Religion and Attitudes toward Abortion among U.S. Adults

Jennifer B. Barrett, Loyola University Chicago
Christopher G. Ellison, University of Texas at Austin
Clifford Grammich, RAND Corporation
Julie DaVanzo, RAND Corporation

Previous research has established the role of religion in shaping attitudes toward abortion among adults in the United States, particularly for conservative Protestants. However, less work has examined opinions about abortion policy or specific views about the potential positive and negative consequences of legal abortion. Utilizing a unique, nationally representative data set (1,500) containing information about abortion attitudes and individual religious characteristics, we assess the influence of religion on policy preferences for abortion availability and perceptions of the consequences of legal abortion. We find that regular or frequent religious attendance and affiliation with a conservative Protestant denomination are associated with less support for the general availability of elective abortion and less positive assessments of the consequences of legal abortion, but findings differ depending on religious subcultural self-identification. Our findings broaden the knowledge about associations between personal religiosity and attitudes toward abortion and contribute to clarifying the meaning and social influences of subjective religious self-identification.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Session 69: Religion, Sexuality and Fertility