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Since Roe v. Wade:
American Public Opinion and Law on Abortion

(Released January 2005)

  by Sandra S. Stanton  


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  1. Roe v. Wade: The Impact of an Outdated Decision on Reproductive Technologies

    Behuniak-Long, Susan

    Policy Studies Review, 1989, 8, 2, winter, 368-379

    It is argued that legal conclusions drawn in 1973 from Roe v. Wade are now outdated. Reproductive technologies in the late 1980s challenge existing conceptualizations & raise crucial political issues, & Roe can no longer serve to guide their resolution. Major limitations include: (1) the concept of viability as used to determine the cut-off point for abortion in view of current technological capabilities; (2) the concept of personhood, which changing technology continues to obfuscate; & (3) the decision's inappropriate use as a precedent for reproductive technology issues other than abortion. It is recommended that: Roe be reexamined & updated through US Supreme Court action resting on constitutional principles (as opposed to conforming to the vicissitudes of technology); definitions of personhood, birth, & viability be updated; & Roe no longer be used to guide debate on other biomedical issues. 27 References. C. Grindle.

  2. Recent Developments in Abortion Law in Industrialized Countries

    Boland, Reed

    Law, Medicine and Health Care, 1990, 18, 4, winter, 404-418

    An analysis of recent legal developments relating to abortion in the US, Canada, England, Ireland, France, Belgium, Romania, & Bulgaria, & the changes these developments have brought in the context of the historical abortion policy of each country. A comparision of developments outside of & within the US demonstrates parallels between policies that have succeeded & failed. Among the issues discussed are: RU486, the so-called abortion pill; the effect of harsh Romanian abortion laws on maternal-child health; attempts to prohibit free speech on abortion; the status of the fetus, particularly in the light of improved health technology; recent US Supreme Court decisions allowing states to impose greater restrictions on abortion; & the right of putative fathers to veto a woman's choice to have an abortion. It is concluded that the general legal movement with respect to abortion is toward liberalization, & that US legislators contemplating new abortion restrictions could learn from the experience of other countries. Modified AA.

  3. Privacy as Autonomy vs Privacy as Familial Attachment: A Conceptual Approach to Right to Privacy Cases

    Boling, Patricia

    Policy Studies Review, 1994, 13, 1-2, spring, 91-110

    Explains why the US Supreme Court's privacy jurisprudence has become deeply problematic for addressing emerging reproductive & sexual choice issues, focusing on abortion funding, minors seeking abortions, adults engaging in consenting homosexual sex, & pregnant women accused of abusing their fetuses. It is argued that what is private about the rights asserted in cases like Eisenstadt v. Baird & Roe v. Wade has never been fully articulated nor defended, leaving these central decisions conceptually unpersuasive. It is shown that "privacy" is used in two very different senses in Supreme Court constitutional right-to-privacy decisions: one rooted in respect for marriage & the family, the other in notions of personal autonomy. Although both senses deserve to be protected, the court has tended to prefer the familial sense of privacy to the autonomy one, with serious consequences for privacy concerns that are not connected to family relationships or that are perceived as undercutting "family values." 37 References. Adapted from the source document.

  4. Abortion in the United States: Politics or Policy?

    Djerassi, Carl

    The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 1986, 42, 4, Apr, 38-41

    Examination of conditions in other countries where abortion is illegal suggests that to restrict abortion in the US would result in women either going to other countries for abortions, or obtaining illegal & risky abortions in the US. In addition, statistics do not support the beliefs that making abortion illegal would result in virtually all pregnancies being carried to term, or in adoptive parents being available for all children who would otherwise be aborted. The preferable way to reduce abortions is, in the short run, to make contraceptive methods readily available, especially to teenagers, & in the long run, to develop effective postcoital pregnancy prevention methods. While the moral issues surrounding abortion are problematic, the practical consequences of making it illegal are unquestionably negative. W. H. Stoddard.

