In general, I consider myself someone who is pretty up-to-date and well informed when it comes to feminist issues. When Vox released their survey on how much Americans know about abortions, I was immediately intrigued by their results — and when I saw they posted a corresponding quiz to test your own knowledge about abortion, I knew I had to give it a shot. In truth, abortion is an emotionally charged topic, whether you're for it or against it, and it's definitely a subject that comes with a lot of personal stories.
Unfortunately, according to the survey results, the general public is not very well-informed when it comes to abortion. According to Vox's survey, which included answers from 1,060 registered voters, it appears that the average person thinks abortion is much more rare than it actually is: 27 percent of respondents believe that less than 10 percent of women will have an abortion and 51 percent believe that less than 20 percent of women will have one. The national average, though? It's 30. About 30 percent of women will terminate at least one pregnancy in their lifetime. Many survey respondents also see abortion as dangerous or unsafe, when in fact, according to Vox, having an abortion is actually safer than childbirth in terms of mortality rates — a fact which numerous studies have backed up.
These misconceptions matter quite a bit when we talk about abortion rights and access: If the majority of people think that abortions are rarely needed, or dramatically dangerous to the women who seek them, it's not surprising that those same people may want to limit or end access to abortions. Education and outreach is key, and luckily, many women are now coming forward to share theit stories and raise awareness. Women coming forward with their experiences is an act of bravery, as well as a means of educating the general public, because so few people know what abortions are actually like.
Now, the point of a quiz like this isn't to shame anyone for not knowing enough. Everyone is at a different place and knowledge doesn't come organically, so don't freak out if you realize your perceptions about abortion and women's health aren't 100 percent accurate. My advice is to take these answers as starting points to learn more about the subject. If you nail the quiz? Good for you! Pass on the information to others and help raise awareness. For reference, here are some questions from the quiz and the corresponding results I received.
How Many Women Get Abortions, Anyway?
I guessed about a quarter, and I was wrong! The average is actually closer to 1 in 3, making it about a third of all women.
How Dangerous Are Abortions, Really?
I had a feeling a wisdom tooth extraction was more dangerous than an abortion, and I was right! Unfortunately, the majority of people polled believe the wisdom tooth extraction was more dangerous than an abortion.
The answer: Nope. This distinction is important because surgeries are generally associated with higher risks due to anesthesia, possibility of infection, possibility of complications during recovery, and so forth — risks that most abortions don't have, because, well, they don't involve surgery. It's also why, as John Oliver recently pointed out, so many of the mandates being put into place for abortion clinics make no sense.
The fact that more than 50 percent of respondents genuinely didn't have an idea of whether or not an abortion required a surgery shows that the process of abortion is swept under the rug, and that's dangerous: Knowledge is power, including when it comes to women's health.
When you complete the quiz, the results sum up your overall responses, as well as provide some bullets from the survey so you can compare yourself to the national average. For myself, it appears I ranked more educated than most Americans about abortion, but my knowledge definitely isn't perfect. The nice thing about the ending of this quiz is that it gives you additional information to explore, so you can further your knowledge and educate yourself more on the subject.
You can check out the full quiz over at Vox right now, and see how you compare to the average American in terms of your knowledge of abortion and abortion rights.
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