As it turns out, millennials are not all the same. We don't all live in our parents' houses, burn the American flag at parties, or make iPhone apps in our free time. We also don't all have the same views on a lot of social issues. Take abortion, for example. Some of us advocate for increased legality and availability of it, while some support restrictions on it. And others still are in the middle ground. And even in those three camps, there is disagreement on the morality of abortions and the extent to which they should be available. As more and more millennials become parents, those views could likely shift. But for now, millennials' views on abortion are very complex.
A study by the Public Religion Research Institute revealed that a majority of millennials support the legality and availability of abortions, but believe the morality of an abortion depends upon the circumstances around that abortion, according to Policy Mic. The study showed that while 22 percent of millennials believe abortion should be legal in all cases, 25 percent of millennials believe abortion should be illegal in most cases, and another 13 percent think it should be illegal in all cases. These views are actually pretty similar to the rest of the general population.
What does differentiate millennials from the general population is that we're starting to talk about abortion in different terms. The conflict between support for legality and uncertainty on morality has created a kind of cognitive dissonance between people who identify as "pro-choice" but still feel very supportive of "life," and vice versa. According to the aforementioned study, three-quarters of millennials consider themselves pro-choice, and 65 percent identify as "pro-life" or anti-abortion. Obviously, there's some overlap there. That's because the two terms aren't exclusionary, and millennials recognize that.
Millennials are also more open to talking publicly about abortion than past generations. We've seen this in Twitter campaigns like #ShoutYourAbortion and #IStandWithPP. We've also seen it in videos like this where young women have shared their abortion stories.
It will be interesting to see how parenting or marriage changes these views among millennials as we age, or if it will at all. More research needs to be done on the millennial parents subgroup, but for now, we know that millennials are a diverse bunch. We have conflicting views on what's morally right, what should be legal, and where and for whom abortions should be available. But one thing that's true of most of us? We're committed to having conversations about it, and we want to talk about it in a way that works for everyone.