Saturday, June 17, 2017

Oy vey, Jews are abortion aficionados

In the comments at the Chateau, Days of Broken Arrows writes:
My ex is Jewish and went back to her synagogue when we split (since I’m Catholic, we were “areligious” when we were together, but I digress). She’s always been conservative and she was unpleasantly surprised to find her temple was no longer really about religion. It was about “social justice” (her words) and getting behind leftist political causes. She felt this was completely inappropriate. She got disgusted with everything being put through a political filter — with an aggressively anti-conservative, anti-Christian/Catholic tone to it.

She especially took issue with the obsession with abortion rights [my emphasis] and women’s issues. She felt like she was attending Berkeley lectures, not going to a religious service.

So, she searched around for other places of worship online but found to her dismay that every synagogue was this political, if not more.
Jews tend to be on the left, (though nowhere near as overwhelmingly as blacks--who voted 65% and 86%, respectively, for Hillary in the two-way presidential election), so it's not surprising that they're pro-choice.

The degree to which they are, however, is surprising. The following graph shows the percentages, by religious affiliation, who say a woman should be able to obtain an abortion if she "wants it for any reason". This is as pure a pro-choice position as it comes. Abortions anytime, anywhere, for any reason. For contemporary relevance, all responses are from the year 2000 onward (n = 12,658; Jewish n = 226):

There are no other major demographic categories that come close to this level of abortion fanaticism:

And this modestly understates the full tribe's orientation towards the abortion issue. The methodology misses the especially irreligious ethnic Jews who identify as having no religion rather than as religiously Jewish. By identifying as irreligious rather than as Jewish, these secular ethnic Jews are depressing the Jewish figure of 75.7% and inflating the "no religion" figure of 63.9%.

Jews are eugenicists, even though few would ever identify as such given the current pejorative nature of the term. Their pro-choice bona fides aside, I suspect Jewish women actually obtain few abortions in practice. That's the sort of messy, chaotic thing that proles lacking Jewish privilege do.

I respect everything in the preceding paragraph. I wish the group it applies to wasn't so effectively hostile towards myself and my posterity, though.

GSS variables used: ABANY, RELIG(1)(2)(3)(4)(5-13), RACECEN1(1)(2), HISPANIC(1)(2-50), SEX(2), AGE(18-39), CHILDS(0), MARITAL(5), POLVIEWS(1-2), PARTYID(0-1)


IHTG said...

Abortion is one of the purest status markers. Jews are particularly for it because Christians are particularly against it.

Their stance lacks nuance because abortion as an actual real-life issue doesn't touch their lives at all. Where Jews have actual skin in the game (eg, immigration, affirmative action), their opinions will still be slanted to the left, but you'll see more shades of gray.

Audacious Epigone said...

Couldn't have articulated it any better than that. Couldn't have articulated it that well, actually. Thanks.

Derek said...

I really think this is overwhelmingly due to Tay-Sachs. I don't know what it is about people, psychologically, but when they've endorsed one type of abortion they feel the need to endorse every type.

I had a friend from high school who shared with everyone on Facebook that she'd recently had an abortion. Her baby had been diagnosed with a kind of Trisomy which almost guaranteed death before age 1 and put herself at serious risk. This girl was religious, feminine, the sort of person you would expect to be a conservative. She told her story and then encouraged all her friends to donate to Planned Parenthood, as if her abortion was typical of the work they do at that place.

I think a similar process happens in Jews. Every Jewish couple has to mentally rehearse getting an abortion in the event their baby has Tay-Sachs, and once they've done that the Rubicon has been crossed.

Audacious Epigone said...


I wonder what percentage of women who have had abortions--most of which will be for some putatively legitimate reason--support it unconditionally. It's a hard thing to gauge because unlike your friend most people who abort aren't publicly vocal about it.

Jokah Macpherson said...

I don't get the emphasis on Social Justice in places of worship. It's not even a thing that's mentioned in the Bible (granted, neither is the Trinity). I went to the United Methodist district annual conference last summer and the bishop gave a sermon that never explicitly mentioned but obviously was referring to Trump about how Christians shouldn't be about building walls and all I could think was, "Nehemiah".

Audacious Epigone said...



And not for divine intervention how exactly was Jericho supposed to be taken?

Joshua Sinistar said...

Yeah OK. This guy was "areligious", and apparently kind of dumb too. Its not about issues but interests. "Is it good for jews"? Oh sure, here in America its diverse this and no White that, and abortion on demand. Go to Israel and see the 1950s you cannot go back to. Abortionists there will be hunted down by mobs and sentenced to death by every judge. Diversity has to be sterile for the duration of their stay and stay away from their girls. Deportations are a regular occurrence without any comments allowed.
This is a World of Competing Interests. "Is it good for US?" That's all that matters. Anyone says different is either a fool, cuck or enemy.

