Abortion and the Importance of Religion

Abortion and the Importance of Religion

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Abortion and the Importance of Religion

There is a negative relationship between support for abortion and the importance
of religion, while controlling party affiliation. Among males, there is a negative relationship between support for abortion and the importance of religion. Among females, there is a negative relationship between support for abortion and
the importance of religion.

A person’s religious background greatly influences whether or not they support
abortion. When religion plays an important role in someone’s life, they are less likely to
support abortion. Most religions strongly disapprove of the taking of someone’s life.
They consider it one of the highest sins a human can commit. They believe that abortion is
considered murder because even a fetus has a spirit so it shall be considered a living
human. When religion plays a less important role in a person’s life, they are more likely to
support abortion. These people are more likely to consider reasons for the abortion rather
than never permitting it. These people tend to look at the women and why she is
requesting the abortion. They are less likely to consider a fetus a living being until it is
born.
The first hypothesis indicates that the higher the importance of religion is to a
person the less supportive they would be of abortion, with regards to that persons political
party affiliation. The party in which a person identifies with will have a direct effect on the
link between support for abortion and the importance of religion. Political parties, as well
as a persons religious background, play a major role in attitudes towards different issues.
By nature, democrats are more likely to approve abortion than republicans. A person’s
religious background usually has an effect on which party they associate themselves with.
Therefore, there must be a link between a person’s party affiliation, religious background,
and their support of abortion.
The second and third hypotheses indicate that gender has an effect on support for
abortion based on their religious beliefs. I believe that men are less likely to approve
abortion than women because of the women’s’ movement that has been going on for
years. Many women are more apt to approve of the idea of pro-choice. They want to
decide what is best for them, not some politician in Washington, D.C. A 90’s women is
more independent than say a 50’s women. They are battling for women’s rights.
Abortion is a very controversial issue which directly effects women’s rights. I believe that

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men are less likely to support women’s rights because it will take power away from them.
Most of our government positions are held by men. By giving the decision of abortion to
women, it is taking away more of their power over us.


Operationalization
In order to test my hypotheses, I chose two variables and two controls. My
dependent variable was support for abortion. This variable was based on four responses:
never permitted, for rape or incest, if there was a clear health need, and always permitted.
My independent variable was importance of religion. Originally, this variable contained
four scaled responses: high, 3, 2, and low. In order to receive more obvious results, I
recoded the responses into to categories. The high consists of high and 3. The low
consists of low and 2. My first control variable was party affiliation. Originally, this
consisted of seven responses: strong democrat, weak democrat, independent democrat,
independent, independent republican, weak republican, and strong republican. In order to
receive more accurate results, I recoded them down to three responses. Strong
democrats, weak democrats and independent democrats were recoded to democrats. The
independent response stayed the same. Finally, the independent republicans, weak
republicans, and the strong republicans were recoded to republicans. My second control
was gender. These responses were simply male and female.

Analysis of Data

Table 1
Support for Abortion by Importance of Religion: 1996
(In Percentages)

________________________________________________________________________

Importance of Religion

Support for Abortion Low High

Never Permitted 3.4 20.6

For Rape, Incest 19.9 38.5

If Clear Need 19.6 13.0

Always Permitted 57.1 27.9

Totals 100.0 100.0
(N) (739) (723)
Source: National Science Foundation, University of Michigan, 1996

Table 1 is the original table. It shows that 20.6% of people with a high importance
level of religion never permit abortion. Of the other people with a high importance level
of religion, 38.5% permit it for rape or incest, 13% permit it if there is a clear health need,
and 27.9% always permit it. Of the people with a low importance level of religion, 3.4%
never permit it, 19.9% permit it for rape or incest, 19.6% permit it if there is a clear health
need, and 57.1% always permit it. This indicates that when religion plays a less important
role, a person is more likely to support abortion. Pearson’s Chi-square equals .000. This
shows that the relationship between religious importance and support for abortion is
statistically significant. Kendall’s tau-c equals -.405. This shows that there is a negative
relationship between the two variables and that relationship is statistically significant.


Table 2
Support for Abortion by Importance of Religion Among Democrats: 1996
(In Percentages)



Importance of Religion
Democrats
Support for Abortion Low High

Never Permitted 2.3 19.0

For Rape, Incest 16.3 32.3

If Clear Need 19.6 13.6

Always Permitted 61.8 35.1

Totals 100.0 100.0
(N) 387 368
Source: National Science Foundation, University of Michigan, 1996

This table shows the relationship between the importance of religion and support
for abortion among democrats. 19% of Democrats with a high importance level of
religion never permit abortion; 32.3% permit it for rape or incest, 13.6% support it if there
is a clear health need and 35.1% always permit it. Only 2.3% of Democrats with a low
importance level of religion never permit abortion; 16.3% permit it in the case of rape or
incest; 19.6% support it if there is a clear health need; and 61.8% always permit it. Both
Pearson’s chi-square and Kendall’s tau-c show that there is a statistical significance level.
These results indicate that when compared to the original table, the biggest effect of this
control variable comes when asked whether or not the person always supports abortion.
Democrats are more likely to always permit abortion.


