Online Program

Religion, poverty and politics- and their effects on women's reproductive rights

Monday, November 4, 2013 : 8:50 a.m. - 9:10 a.m.

Richard Kimball Jr., MSN/MPH, PHCNS-BC, RN, PhD, College of Nursing, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM
Purpose The question of how to limit women's reproductive rights has been a focal point of several recent elections- both state and federal. This study sought to establish the interactions among key social determinants including religion, voting patterns and socio-economic status (SES) and their policy effects on women's reproductive health outcomes including abortion, teen pregnancy and infant mortality rates (IMR).

Rationale/Background Despite the US languishing behind much of the industrialized world in IMR, the focus of recent political debates has often focused on issues surrounding abortion, instead of the health outcomes that might lower IMR, like the reduction of teen pregnancy rates. All too often policy decision-making is based on politics and moral/religious beliefs, instead of research.

Methods State level data of three women's reproductive health outcomes (IMR, abortion and teen pregnancy rates) from national databases were used. Religiosity was compiled using the Pew Forum's surveys. State voting results were from the 2008 presidential race, and were used as a proxy measure for conservative versus liberal leaning policies/policy-makers. For SES, poverty rates were used.

Results In multivariate analyses, higher IMR was associated with higher religiosity scores (p<.01; r2=.46). Lower abortion rates were associated with voting conservative (i.e. Republican) (p<.01; r2=.27). Higher teen pregnancy was associated with higher poverty rates (p<.01) and voting conservative (p<.01; r2=.77).

Implications More attention needs to be paid to the health outcomes affected by policies at the state level. There are significant inequalities between liberal and conservative states that affect women's health outcomes.

Learning Areas:

Diversity and culture
Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe at least 2 effects of voting patterns on infant mortality rates, teen pregnancy rates and abortion rates. Describe at least 2 effects of religion on infant mortality rates, teen pregnancy rates and abortion rates. Describe at least 2 effects of poverty rates on infant mortality rates, teen pregnancy rates and abortion rates.

Keyword(s): Social Justice, Women's Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have researched, compiled, and analyzed all data related to this paper.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.