Audacious Epigone said...


Yes, it's crucial to note that this applies exclusively to Jews in the US. When it comes to the tribe, what's good for the goose isn't necessarily good for the gander (see immigration, border walls, views on interreligious marriage, etc).

Legate of Judea said...

Jews are not eugenicists. There are three reasons that Jews are more supportive of abortion than other groups in the United States.

First, we are a people who have a large number of genetic diseases:

It is easy to say that you wouldn't abort a child with a serious genetic defect when you are not familiar with what that means. If you are Jewish, you have almost certainly first hand experience with it due to the higher prevalence of genetic disorders among your Jewish friends and family. You have seen children suffer, you have seen parents suffer, and you know that the suffering of a parent who loses a child doesn't end with death. They live with the pain and loss forever. I suspect the people who say they wouldn't abort a child with a serious genetic disorder would be more likely to if they had first hand experience.

Second, we are a people with a different view of the concept of a soul. There is no doctrine of the soul in Judaism the way there is in Christianity. The Jewish scriptures teach that soul comes from god and goes back to god (the soul is often called the breath of god). The idea of a distinction between human souls or really any particular claim about the soul is not really universally accepted in Judaism. However, there isn't of a concept of a soul coming from god, going to a body, and then going to Heaven or Hell as in Christianity. I believe this theological view drives much of the resistance to abortion among Christians, and it seems that devout Christians are more averse to abortion than other groups in the United States.

Third, I doubt most Jews can really conceive of someone having an abortion without a good reason. If you can't conceive of it happening, it is hard to justify a ban on the practice. I personally don't know of anyone that has had an abortion for anything other than a serious medical reason, although I do know it occurs.

These reasons probably contribute to Jews in the United States being more likely to be considered left wing in the United States. In Israel, the right is not anti-abortion. I'm more right wing than left wing, even in the United States. However, I cringe an many of the anti-aborting beliefs of the American right.

Anonymous said...

A lot of Jews define themselves not by what they are, but by what they're against. They're against the supposedly "oppressive" Christian majority; therefore, supporting abortion rights is a way to try to stick it to Christians.

The same goes, IMO, for the way a lot of Jews approach art/media. The "outrageous" antics of Silverman, Sterns, the Beastie Boys, Andrew Dice Clay, etc. aren't so much to "push boundaries," as they claim, as it is for them to spit in the face of American's Christian morals. You'll notice that when the shoe is on the other foot and Christians are mocking things Jews hold sacred, they then seek to get those "boundaries" pushed in the other direction with hate speech laws.

Finally, there is a school of thought that claims that when it came to Civil Rights and supporting inter-racial marriage, Jews didn't so much care about blacks (who they proceeded NOT to blend with or live with). Instead, it was a deliberate attempt to subvert the will of the majority white populace, most of whom were against these things.

Have a nice day, everyone.

--- The Blue Curtain

Biotrekker said...

This is more about the feminization of liberalism and Jewish liberalism and the secularization of Reform Judaism to the point where it becomes a simulacrum of the actual religion. .Also, the most extreme elements are the loudest, and tend to get their way. So they are always pushing the Overton window leftward. I would remind folks that "intellectuals" and "high IQ" people tend to skew liberal, with the idea that people should be in control of their own lives/bodies. I can tell you that more than a few in the Reform movement are red-pilled and very unhappy with this, but cannot say anything because this is their social group.

Audacious Epigone said...

Legate of Judea,

Thanks for expounding on those three reasons, only the third of which I addressed in the main post.

I'm not sure if you're using the phrase "with a serious defect" intentionally with regards to the GSS, but the survey asks about that (linked to in the body of the post). Jewish support for it is similarly high relative to the rest of the population. What you're saying, then, is that Jews--at least subconsciously--tend to think of genetic diseases like tay-sachs as the only reason anyone would get an abortion, and so they answer abortion for any reason the same way they do abortion for serious genetic defects?

Whether it's intentional or not, Jewish sensitivities on a whole host of social issues--of which abortion is one--are at odds with the Christian/post-Christian majority.

Blue Curtain,

Right, they're great at dishing it out but can't (or won't willingly) take it in the least. Trump's funny quip in front of a group of wealthy Jewish Republicans that he wouldn't get their support because he wouldn't take their money got him denounced in all the usual ways. He insinuated, correctly, that Jews punch above their weight because of their purchasing power and that without it their numerical inferiority makes them feeble.

On the other hand, it's easy enough to see why Jews interpret being feeble in that sense as something that makes them vulnerable and is thus potentially dangerous. What they don't seem to realize is that it doesn't get better than majority-white America for Jews anywhere in the world except maybe Israel (for now).