Table 3
Support for Abortion by Importance of Religion Among Independents: 1996
(In Percentages)



Importance of Religion
Independents
Support for Abortion Low High

Never Permitted 3.4 16.7

For Rape, Incest 15.5 37.0

If Clear Need 17.2 24.1

Always Permitted 63.8 22.2

Totals 100.0 100.0
(N) 58 54
Source: National Science Foundation, University of Michigan, 1996

Both Pearson’s chi-square and Kendall’s tau-c indicate that there is a significant
statistical level in the variables. This data shows that 16.7% of independents with a high
importance level of religion never permit abortion; 37% permit it in cases of rape or incest;
24.1% support it if there is a clear health need; and 22.2% always permit it. When
independents with a low importance level of religion were asked their opinion of abortion:
3.4% never permitted it; 15.5% permitted in cases of rape or incest; 17.2% supported it if
there was a clear health need; and 63.8% always permitted it. When compared to the
above tables, this data indicates that again the largest percentage difference is among the
response to always permitting abortion. It also shows that independents with a higher
level of religious importance are more likely to permit abortion in the case of rape or
incest rather than always permitting it.




Table 4
Support for Abortion by Importance of Religion Among Republicans
(In Percentages)



Importance of Religion
Republicans
Support for Abortion Low High

Never Permitted 4.8 22.3

For Rape, Incest 25.8 47.1

If Clear Need 20.3 10.7

Always Permitted 49.1 19.9

Totals 100.0 100.0
(N) 291 291
Source: National Science Foundation, University of Michigan, 1996

Both Pearson’s chi-square and Kendall’s’ tau-c indicate that there is a statistical
significance among the variables. This table shows that 22.3% of Republicans with a high
importance level of religion never permit abortion; 47.1% permit it in the case of rape or
incest; 10.7% permit it if there is a clear health need; and 0nly 19.9% always permit it.
This table also shows that 4.8% of Republicans with a low importance level of religion
never permit abortion; 25.8% support it in the case of rape or incest; 20.3% permit it if
there is a clear health need; and 49.1% always permit it. This data indicates that
Republicans with a more important religious background are more likely to support
abortion if there has been a rape or incest than the other political parties. It is also obvious
that Republicans with a lower level of religious background are more likely to always
support abortion than Republicans with a higher religious importance.




Table 5
Support for Abortion by Importance of Religion Among Males:1996
(In Percentages)



Importance of Religion
Males
Support for Abortion Low High

Never Permitted 4.0 20.8

For Rape, Incest 23.6 41.6

If Clear Need 21.8 14.0

Always Permitted 50.6 23.5

Totals 100.0 100.0
(N) 403 293
Source: National Science Foundation, University of Michigan, 1996

Both Pearson’s chi-square and Kendall’s tau-c show that there is statistical
significance level among the variables. This table shows that 20.8% of males with a high
importance level of religion never support abortion; 41.6% support it in the case of rape
or incest; 14% permit it if there is a clear health need; and 23.5% always permit it. This
table also shows that 4% of males with a low importance level of religion never support
abortion; 23.6% approve in the case of rape or incest; 21.8% permit it if there is a clear
health need; and 50.6% always permit it. This table does not differ that much from the
original table. But, there are small percentage differences in the responses to always
permitting abortion and permitting it in cases of rape or incest.






Table 6
Support for Abortion by Importance of Religion Among Females
(In Percentages)



Importance of Religion
Females
Support for Abortion Low High

Never Permitted 3.0 20.5

For Rape, Incest 15.5 36.3

If Clear Need 16.7 12.3

Always Permitted 64.9 30.9

Totals 100.0 100.0
(N) 336 430
Source: National Science Foundation, University of Michigan, 1996

The Pearson’s chi-square and Kendall’s tau-c both indicate a statistical significance
level among the variables. This table shows that 20.5% of females with a high importance
level of religion never permit abortion; 36.3% permit it in cases of rape or incest; 12.3%
support it if there is a clear health need; and 30.9% always permit it. This table also shows
that only 3% of females with a low importance level of religion never permit abortion;
15.5% support it in cases of rape or incest; 16.7% permit it if there is a clear health need;
and 64.9% always permit it. When compared to the original table and table 5, it is
obvious that women are more likely to always support abortion.

Conclusion
In conclusion, my hypotheses were supported. Overall, people with a higher
importance level of religion are less likely to support abortion for any reason.
Independents with a low importance level of religion are more likely to always support
abortion than democrats or republicans. Republicans with a high importance level of
religion are more likely to support abortion in cases of rape or incest and are the least
likely to always support abortion. Overall, democrats and independents were more likely
to support abortion for any reason than republicans.
The data also supports my theory that women are more likely to always support
abortion than men. Females with a low importance level of religion are the most likely to
always support abortion. Men with a higher importance level of religion are more likely to
permit abortion in cases of rape or incest. Overall, the results show that people in general
are more likely to approve of abortion only in cases of rape or incest rather than always
supporting it. In conclusion, I think that people with less religious background are more
likely to support abortion. However, no matter their religious background, party
affiliation, or gender, when a significant reason for the abortion is presented (rape or incest
specifically) they are all more likely to support it.
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