Abortion is among the most divisive issues in American society. Zealots on both the pro and anti abortion sides claim to have the majority of the American public on their side, which cannot be true. A recent sample of over 1,000 Americans were questioned on the topic, and their attitudes are recorded to determine whether the majority of Americans are pro-abortion, anti-abortion, or neither. Differences in attitudes about abortion are noted between married and unmarried individuals and between men and women. Recommendations for future study are made.
Among the most divisive issues in America today is the issue of abortion. If one were to judge by news coverage alone, one would assume that the nation is divided into two camps, pro-abortion and anti-abortion (the terms "pro-abortion" and "anti-abortion" will be used here, rather than the misleading terms of "pro-choice" and "pro-life"). Each of these camps claim to represent the mainstream consensus of the general populace, and spokespersons from each cite polling statistics to support this position. Clearly, this cannot be the case, as such a consensus for one position would necessarily preclude the other.
This study will attempt to rectify this flaw by examining the effects of one particular social variable on abortion attitudes, while controlling for gender. The dependent variable in question will be marital status, and two research questions will be addressed: First, are there differences in abortion attitudes by marital status? Second, do these differences hold across genders?
In recent years, some researchers have come to see abortion as merely a sub-issue contained within the wider issues of gender equality and traditional family values (e.g., Dworkin, 1983; Ginsburg, 1989; Luker, 1984). Some researchers suggest that women's abortion attitudes, like other political issues, reflect traditional divisions in society (Plutzer, 1988). Others argue that women's abort...