It goes beyond feminized liberalism, though. That, or it's been throughly internalized by all Jews. Married Jewish men are more likely to be pro-choice than non-Jewish unmarried, childless young women.

a reader said...

Could it be (besides what Legate of Judea said) also an effect of the greater Jewish IQ? Have you tried to group respondents to this question by IQ class or by education? Maybe GSS has a field for the number of abortions for women - in which case it may be interesting to compare opinion about abortions for a group and number of real abortions in this group. I suppose that permissiveness for abortions raises with IQ and education, but number of real abortions decreases with them.

By the way, I don't know what I would respond to such a question. Like most Europeans, I think abortions should be allowed for any reason in the early (embryo) stage, but only for serious medical reasons (mother's health, fetus disability) after 3 months. I wonder if the answers would have been different if the they asked "for any reason, in any stage?"...

Legate of Judea said...

IHTG - if Jews were for abortion in the United States because Christians were against it, we would assume they would have a different attitude in Israel where Christians are not a factor. However, this is not the case. Abortion laws are very permissive in Israel by world standards. This is simply the Jewish position:

Jokah Macpherson - actually Justice is a significant topic in Deuteronomy. It is significantly expanded in other texts and is a central Jewish concept. Social justice more a modern concept. However, the idea of an obligation to help the poor is found in both Judaism in Christianity. When I was young, there was a Church in my area that ran a soup kitchen for the poor. Our (much smaller) synagogue would operate the kitchen on Sunday morning so the Church volunteers could attend services.

Joshua Sinistar - see my first comment about abortion. Deportations in Israel are also handled by the legal system.

Audacious Epigone - the differences in attitudes between American and Israeli Jews are largely confined to security issues. On a per capita basis, there is a much higher thread of death by or war or terrorism in Israel than in the US. If the 9/11 attackers had crossed the souther border, the southern border fence would have been completed log ago. The religious marriage issue is one that most Israelis are unhappy about, and I suspect will change soon. The latest poll I saw has 68% of Israelis supporting civil marriage. A much higher number would support weakening the control of the fundamentalist religious establishment. The Israeli political system is simply distracted by larger problems at the moment:

As to the phrase "with a serious defect". I was using that intentionally without explanation. I was referring to a superset of problems that includes genetic diseases. I was thinking of a Jewish woman who gave birth to a child that died due to what was not a known genetic disease. It may have been a genetic disease, one that medical science was familiar with, or it may have been a non-genetic random problem. Either way, it was not known that the child would be born with a condition that would lead to a very short and painful life. Today, I suspect medical technology has advanced to the point that it would have been known early on in the pregnancy. I was also thinking of this type of situation, in addition to known genetic diseases. I do think that when Jews think of abortion, we think consciously of a serious situation.

It is true that Jewish attitudes are different than much of the population with regards to abortion. However, I think this is largely with explained by the issues I have mentioned. You pointed out that atheists have close to the same level of support for abortions as Jews. I suspect if you adjust their education level higher to match that of Jews, much of the gap will be eliminated. The remaining gap would be explained by greater familiarity with genetic disease.

Jim Bowery said...

You might be intrigued by the rank ordering of averaged coefficients of determination I found between a wide range of measures aggregated at the State level. This was incidental to a study of various hypotheses of autism.

At the conclusion of my hypothesis testing, and prior to launching into data-dredging, I decided to reify the Jewish percent of whites as an interesting "social construct". The highest correlations with that "social construct" were not only very high, but they were pretty "stereotypical". That's when I decided to do a complete rank ordering -- to see exactly how high the r^2 for Jewish percent of whites would turn out to be.

Incidentally speaking, Jewish percent of whites came out on top.

I've got the original data, with URL sources, if it's of interest.

Audacious Epigone said...

a reader,

The GSS doesn't ask women about how many abortions, if any, they've had. That's probably considered too invasive for a survey like this. Ask too many of those questions and the respondent is at risk of refusing to participate any longer.

As for IQ, that explains a bit but not that much. Among those who scored 9 or 10 out of 10 on the wordsum test, 93% of Jews compared to 56% of non-Jews supported abortions for any reason.

Legate of Judea,

That response to IHTG meshes well with the original comment about how much alleged emphasis is put on abortion in synagogues. Is that a relatively recent change, or has it been a focal point for as long as you've been active?

Your remarks in this thread are very much appreciated, thanks.


Sure, I'd love to have access to it. Could you make it a public google document? Or email it to me. The more state-level data sets in the cache, the better!

One thing that surprised me (because the Soviet Union isn't really living history as I was 7 when it collapsed) is just how Jewish the ancestrally Russian population in the US is. That shows up clearly in your rankings.

Jim Bowery said...

Here's the data I used (and a bit more). The last column is the "Source" of the data. I had to place the States as columns and the variables as rows because Google Spreadsheets has a reputation of being incapable of handling large numbers of columns and I didn't research whether they'd fixed that.

