Changes in the Attitudinal Correlations of Opposition to Abortion, 1977-1985

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The relative importance of respect for human life and sexual conservatism as rationales for opposition to abortion is examined for three religious groups for the years 1977, 1982, and 1985. In general, Catholics, non-fundamentalist Protestants, and fundamentalist Protestants tend to oppose abortion because of respect for human life for the entire period. However, there exist in 1977 substantial differences in rationales for opposing elective abortion. In 1977, Catholics who oppose elective abortion tend to do so out of respect for life, while Protestants who oppose elective abortion tend to endorse a sexually conservative rationale. By 1985, all groups, except fundamentalists, oppose elective abortion due to considerations of sexual morality. For fundamentalists in 1985, considerations of life and sexual conservatism are of equal importance in explaining opposition to elective abortion.


Abortion; Catholics; Conservativism; Evangelicalism; Pro-life movement; Protestants; Religion; Religion and politics; Sex; Sexual ethics


Catholic Studies | Political Science | Religion | Women's Studies


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