women believe abortion should be available for any reason, while 72 percent think there should be some legal protections for the unborn. Interestingly, both Pew and Gallup have asked similar survey questions about abortion and have found comparable results among the general public. Contrary to the views of many pundits, the attitudes of Millennial women toward abortion are broadly consistent with those of society at large. Furthermore, the poll found that the most important policy issue for Millennial women was actually health care — not abortion.

The polling results also indicated, though, that only 29 percent of Millennial women are either “happy” or “satisfied” with Donald Trump’s presidency.  Similarly, only 30 percent feel that the country is going in the right direction and, by a two-to-one margin, Millennial women want the Democratic party to take control of Congress in 2018. Overall, the Refinery29 poll is consistent with most survey data, which find that the current generation of young adults is skeptical toward feminism and sympathetic to instituting some protections for the unborn, even as young adults are less likely than other demographic groups to support Republican political candidates. Identifying strategies to effectively engage young people remains both a challenge and an opportunity for conservatives and pro-lifers.

Michael J. New is a visiting assistant professor of social research and political science at the Catholic University of America and an associate scholar at the Charlotte Lozier Institute in Washington, D.C.

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