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With abortion, schoolmates might matter more than religious devotion

June 2, 2009 | 11:18 am

Bible Religious involvement may affect a young woman's attitude toward abortion, but when she finds herself unmarried and pregnant, such devotion appears to lose sway.

In a study published in the June issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, a sociologist at the City University of New York analyzed the abortion decisions of unmarried teenagers and young twentysomethings. Specifically, she was looking at how those decisions were affected by personal religious devotion, schoolmates' religious devotion and the type of school (public or religious).

Come decision-making time, religiosity --  the importance attributed to religion and the involvement in it -- didn't make much difference.

Maybe that's surprising to you, maybe not.

But of note, she writes: "Conservative Protestants appear less likely to obtain abortions than mainline Protestants, Catholics, and women of non-Christian faiths. Regardless of personal religious affiliation, having attended a school with a high proportion of conservative Protestants appears to discourage abortion as women enter their twenties. Conversely, women from private religious high schools appear
more likely to report obtaining an abortion than women from public schools."

Here's the full study, "Understanding the Effects of Personal and School Religiosity on the Decision to Abort a Premarital Pregnancy."

And here's the news release, from the American Sociological Assn.

-- Tami Dennis

Photo credit: Susan Biddle / Washington Post

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