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Ridiculous study tries and fails to prove pro-lifers are sexist

Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa and her daughter confront Stop Patriarchy

There’s so much pro-abortion propaganda cluttering the web that try as we might, sometimes something slips through the cracks. But there’s no statute of limitations on truth, so today we’re going to talk about a “study” released last year (helpfully sent my way by Live Action News commenter PJ4) that claims “pro-lifers are sexist” isn’t just a malicious pro-abortion cliché; it’s science!

Spoiler alert: it’s not science.

The study, by Professor N. Eugene Walls and PhD candidate Stephanie Begun and published in the May 2015 issue of Affilia: Journal of Women and Social Work, took a sample 651 undergraduate students (70% female, 30% male), and purports to show a correlation between pro-life views and agreement with sexist statements.

According to Nina Bahadur at the Huffington Post:

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.”

Unfortunately for the “you only oppose abortion because you look down on women” theory, multiple holes are immediately apparent.

First, 651 people is a small enough sample size, and it becomes even smaller when you realize a paltry 195 of them are men—y’know, the sex that’s supposedly doing the oppressing. Rather than try to explain why the female 70% would be, er, sexist against themselves, Bahadur simply dismisses the fact that the results “held true across gender lines” with a single line about “how nuanced sexism can be”—“nuance” in this context being code for “just go with it.”

Then again, I suppose accusing pro-life women of hating themselves is a step up from pretending they don’t exist.

Second, the examples of sexist statements say less about the respondents and more about the radicalism of the researchers. “Women are too easily offended” is of course an unfair generalization, but “feminists are seeking for women to have more power over men” is a comment on a modern-day political movement—not a reference to women, and not even to the original feminists, who were pro-life and therefore sexist according to the study’s logic. So even if “feminists want to dominate men” was erroneous, it wouldn’t be sexism.

And it’s not wrong—the pro-abortion dogma that passes for “feminism” today often does cast men as the enemy, framing abortion “rights’ as a stand against “patriarchy,” denigrating pro-life men as people who would turn pro-choice in a heartbeat if we could get pregnant, hysterically denigrating fathers’ right to grieve over children they’ve lost to abortion, proposing to legislate male medical decisions that actually affect nothing but their own bodies, etc.

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The above examples of “benevolent sexism” are particularly ridiculous. Instead, these statements are what saner generations would classify as chivalry. But don’t take my male, patriarchal, privileged word for it—take Independent Women’s Forum executive director Sabrina Schaeffer, writing at the Federalist:

Certainly few want to return to an age when gender roles were excessively rigid, but feminists have gone to extremes and encouraged a culture that undermines healthy gender relationships. Men who hold doors are now viewed as part of the patriarchal society. And girls are expected to just “be one of the guys.”

But gender roles helped men and women and in times past allowed the sexes to better navigate the sometimes-rough waters of romance, courtship, marriage, and sex. Feminists view the chivalry and social mores of previous generations as anachronistic. But the reality is these traditional customs of giving up a seat for a woman on a train, or accompanying a woman in public, weren’t all rooted in sexism. They were social structures to help make men more respectful of women and to curb this kind of inappropriate behavior.

Finally, the ultimate test of the pro-life movement’s character is the same as it has always been: we’re right. “Abortion kills living human beings” is scientifically, objectively true. Our accusations against the abortion industry for its crimes and offenses against women are substantiated by the public record. We have been proven to be telling the truth in every major dispute with the abortion lobby. We demonstrate our true respect and compassion for women every day.

Even if every single messenger against abortion really was a sexist pig, it wouldn’t change the truth of the message…but if people are advocating a position that is factually and logically correct, Occam’s razor dictates that the position’s inherent merit is a more likely explanation for their advocacy than some ulterior motive like sexism.

Conversely, because pro-aborts spend so little time confronting pro-life arguments head on and instead endlessly attribute increasingly malicious and outlandish ulterior motives on us, we can reasonably infer that they are desperate to change the subject because they know, on some level, they aren’t right.

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