  5. Legal and Ethical Issues in Evaluating Abortion Services

    Ferris, Lori E

    American Journal of Evaluation, 2000, 21, 3, fall, 329-340

    When evaluation studies are conducted in a sensitive area, ethical & legal implications are bound to challenge evaluators. All too often, evaluators must deal with competing responsibilities in evaluating these programs or services. This article focuses on several ethical & legal issues that arose during an evaluation of abortion services. We discuss how we developed decision rules & considered trade-offs in dealing with these ethical & legal issues so that rational & objective decisions could be reached. We place this discussion within the context of balancing the utility & propriety evaluation standards with respect to obtaining true informed consent & protecting the privacy & confidentiality of data when evaluating abortion services. The article concludes with recommendations concerning the evaluation of abortion services. 2 Tables, 16 References. Adapted from the source document.

  6. The Law of Fertility Regulation in the United States: A 1980 Review

    Isaacs, Stephen L

    Journal of Family Law, 1980-81, 19, 1, Nov, 65-96

    Extensive litigation over US fertility regulation laws has emerged in recent years. The current status of the law in this area is reviewed. Such regulation is an exercise of "police power"; as such, it is required to be "reasonable" & to serve the legitimate aims of government. The 1973 decision of the Supreme Court to permit abortion on decision of the mother & her MD in the first trimester of pregnancy, & with increasing restrictions thereafter, has evoked several challenges: proposals for a constitutional amendment, none yet successful; restrictions on federal funding of abortions; institutional conscience clauses permitting certain hospitals to refuse to perform abortions; & local & state laws imposing restrictions on abortions. Federal law on sterilization prohibits federal funding for sterilization of persons under age 21, the mentally incompetent or institutionalized, & women whose consent was obtained during abortion or delivery of a child. This leads to a variety of problems surrounding the sterilization of mentally retarded persons & the right of parents or others to consent to sterilization on their behalf. From 1965 to 1977, the right to obtain contraception was expanded, but major problems still surround the rights of minors to abortion, contraception, & voluntary sterilization. These changes are under attack, primarily in the areas of abortion & access of minors to fertility control aid; in particular, notification of parents is increasingly being required when children undergo abortions or receive contraceptive services. W. H. Stoddard.

  7. Abortion: Law, Public Services, and Decision

    Kleinbach, Russ

    Social Development Issues, 1983, 7, 2, summer, 43-49

    Any consideration of the abortion question must distinguish between proscriptive law, public service programs, & personal ethical decisions. The role of proscriptive law in personal decisions should be minimal; personal ethical decisions should originate in a sense of obligation to self & society. Collectively, society has an obligation to provide contraception information & abortions, as well as services (eg, counseling, financial support, & adoptive) for desired term pregnancies. Both elective abortions & normal pregnancies should be covered by medical insurance & welfare policies. Ethical issues related to abortion decisions are discussed in terms of Paul Tillich's definitions of love & justice, based on the notions of personal & social obligations (Love, Power, and Justice, New York: Oxford U Press, 1960). Modified HA.

  8. The Fetus as a Patient: Emerging Rights as a Person?

    Lenow, Jeffrey L

    American Journal of Law and Medicine, 1983, 9, 1, spring, 1-29

    Dramatic scientific breakthroughs in medical technology have revolutionized diagnosis in obstetrics. In the last few years, perinatologists have not only demonstrated the ability to discern fetal abnormalities of an extraordinary variety, but also have become increasingly successful in correcting many of these defects in utero. The potential medico-legal conflicts that may arise as fetal surgery becomes an accepted medical practice are identified. The legal rights of unborn persons are explored, with a particular emphasis on the role of viability in determining those rights. An examination of the concept of viability as developed by the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade & later abortion decisions indicates that current judicial deference to the medical community in determining viability is adequate for balancing rights in the abortion context. However, viability may be an inadequate benchmark for resolving conflicts among MDs & between the mother & her unborn child that may arise in the fetal surgery context. A recommendation is made to reform the current method of resolving the critical question of when a fetus becomes viable. Modified HA.

  9. Legal Abortion: The Impending Obsolescence of the Trimester Framework

    Mangel, Claudia Pap

    American Journal of Law and Medicine, 1988, 14, 1, spring, 69-108

    Women who wish to terminate a pregnancy, & MDs willing to perform abortions, are subject to increasing harassment from groups that challenge the constitutional abortion right upheld by the US Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade. Their vulnerability, in fact, parallels the vulnerability of the abortion right. Present medical evidence of maternal health risks & fetal viability demonstrates that the trimester framework established in Roe is inconsistent with current medical knowledge, & will likely be rendered obsolete by developments in medical technology. It is suggested that adoption of an alternative constitutional basis for legal abortion is necessary to preserve the abortion right; the utility of two arguments grounded in the equal protection doctrine are explored. Finally, means of preserving legal abortion within the confines of the trimester framework established in Roe are discussed. Modified HA.

