America is in the midst of fracturing. For years now, many have been warning about a coming national divorce. The optimists predict a slow slide apart. Others warn darkly of civil war.
With Friday’s Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, it’s hard not to imagine that that divide—between states, between liberals and conservatives—will grow. Red states for open carry. Blue states for abortion rights. Law firms that exclude members of the Federalist Society. Others that welcome them.
This Politico tracker shows what abortion laws are right now, state-by-state. It’s striking to see what reality is like for women in New York versus women in South Dakota, where there are no exceptions for rape or incest.
For the foreseeable future, I think states and institutions will continue to polarize. And it will be ugly, as Americans increasingly self-segregate and burrow deeper and deeper into their echo chambers. Not just online, but also in real life.
But this division will belie the reality of where most citizens actually fall on this particular issue.
While the extremes hog the microphone, polling consistently shows that most Americans fall somewhere in the middle on abortion—open to restrictions, but wanting it to remain legal in the first trimester. (Check out 538: What Americans Really Think About Abortion or WSJ: Upholding Roe v. Wade Is Supported by Most Americans.) The most comprehensive and detailed poll about where we fall on abortion comes from Pew and it’s worth your time:
Common Sense reflects that Pew poll. We are a vanishingly rare phenomenon: a community with writers and readers who hold a vast array of beliefs on this topic and so many others. A community of people who is able to hear, in good faith, those we disagree with.
Today we’ve gathered some of the things we are reading on this subject that we hope challenge you and inspire you to greater empathy.
We’d love for you to include in the comments any articles, podcasts, or books that you think elevate this conversation.