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Americans’ Changing Views on Sex and Unborn Human Life — How United Are We?

Recent surveys reveal stark partisan differences on “transgender issues,” and Republicans and Democrats are sharply divided in views around the treatment of unborn human life.

A new poll by Pew Research Center shows that 60 percent of American adults believe that “gender is determined by their sex assigned at birth”—a noticeable increase compared with 54 and 56 percent of respondents who held a similar position in September 2017 and June 2021, respectively.

Based on a survey of 10,188 respondents in May, roughly 8 out of 10 Americans believe people identified as “transgender” face prejudice and 64 percent support laws that would protect such individuals from discrimination in jobs, housing and public spaces. More specifically, around 7 in 10 Americans aged 18 to 49 favor such laws and policies, as do about 6 in 10 adults aged 50 and older.

The survey also showed that 58 percent of Americans support “proposals that would require transgender athletes to compete on teams that match the sex they were assigned at birth.” In contrast, a mere 17 percent of Americans oppose or strongly oppose such proposals, while 24 percent neither favor nor oppose them.

According to the Pew Research Center survey, 46 percent of Americans would support laws prohibiting health care professionals that “provide someone younger than 18 with medical care for gender transitions.” In other words, most respondents either didn’t have an opinion (22 percent) or were opposed or strongly opposed (31 percent), reflecting the polarized state of America on matters relating to children’s freedoms that relate to the biological foundation and genetic makeup that determines their sex.

How do young people perceive a man?

In fact, to better gauge changing attitudes around sex, the poll showed that 1 in 2 adults aged 18 to 29 said that “someone can be a man or a woman even if that differs from the sex they were assigned at birth,” in contrast with 4 in 10 people aged 30 to 49 and about one-third of those aged 50 and older.

Such an opinion reflects the success of continuous propaganda through the education, entertainment and mass media systems in convincing millennials and Gen Z-ers that someone’s “gender” can differ from their “sex” and ought to be normative and accepted in a civilized society.

Before the written arguments of radical feminists from the 1950s through the 1970s, the term “gender” was primarily used to draw distinctions between “masculine,” “feminine” and “neuter” nouns and pronouns in Latin-based languages. However, over time, the term “sex” became heavily associated with the act of having sexual intercourse (which made many people feel uncomfortable verbalizing) and therefore, “sex” gradually displaced its original meaning by the term “gender.”

Furthermore, medical research literature has reported that the human brain plays an essential role in determining the sex one identifies with from an early age. Studies have suggested that brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of people who identify as “transgender” are more likely to resemble that of their desired sex.

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People who feel like or perceive themselves as the opposite sex deserve compassionate support and empathy. Still, their condition must not be recklessly projected into the mainstream public sphere, into the lives of children, and treated as though it is normative or even “cool.”

Views on protecting unborn human life

A new Rasmussen Reports poll conducted in late June reveals that 50 percent of 1,000 likely voters approve of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) overturning Roe v. Wade, including 38 percent who strongly approve of the decision. Conversely, of the surveyed respondents, 45 percent disapproved of the Supreme Court’s decision, including 38 percent who strongly disapproved.

With one blow to Roe v. Wade, individual states will set their own policies around protecting or harming unborn lives without federal constitutional standards.

Another poll was conducted by Pew Research Center between late June and early July after surveying 6,174 American adults. The poll shows that 57 percent disapprove of the Supreme Court’s decision, including 43 percent who strongly disapprove. In contrast, 41 percent approve of the SCOTUS overturning Roe v. Wade, including 25 percent who strongly approve.

The surveyed results continue to fall down party lines

Unsurprisingly, there are stark partisan differences in views around “transgender issues” and the legality of unborn human life.

Democrat and Democrat-leaning people are more than four times more likely than Republican and Republican-leaning individuals to say that a “person’s gender can be different from the sex they were assigned at birth,” with a striking contrast of 61 percent versus 13 percent, respectively.

Whereas 66 percent of Republicans expressed that “society has gone too far in accepting people who are transgender,” 59 percent of Democrat counterparts stated that “our society hasn’t gone far enough in accepting people who are transgender.”

White respondents were more likely than Black, Hispanic and Asian respondents to support “laws and policies that would restrict the rights of transgender people or limit what schools can teach about gender identity.”

However, among Democrats, White respondents were more likely than Black, Hispanic and Asians to say they favor “protecting trans individuals from discrimination and requiring health insurance companies to cover medical care for gender transitions.”

According to the Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey, 53 percent of White and 41 percent of Black voters were at least somewhat approving of the SCOTUS overturning Roe v. Wade.

Too predictably, 75 percent of Republicans approve of the SCOTUS striking down Roe v. Wade, while only 20 percent disapprove of the ruling. In a not-so-surprising contrast, 71 percent of Democrats disapprove, while 25 percent approve of the ruling. Respondents unaffiliated with the two-party system were almost divided, with 53 percent approving and 42 percent disapproving of the Supreme Court’s decision.

Among voters who strongly approve of Joe Biden’s performance as president, 72 percent disapprove of the Supreme Court’s ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade, including 63 percent who strongly disapprove of the decision. Conversely, among voters who strongly disapprove of Biden’s performance, 77 percent approve of the SCOTUS striking down Roe v. Wade, including 63 percent who strongly approve of the ruling.

The Pew Research Center’s poll highlights that partisan gaps in attitudes towards preborn babies have broadened in recent years. For example, while 63 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents said that “abortion should be legal in all or most cases” in 2007, a stunning 80 percent of such voters hold this view in 2022. Republicans’ attitudes, unsurprisingly, remain essentially unchanged at 38 percent.

There has been a seven percentage point increase in the proportion of Democrats stating that taking preborn life “should be legal in all cases,” from 38 percent in March to 45 percent in July. Conversely, there has been nearly no change in Republicans’ views since March, with 60 percent saying that the act should be illegal in most (48 percent) or all cases (13 percent).

What do these results mean?

As a young republic, America must be linked and united by common values and shared interests. Yet, many Americans are increasingly unable to agree on the meaning of words—such as freedom or exceptional—that express those values, and recent results continue to show that the United States is operating as a nation of two halves.

There is still hope that younger generations will encourage the active participation of dialogue across the broad political spectrum, in that “We the People” share a common goal that is looking fractured and needs to be discussed. Thus, our First Amendment rights must be actively practiced across schools, collegesuniversitiesand online platforms where young people can argue their differences.

Many of us will remain fixed in our views. For example, a proportion of socially conservative millennials and Gen Z-ers will never agree on certain matters that are largely indifferent or accepting among fellow members of their generation. But the act of coming together across the sociopolitical divide to engage in discourse will demonstrate a sustained effort and willingness to stay united—and to move forward—as a nation.

By Cameron Keegan

Cameron Keegan is an independent researcher and writer on American politics, faith, and culture affecting young people through a conservative disposition. Having worked with children, teenagers, and young adults to support their learning and development, Cameron cares deeply about the trajectory of the United States. To learn more about Cameron’s work, visit https://ckeeganan.substack.com, and for comments or questions, send an email to ckeeganan@substack.com

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