  10. Keeping Abortion Clinics Open: The Importance of Ragsdale v. Turnock in the Post-Casey Era

    Mezey, Susan Gluck; Tatalovich, Raymond; Walsh, Michael

    Policy Studies Review, 1994, 13, 1-2, spring, 111-126

    In 1973, Roe v. Wade constitutionalized a woman's right to an abortion. But, while Roe removed most legal obstacles to abortion, it did not address the limited availability of abortion services in the nation. The case examined here, Ragsdale v. Turnock, revolved around an IL statute that imposed far-reaching restrictions on abortion clinics, the site of most US abortions since Roe. The crucial role of clinics in providing abortion services explains why the dispute represented by Ragsdale had the potential for an enormous impact on legalized abortion in the US. Because of the number of women affected, the Ragsdale litigation could have led to the most significant judicial ruling since Roe. The suit resulted in a settlement in which plaintiffs secured the right to a legal clinic abortion during the first 18 weeks of pregnancy. Although the case was settled to the satisfaction of prochoice advocates, a similar law today might well survive constitutional scrutiny. 23 References. Adapted from the source document.

  11. Should Parental Involvement Be Required for Minors' Abortions?

    Rodman, Hyman

    Family Relations, 1991, 40, 2, Apr, 155-160

    The US Supreme Court has recently indicated a greater degree of willingness to accept state restrictions on a woman's right to an abortion. Debates have therefore been raging in most state legislatures about which restrictions, if any, to impose. One of the major restrictions being debated is whether to require parental involvement for minors' abortions. Although such restrictions have widespread public support, several key reasons are presented as to why parental involvement should not be legally required. Family practitioners are in an excellent position to inform the public & policymakers about the potential deleterious effects of such legislation. 36 References. Adapted from the source document.

  12. The Abortion Struggle in America

    Warren, Mary Anne

    Bioethics, 1989, 3, 4, Oct, 320-332

    The legal, practical, & political implications of the US Supreme Court's July 1989 decision in the Webster v. Reproductive Health Services case are discussed in an examination of the history of antiabortion legislation in the US, including the more recent antiabortion movement. The era of prohibition, Roe v. Wade & its predecessors, & the coming political struggle in the individual states are reviewed. It is suggested that: the constitutional right to abortion is no longer secure; the new limits on each state's power to regulate abortion will be repeatedly tested; the right to abortion will increasingly depend on political action at state & local levels; & there is little probability that US women will soon have legal access to RU 486, the abortion pill developed in France, but a black market for it may soon emerge. J. L. Davis.

  13. From Pragmatism to Politics: A Qualitative Study of Abortion Providers

    Wear, Delese

    Women and Health, 2002, 36, 4, 103-113

    Twenty-eight years after the US Supreme Court issued its landmark Roe v. Wade, the struggle continues to ensure that all women have the full range of reproductive choices, including abortion. While the struggle can be addressed through its political, religious, & medical dimensions, it also can be examined through the perspectives of those who actually provide abortions. This paper examines the perspectives of physician abortion providers to understand more fully their motivations, the quality of their personal & professional lives, their views on the future of abortion services, & their recommendations for undergraduate & residency medical education. Such questions are often best answered through qualitative inquiry, particularly when the subject at hand has had little interpretive scrutiny, lacks theoretical understandings, & remains in general an under-investigated phenomenon. Because abortion providers & the work they do fit those criteria, a qualitative study of physician providers in OH was undertaken. This paper is divided into the following sections: a literature review of abortion services in the US, methods, interview data & discussion, & last, recommendations & conclusions. 13 References. Adapted from the source document. COPIES ARE AVAILABLE FROM: HAWORTH DOCUMENT DELIVERY CENTER, The Haworth Press, Inc., 10 Alice Street, Binghamton, NY 13904-1580.

