“If men could get pregnant,” runs the old feminist refrain, “abortion would be a sacrament.”

First popularized in the 1970s by feminist icons Florynce Kennedy and Gloria Steinem, the sentiment is still popular with today’s progressives. It seems a reasonable assumption that women care more about abortion than men, since we indisputably bear the burden of pregnancy. As such, it also seems reasonable to assume, as many people do, that a Supreme Court ruling in the Mississippi case to overturn Roe v. Wade would result in a fierce electoral backlash from women belatedly awakened to the dangers of GOP rule.

In fact, there’s no real data to back up those assumptions. It’s true that women are more likely than men to identify as pro-choice and to say that abortion is an important factor in their voting decisions. But while the gender gap on abortion is real, it’s remarkably small — and arguably non-existent — when you drill down to the specifics beneath the “pro-choice” and “pro-life” labels.

About the time that the “abortion would be a sacrament” line became popular, the University of Chicago’s National Opinion Research Center started a project called the General Social Survey. Every two years since then, pollsters have asked thousands of Americans about themselves and their views, including questions about whether and when abortion should be legal.

The answers to those questions have proven remarkably stable over time and remarkably free of gender bias. In 1972, overwhelming majorities of men and women supported abortion in cases of rape, fetal abnormalities or danger to the mother, with basically no daylight showing between men’s and women’s answers. By 2012, the percentages were virtually unchanged, as was the gender distribution.

To be fair, a small gender gap did emerge in the most recent survey. The men surveyed in 2018 were somewhat more likely than women to support abortion in such cases. But given the stability of answers over the years, this may just mean that 2018 respondents were less representative than usual on abortion rights.

What about the harder cases that aren’t quite so compelling to conflicted voters who see both sides of the abortion issue? For a married woman who wants no more children, 40.7 percent of men in 1972 thought abortion should be legal, compared to 35.5 percent of women; in 2012, it was 43.1 percent and 43.3 percent, respectively. In the case of a woman who can’t afford more children, the split in 1972 ran 46.8 percent of men in favor, and 44.8 of women. In 2012, it actually went down to 40.4 of men and 40.9 percent of women.

The only answers that noticeably changed over time were about whether abortion should be legal for “any reason.” Some 36.5 percent of men and 35 percent of women selected that answer in 1972, while 40 percent of men and 43.2 percent of women chose it in 2012. In the possibly unrepresentative 2018 sample, “any reason” secured close to a majority among both sexes.

It’s possible that the stability over time, and the gender gap, are an artifact of Roe. The Supreme Court currently prevents legislatures from doing much to curtail abortion rights much before 24 weeks gestation, which means voters don’t really have to think hard about what law they’re willing to live under. They’re free to make largely symbolic statements about some ideal state — yes to abortion in the hardest circumstances, while remaining uncomfortable with abortions procured to avoid the disruptions of a healthy pregnancy resulting from consensual sex.

If Roe goes, voters will have to think hard about whether they’re really willing to deny an abortion to a woman whose marriage or finances might be strained to the breaking point by the burden of a child. And it’s very possible that women will think harder about those questions than men, and come up with very different answers.

But it’s also possible that if the Supreme Court overturns Roe, and throws the issue back to the states, the subsequent legislative wrangling will reveal that the answers to those questions rest less on gender than values — or lifestyle. Are you a college-educated professional who must time pregnancies exquisitely to optimize a career, or are you a low-wage hourly worker for whom other considerations matter more? Are you religious or secular? Conservative or progressive? And when confronted with the fundamental unfairness of mammalian reproduction, do you worry more about a woman’s bodily autonomy, or the potential life that is ended when an abortion is performed?

For 50 years, women have been saying that their minds and their dreams mattered more than their biology. After the Supreme Court rules in the Mississippi case, American politics may well vindicate that claim.