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Narrative Trends on Abortion Bans

March 29, 2022Evan Robert

Insights on one of America's most divisive issues

Perhaps nowhere is America more divided politically and socially than on the topic of abortion.

This long-debated issue caught more media attention recently as more states consider and sign abortion bans into law, following the lead of Texas’ six-week ban signed in 2021. We’ve created two Kudzu briefs that analyze the media’s coverage of these developments in the past two weeks. One brief displays right-leaning sources, the other left-leaning sources.

Overall, hard-left sources published more content on abortion than their hard-right counterparts, with 75 more stories published in the two-week window from sources like CNN, HuffPost, and Jezebel.

The disparity is found not only in the number of articles, however, but also in the key phrases used in those articles. Unsurprisingly, the two sides do not have many common terms to describe abortion and its’ legislation.

Left-leaning coverage

For instance, the top right-leaning keywords presented the phrase “fetal heartbeat,” which was absent from the left-leaning keywords, which included phrases like “women’s health,” “abortion access,” and “reproductive health.”

From the legal perspective, the left is focused on rights, with the phrases “abortion rights” and “reproductive rights” appearing among the top keywords. The right, alternatively, has keywords focusing on the pending Supreme Court case Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, a ruling that could undermine the decades-old Roe v. Wade decision.

Right-leaning coverage

The tumultuous narrative of abortion in the U.S. is only beginning to spike with state legislations, Supreme Court involvement, and ongoing protests from both sides throughout the country. These Kudzu briefs, right and left, will automatically update as the abortion narrative continues to unfold.

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