  14. The Christian Right and Its Impact on American Politics

    Al-ghamdi, Abdullah J

    Journal of the Social Sciences, 2000, 28, 3, autumn, 7-41

    Many political analysts argue that Christian Right groups are beginning to arise as a major religious & social force with enormous impact on the American political landscape. While this shift goes back to the late 1980s, it has spread since the 1994 election, with religious Right groups helping elect candidates to public office at local, state, & national levels & having considerable impact on several significant issues such as abortion, homosexuality, family values, school prayer, & US support of Israel. This study attempts to analyze the reasons behind this shift toward religious values in the US & its possible consequences for American politics. In doing so, the study focuses on one of the most active organizations of the Christian Right, the Christian Coalition, founded & led by evangelist & politician Pat Robertson. Adapted from the source document.

  15. How Interest Groups Attempt to Shape Public Opinion with Competing News Frames

    Andsager, Julie L

    Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 2000, 77, 3, autumn, 577-592

    In competing to shape policy, interest groups develop rhetoric to garner media coverage & favorable public opinion, influencing how journalists frame issues because interest groups' positions can be pervasive. This study examines how pro-choice & pro-life groups attempted to frame the late-term abortion debate in 1995-1996. Interest groups' frames were derived from their press releases & direct quotations in news stories. Pro-life rhetoric was more frequent in six major newspapers' coverage & was more closely associated with the issue than pro-choice rhetoric. Findings add to framing knowledge by illustrating how the sources selected & their own words can influence news. 2 Tables, 1 Figure. Adapted from the source document.

  16. Core Beliefs and Abortion Attitudes: A Look at Latinos

    Bolks, Sean M; Evans, Diana; Polinard, J L; Wrinkle, Robert D

    Social Science Quarterly, 2000, 81, 1, Mar, 253-260

    Examines variables that influence the abortion attitudes of the three largest Latino populations in the US - Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, & Cubans. Using data from the Latino National Political Survey (N = 2,418 respondents), multivariate & ordered logit analyses are conducted to examine the effects of selected variables on abortion attitudes. It is found that attitudes toward abortion among the Latino populations are influenced by the same sets of variables that influence the attitudes of non-Latinos. Abortion is not an ethnic issue in the sense that the term is generally used. 2 Tables, 33 References. Adapted from the source document.

  17. Abortion Decisions among Hispanic Women along the Texas-Mexico Border

    Brown, Robert W; Jewell, R Todd; Rous, Jeffrey J

    Social Science Quarterly, 2000, 81, 1, Mar, 237-252

    Examines abortion decisions of 27,560 Hispanic women in TX counties bordering Mexico to test the hypothesis that ethnicity as well as geographic location may capture differences in assimilation to the US culture that, ultimately, influence fertility-control decisions. Focus is on the connection between the abortion decision & provider availability as measured by distance to the nearest abortion provider. The empirical model uses a logit specification to compare the abortion decisions of border Hispanics to both Hispanic & Anglo women residing in nonborder regions of TX in 1993. Findings reveal characteristic differences among the abortion decisions, by ethnicity & geographic location. In particular, border-region Hispanics are quantitatively more responsive to variations in the availability of abortion providers, poverty rates, female employment rates, & urbanization. Abortion decisions of nonborder Hispanics appear to more closely resemble those of Anglo women rather than those of their Hispanic counterparts in the border region. Border economic development is likely to have a significant impact on abortion & fertility rates in the region. 3 Tables, 20 References. Adapted from the source document.

  18. The Value of Life: The Effects of Religion Belief upon Opinion on Abortion, Euthanasia and the Death Penalty

    Cooper, William Christopher

    Southern Sociological Society (SSS), 2000

    Uses logistic regression to examine what effect religion & religiosity have on opinions of abortion, euthanasia, & capital punishment in an attempt to make sense of some of the differences seen between both sides of the debate over the value of a human life. The 1996 General Social Survey is used in an attempt to answer several nagging questions on these topics, as raised by the previous studies detailed in a literature review. Do religious beliefs or strength of such beliefs effect one's belief in the value of human life? Do such opinions differ because of a person's age or economic status? Does one's opinion on euthanasia affect their opinion on other death-related topics such as abortion &/or capital punishment & vice versa? Results show no consistent pattern for religious variables by themselves, but some definite patterns emerge with the addition of demographic control variables & opinion variables associated with each of the issues at hand.