When I ran the r^2 rank ordering I used only rate variables (percapita, etc.) for reasons which should be obvious.

The regular expression I used to select those variables by their names was:


Legate of Judea said...

Audacious Epigone - I don't think the attitude comes from what is said in a synagogue sermon and I don't think the attitude has changed in decades. If you look at Jewish publications, one of the frequent advertisements is for doctors that perform genetic counseling. It isn't necessary to explain to anyone reading those advertisements why they are there. If there were five to ten families at your Church who had kids with various genetic problems (and many more at risk of having a child with a genetic problem), it would be discussed frequently over the course of your life.

I think the woman discussed in the original comment was unaware that she was observing a couple things that have upset many Jews and been the subject of news articles. First, during his presidency, Obama was having phone calls with groups of Rabbis. Apparently, up to 900 at a time. Many of them were bringing up points from those calls in their sermons.

The second is that Rabbis of all denominations are more likely to be registered Democrats than their congregants. I did visit a synagogue were I once heard a sermon that sounded like Democrat party talking points, although it was not about abortion. The people I went with weren't that thrilled about this one Rabbi, but they went to the synagogue because they liked its other Rabbi and the people at the synagogue.

Anonymous said...

The aborters at my daughter's school were predominantly Jewish, and the serial aborters were even moreso. They explained their decisions mainly by saying that having a child wasn't convenient at that time, and did not appear to have much concern about the genetic issue given that their identified inseminators were typically non-tribal and a minority were black. There seemed to be more sense of social inconvenience and temporary discomfort than any deeper concerns.

legateofjudea said...

Anonymous - That is a rather inflammatory statement, so I will respond in kind, as it is rather hard for me to imagine a Jewish girl at your daughter's school having an abortion unless your son got her pregnant. Do you have any statistical or survey data to suggest that Jews have a high abortion rate? I have an estimate of 10,000 American Jewish abortions a year in 2011:

There were 730,000 abortions reported to the CDC in 2011:

This would suggest that Jews are having less than 1.3% of abortions despite being 2% of the population, since not all abortions are reported to the CDC. I would have thought "Genetic Counseling", would have resulted in a higher abortion rate than the population as a whole. I assume that we are having many fewer abortions due to unplanned pregnancies than the rest of the country in order to compensate. Actually, that makes sense because I have never met an unmarried Jewish person that became pregnant unintentionally. I did know of a few highly educated Jewish women that waited until later in life to get married, couldn't meet anyone they liked, and then decided to use artificial insemination to have children.

Audacious Epigone said...



Legate of Judea,

I see claims of blacks being something like 5x more likely than non-blacks to abort, which would put the Jewish number a bit higher than the non-Jewish white rate but not significantly so. That seems roughly plausible to me.

Audacious Epigone said...

When I say "claims", I mean from fairly reputable sources like The Atlantic.

Anonymous said...

"Finally, there is a school of thought that claims that when it came to Civil Rights and supporting inter-racial marriage, Jews didn't so much care about blacks (who they proceeded NOT to blend with or live with). Instead, it was a deliberate attempt to subvert the will of the majority white populace, most of whom were against these things."

Yeah, it seems that they were reacting to something different from the actual situation, which they didn't understand. They felt slammed by the Germans and wanted to avoid ending up there again. Their fervor was of course misplaced. Americans are not anti-black, anti-Jewish, anti- _____. But Americans really really did not want to be the victims of black crime which is an order of magnitude higher than white crime. For poor whites, that meant legal segregation from blacks. Rich whites could pay for safety, but poor whites could not.

legateofjudea said...

Anonymous said "Americans really really did not want to be the victims of black crime"

People were not afraid of crime back then. You could do things back then that would never be allowed today. You had elementary school kids riding the subway by themselves. I knew someone who told me he took the subway by himself to Harlem to pickup a bicycle when he was 10. That was probably in the 1940s. The murder rate was much lower (think the electric chair). They were afraid of theft in Harlem back then, but murder became a major problem later.

You had separate drinking fountains and toilets right next to each other, which didn't protect you from crime. People were afraid of death by disease back then. During the Spanish Flu, you had a death rate one hundred times today's murder rate. In a normal year, people died of the top three infectious diseases at a rate about 75 times the murder rate today.

There was a poor understanding of such diseases back then. We have largely tamed them through better sanitation, antibiotics, antivirals, and vaccines. Before that, blacks were dying of these diseases at higher rates than whites. This probably led to the fear ]that blacks were the source of these diseases. Interestingly, if you look at the chart on the above link, you can see deaths from infections diseases really went away as the major cause of death by 1950. That is shortly before the period when desegregation started. I suspect the two are related.