Publication Date


Degree Program

Department of Sociology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


In recent years there has been a break in a long "conspiracy of silence" on the subject of abortion, and attitude toward abortion has come to demand a great deal of public attention. The year 1967 marked the first changes in the abortion-prohibition laws of the United States in three-quarters of a century. And in early 1973, the United States Supreme Court, for all practical purposes, legalized abortion. The gist of the Supreme Court's ruling was that, except in very limited circumstances, government may not deter the right to abortion at will. Reaction to the Court's decision has been forthcoming from both abortion proponents and opponents alike. Those who favor abortion have heralded the pronouncement as "an advance in social ethics" while those who disfavor abortion have denounced it as the "slaughter of the innocent unborn." The ethical questions about the termination of pregnancy cannot, of course, be settled by any court ruling. However, with the removal of legal restraints, attitude toward abortion may well become a more productive area of investigation with the interpretation of the effectiveness of selected variables taking on added salience in the explanation of these attitudes. Some research efforts have been directed toward religious dimensions of attitude toward abortion. Few researchers, however, have sought to go beyond traditional Protestant-Catholic-Jewish differences in their examinations of the relationship between attitude toward abortion and religion. Moreover, fewer still have examined differences in this relationship among the various Protestant denominations. Judith Blake has indicated directions for further inquiry into this subject. Concerning Catholic-non-Catholic disapproval of abortion, she states: "It also seems understandable that in general non-Catholics would disapprove less than Catholics, but that fundamentalist non-Catholics (located in the South and Midwest) would be on par with Catholics when it comes to disapproval." Is religion a significant factor in differentiating attitude toward abortion? And if religion is significant, how will it relate to these attitudes when other sociological variables are controlled? As a reflection of some previous inquiries, it is proposed to investigate attitude toward abortion using selected sociological variables in the analysis. More specifically, the purpose in this thesis is to examine whether or not Protestant denominational orientation has any relationship to attitude toward abortion.


Religion | Sociology