  19. Gender and the Political Choices of Women Clergy

    Crawford, Sue E S; Deckman, Melissa M; Braun, Christi J

    CHRISTIAN CLERGY IN AMERICAN POLITICS, Crawford, Sue E. S., & Olson, Laura R. [Eds], Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins U Press, 2001, pp 47-65

    Studies indicate female clergy are more likely to express social justice concerns & to be more theologically & politically liberal than their male counterparts. However, little attention has been given to what experiences affect the political views of women clergy or how their attitudes translate into political action. Data drawn from in-depth interviews with 31 women clergy serving in religious traditions open to theological liberalism in Omaha, NE, & Washington, DC, were used to explore how gender-related experiences affect political attitudes/choices. The focus was on mobilization, context, & socialization related to both the kinds of issues that inspire women clergy to become involved & obstacles to political participation. The findings confirmed that gender affects political choices because the professional experiences of women clergy differ from those of men. Feminist socialization & being a member of a professional minority provide an impetus for engagement in political action, especially on issues like discrimination & abortion. The potential for increased tensions between liberal & conservative religious groups as more women enter the ministry is discussed. 3 Tables. J. Lindroth.

  20. Polarization in Abortion Attitudes in U.S. Religious Traditions, 1972-1998

    Evans, John H

    Sociological Forum, 2002, 17, 3, Sept, 397-422

    Studies have shown that attitudes toward abortion are polarizing. Yet, these studies have not focused on what is often assumed to be the cause of polarization - religion. In this paper, I find that polarization has increased between mainline & evangelical Protestants, as well as between black Protestants & both Catholics & white evangelicals. Moreover, I find that mainline Protestants & Catholics are internally polarizing. Finally, while I cannot determine the cause of the internal polarization of Catholics, the polarization in mainline Protestantism is caused by demographic changes. For white evangelicals, demographic changes have restrained polarization that would otherwise have occurred. 7 Tables, 3 Figures, 1 Appendix, 36 References. Adapted from the source document.

  21. Opinion Polarization: Important Contributions, Necessary Limitations

    Evans, John H; Bryson, Bethany; DiMaggio, Paul

    American Journal of Sociology, 2001, 106, 4, Jan, 944-959

    A response to Ted Mouw & Michael E. Sobel's study, "Culture Wars and Opinion Polarization: The Case of Abortion," in which they claim US attitudes toward abortion have not been polarizing, notes their results are contrary to those reported in the authors' 1996 article, "Have Americans' Social Attitudes Become More Polarized?," which indicated that abortion was the one exception to the finding that polarization toward morally charged social issues had not increased in the last 20 years. Mouw & Sobel have provided a valuable new tool for studying polarization, although they addressed only one of four indicators used in the 1996 study. When their model was applied to National Election Study data extended from 1980 through 1998, the results indicated that polarization increased in responses about abortion, with a shift toward the liberal end of the distribution. Nonetheless, Mouw & Sobel's test improves tests of dispersion by solving the difficulties stemming from ordinal data, making it easier to avoid the risk of conflating changes in mean, variance, & bimodality. 3 Tables, 2 Figures, 20 References. J. Lindroth.

  22. How Storytelling Can Be Empowering

    Gamson, William A

    CULTURE IN MIND: TOWARD A SOCIOLOGY OF CULTURE AND COGNITION, Cerulo, Karen A. [Ed], New York: Routledge, 2002 pp 187-198

    Addresses the institutionalization of formats, the recognition of certain themes by their particular information arrangements. In policy discourse, institutional formats guide public dialogues. The formatting of stories on both sides of the abortion debate by the news media is examined to determine to what extent format enables discursive opportunity to mobilize public opinion. Personalization historically was reserved for private exchange, but the US media had been criticized for excessive abstraction of abortion discourse that ignores the concrete realities for women with unwanted pregnancies & for the potential life of each fetus. Personalization is now used in the media's formatting of abortion stories & other policy issues. Reasons for this approach are explored, & the potential of this approach to empower readers & viewers by connecting the language of everyday life to policy discourse is observed. 20 References. L. A. Hoffman.

