141st APHA Annual Meeting

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Examining the complexity of abortion opinions in the United States: Implications for public health policy

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 : 11:30 AM - 11:45 AM

Kristen Jozkowski, PhD , Community Health Promotion, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR
Brandon Crawford, MA , Sociology, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK
Abortion remains a salient, but contentious, public health issue in the US. Access to safe, legal abortions has been severely restricted since abortion became legal, suggesting that general opinions may be more “pro-life” based. Previous research has examined the extent to which specific characteristics (e.g., age, gender) predict abortion attitudes utilizing a dichotomous, Pro-choice versus Pro-life, outcome. However, little research has examined the extent to which abortion opinions are more complex (i.e., people's opinions deviate from strictly pro-choice/pro-life stances, with more nuanced attitudes towards access to/legalization of abortion). As such, the current study assessed rates and predictors of complexity in abortion opinions.

Data from the General Social Survey were utilized to assess rates and predictors of complexity in abortion opinions. Multiple regression was utilized to assess predictors (race, religious views, age, gender, education, political affiliation, ideology) of complexity in abortion opinions.

Results indicated that some predictors found to be significant regarding dichotomous abortion opinions were not significant or equally correlated to complexity in abortion opinions. Specifically, race, age, and political affiliation were not related to complexity in abortion opinions, however, ideology and religious identifications were significant predictors. Education exhibited the strongest negative correlation with complexity of abortion opinions.

Although policymakers and media portray abortion as black and white, current findings suggests that women and men believe access to safe abortion should be available in certain situation. Current findings provide a more accurate view of abortion opinions which should be used to inform future policies regarding legal access to safe abortions.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe the relevance of using a complexity in abortion opinions measure in understanding people’s attitudes towards access to abortion. Identify key predictors of complexity in abortion opinions. Articulate how understanding the complexity in abortion attitudes could help inform public health approaches to improving policies surround access to safe, legal abortion.

Keywords: Abortion, Advocacy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have a PhD in Health Behavior and a Master's degree in Health Promotion from Indiana University and I am currently an Assistant Professor of Community Health Promotion at the University of Arkansas.
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.