  23. Abortion Polls: Ideology and Social Science

    Groth, Philip

    Sociological Imagination, 2000, 37, 1, 46-79

    In the US abortion debate, tensions between the pro-choice & pro-life organizations have become so intense that a Washington, DC-based conflict resolution group has promoted a network for life & choice. Even this group centers its attention on the rhetoric of the very movements that have intensified the conflict, keeping it a captive of the status quo. Proposed here are ways of polling Americans about abortion that challenge the political status quo & are based on social science perspectives & studies of abortion issues. Sociologists have found that the choices Americans make about unwanted pregnancies have been governed by religious norms & norms of responsible parenthood; in addition, medical providers may severely limit the conditions under which abortions are available. Realistic poll questions should investigate whether the present & emerging norms concerning reproduction serve the nation well. They would also inquire how the reproductive norms & ethics most popular in large, urban centers of opinion making relate to parallel norms in smaller areas. 3 Tables, 2 Figures, 1 Appendix, 78 References. Adapted from the source document.

  24. The Impact of Mandatory Waiting Periods and Parental Consent Laws on the Timing of Abortion and State of Occurrence among Adolescents in Mississippi and South Carolina

    Joyce, Ted; Kaestner, Robert

    Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 2001, 20, 2, spring, 263-282

    Individual data on induced abortions from Mississippi & South Carolina are used to examine the effect of parental consent laws & mandatory delay statutes on two outcomes among teens: the point in pregnancy at which the abortion occurs & whether teens obtain abortions in or outside their state of residence. No effect of either law was found on the timing & location of abortion among minors relative to older teens in South Carolina. In Mississippi, however, both laws are associated with an increase in the proportion of abortions performed out of the state & the parental consent statute with later abortions. The conclusion is that Mississippi's 24-hour as compared with South Carolina's one-hour delay requirement, & Mississippi's two-parent as contrasted with South Carolina's one-parent consent statute explain the stronger behavioral response in Mississippi. 5 Tables, 2 Figures, 21 References. [Copyright 2001 John Wiley and Sons, Ltd.].

  25. Reproductive Health Differences among Latin American- and US-Born Young Women

    Minnis, Alexandra M; Padian, Nancy S

    Journal of Urban Health, 2001, 78, 4, Dec, 627-637

    Investigations of reproductive health within Latinos living in the US suggest that sexual behaviors & contraception use practices vary by ethnicity & between foreign- & US-born adolescents. This article compares high-risk sexual behaviors & reproductive health among foreign-born Latinas, US-born Latinas, & US-born non-Latinas, aged 15-24 years. We recruited 361 females from reproductive health clinics in the San Francisco Bay Area of CA between 1995 & 1998; these women completed an interview that assessed sexual risk behaviors & history of pregnancy, abortion, & sexually transmitted infections. Current chlamydial & gonococcal infections were detected through biological testing. Among participants, aged 15-18 years, US-born Latinas were more likely to have been pregnant (odds ratio [OR] comparing US-born Latinas & US-born non-Latinas = 3.9, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.3, 11.4), whereas among respondents, aged 19-24 years, foreign-born Latinas were more likely to have been pregnant than US-born Latinas (OR = 11.3, 95% CI 1.0, 130.8) & US-born non-Latinas (OR = 64.2, 95% CI 9.9, 416.3). US-born Latinas were most likely to have had an abortion (OR comparing US-born Latinas & US-born non-Latinas = 2.0, 95% CI 0.9, 4.7). They were also most likely to have chlamydial infection at study enrollment (8.2% prevalence compared to 2.2% & 1.0%for foreign-born Latinas & US-born non-Latinas, respectively; P = .009). Reproductive health differences between foreign- & US-born females & within the US-born population warrant further examination & highlight the need for targeted prevention. 3 Tables, 21 References. Adapted from the source document.

  26. Culture Wars and Opinion Polarization: The Case of Abortion

    Mouw, Ted; Sobel, Michael E

    American Journal of Sociology, 2001, 106, 4, Jan, 913-943

    Recent observers have pointed to a growing polarization within the US public over politicized moral issues - the so-called culture wars. DiMaggio, Evans, & Bryson studied trends over the past 25 years in American opinion on a number of critical social issues, finding little evidence of increased polarization; abortion is the primary exception. However, their conclusions are suspect because they treat ordinal or nominal scales as interval data. This article proposes new methods for studying polarization using ordinal data & uses these to model the National Election Study (NES) abortion item. Whereas the analysis of this item by DiMaggio et al points to increasing polarization of abortion attitudes between 1972 & 1994, this article's analyses of these data offer little support for this conclusion & lend weight to their view that recent concerns over polarization are overstated. 6 Tables, 2 Figures, 2 Appendixes, 51 References. Adapted from the source document.

  27. Becoming an Activist: Believers, Sympathizers, and Mobilization in the American Pro-Life Movement

    Munson, Ziad Wael

    Dissertation Abstracts International, A: The Humanities and Social Sciences, 2002, 63, 1, July, 368-A

    This is a life-history interview and ethnographic study of the pro-life movement in four U.S. metropolitan areas: Boston MA, Charleston SC, Minneapolis/St. Paul MN, and Oklahoma City OK. I model the process of becoming an activist to explain how some individuals become mobilized into the movement while demographically and attitudinally similar individuals do not. The central claim of this model is that coherent beliefs about abortion are not formed until late in the mobilization process, after an individual has already experienced some movement participation. Individuals are first drawn into movement action through social networks for motivations other than concern over abortion. Beliefs about abortion are formed through pro-life participation and are extremely important to the overall movement. Differences in beliefs about strategy create a movement structure in which pro-life organizations and activists work in independent and mutually exclusive social movement streams. Differences in beliefs about why abortion is wrong cross-cut this structure and are the source of significant tension within the movement. Religious beliefs also play a role, although the relationship between religion and the movement is complex. Religion does not provide substantial institutional resources or direct recruitment opportunities for the movement, even though religious and movement practices are often closely intertwined. Moreover, a substantial minority of pro-life activists have found a religious faith as a result of their social movement activism, rather than being drawn into activism as a result of pre-existing religious beliefs.

  28. Religion, Plausibility Structures, and Education's Effect on Attitudes toward Elective Abortion

    Petersen, Larry R

    Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 2001, 40, 2, June, 187-203

    This study tests three hypotheses derived from Peter L. Berger's (1967) plausibility theory. The first hypothesis states that among people who attend church frequently, education's liberalizing effect on attitudes toward elective abortion is weakest among conservative Protestants & Catholics, intermediate among moderate Protestants, & strongest among liberal Protestants & Jews. Hypothesis 2 states that education's effect is weaker among frequent than infrequent attendees in all religious groups except liberal Protestants & Jews, & Hypothesis 3 states that education's effect does not vary by religious group among infrequent attendees. Using General Social Survey data, I found strong support for Hypotheses 1 & 2 & partial support for Hypothesis 3. I discuss the implications of the findings for plausibility theory. 4 Tables, 3 Figures, 41 References. Adapted from the source document.

  29. The Polls-Trends: Abortion

    Shaw, Greg M

    Public Opinion Quarterly, 2003, 67, 3, fall, 407-429

    Using the results of multiple surveys, this study reviews public opinion data from the late 1980s to 2003 on key issues on the debate concerning abortion. Issues included the morality of abortions, whether abortions should be legal, support for a constitutional amendment to ban abortion, & the degree of access to abortion. The surveys also tracked public opinion concerning federal funding for abortions, whether spousal & parental notification should be necessary, & whether waiting periods should be imposed. It was found that public opinion has remained stable during the 1990s, with most Americans not dramatically changing their opinions concerning abortion. Sharp distinctions, however, were found for support of the motivations & circumstances of women seeking abortions. There was far stronger support for abortions for women whose life or health were threatened by the pregnancy, than for those who were motivated by fetal defects, financial hardship, or no desire for children. 1 Appendix, 9 References. L. A. Hoffman.

  30. Missing Poststructuralism, Missing Foucault: Butler and Fraser on Capitalism and the Regulation of Sexuality

    Smith, Anna Marie

    Social Text, 2001, 19, 2(67), summer, 103-125

    This article discusses the politics of sexuality as reflected in the writings of Judith Butler & Nancy Fraser. Recent legislation has limited abortion rights, Medicaid funding for abortion, welfare benefits paid to single mothers, & the rights of same-sex couples. The author's premise is that matters of economic justice must be considered within their political context. The economic leftist, class-centric perspective is an unsatisfactory alternative to the liberal approach of depoliticization. Main topics are Butler's views on the regulation of sexuality & capitalism; Fraser's analytic Weberianism; & a comparison of the work of Butler & Fraser. J. R. Callahan.

  31. Changing Frameworks in Attitudes toward Abortion

    Strickler, Jennifer; Danigelis, Nicholas L

    Sociological Forum, 2002, 17, 2, June, 187-201

    For more than two decades, legal abortion has been the subject of heated political debate & adversarial social movement activity; however, national polls have shown little change in aggregate levels of support for abortion. This analysis examines how the determinants of abortion attitudes changed between 1977 & 1996, using data from the General Social Surveys. While in early time periods, whites were more approving of abortion than blacks, that pattern had reversed by the late 1980s. After controlling for other factors, older people were more accepting of abortion throughout the two decades, while gender was generally unrelated to abortion views. Catholic religion weakened slightly as a predictor of abortion attitudes, while religious fundamentalism & political liberalism increased in explanatory power. The associations between attitudinal correlates & abortion approval also changed over this time period. Religiosity became a less powerful predictor of abortion attitudes, while respondents' attitudes toward sexual freedom & beliefs in the sanctity of human life increased in their predictive power. Support for gender inequality remained a weak but stable predictor of abortion attitudes. This pattern of results suggests that the public was influenced more by the pro-life framework of viewing abortion than by the pro-choice perspective. 3 Tables, 28 References. Adapted from the source document.

  32. Culture and Class as Determinants of Out-of-Wedlock Childbearing and Poverty during Late Adolescence

    Sullivan, Mercer L

    Journal of Research on Adolescence, 1993, 3, 3, 295-316

    The effects of income level & membership in different race/ethnic categories on teenagers' decisions to terminate pregnancies through abortion, or to marry if they decide to keep the baby, are examined using ethnographic data obtained 1984-1987 in 3 neighborhoods - predominantly black, Hispanic, or non-Latino white - in Brooklyn, NY, & statistical data from birth & abortion records for those areas. Findings reveal higher abortion rates & lower marriage rates among poorer residents of all 3 areas, but the role of culture - manifested in processes of family & household formation - is also strong. Latinos are far more likely to marry & less likely to have abortions than are whites or blacks, whose marrige & abortion rates are similar. 2 Tables, 33 References. Adapted from the source document.

  33. Parental Involvement Laws, Religion, and Abortion Rates

    Tomal, Annette

    Gender Issues, 2000, 18, 4, fall, 33-46

    This article explores whether policy endogeneity partially explains the negative relationship generally reported between parental involvement laws & abortion rates. Both the law & anti-abortion sentiment may be responsible for lower abortion rates. To explore this, a religiosity level variable was used as a proxy for anti-abortion sentiment. The relationship of parental involvement laws & religiosity level to abortion rates was analyzed for teenagers & adults in four age groups: 15-19, 20-24, 25-29, & 30-34. Residence county-level 1995 abortion rates were regressed against parental involvement laws & religiosity levels as well as several control county-level variables. The sample consisted of the 1,008 counties from the 17 states that reported abortion numbers by county & by age group. Parental involvement laws were highly statistically significantly related to lower abortion rates for all four age groups; the coefficient was larger, however, when the religiosity level variable was excluded from the model. The coefficient for the religiosity level was highly statistically significant for all four age groups when the parental involvement variable was excluded from the model. When the parental involvement variable was included in the model, the coefficient for the religiosity level decreased for all four age groups & was statistically significant for only three of the four age groups. Findings suggest that the negative relationship between parental involvement laws & abortion rates seems to reflect some policy endogeneity so that the reported impact of parental involvement laws may be overstated. 5 Tables, 27 References. Adapted from the source document.

  34. Social and Cultural Determinants of Attitudes toward Abortion: A Test of Reiss' Hypotheses

    Wang, Guang-zhen; Buffalo, M D

    The Social Science Journal, 2004, 41, 1, 93-105

    This study attempts to test Reiss's hypotheses of the effects of social & cultural variables on abortion attitudes using NORC General Social Survey data 1972-1998. The analysis was done in three steps. First, changes in public opinions on abortion were examined. Second, regression analysis was used to assess the effects of social-cultural variables. Third, we used path analysis to determine the direct & indirect effects of the social-cultural variables on abortion attitudes. Empirical findings indicate the importance of education, gender-role attitudes, fundamentalist beliefs, & childbearing motivation in predicting attitudes toward abortion. Policy implications & limitations of the study are discussed. 5 Tables, 2 Figures, 59 References. Adapted from the source document.