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In: Understanding the new politics of abortion, edited by Malcolm L. Goggin. Newbury Park, California, Sage Publications, 1993. 123-33.This document is the seventh chapter in a book which provides a framework for considering the "new" politics of abortion in the US (created when the Supreme Court gave states more leeway in regulating access to abortion) and the second of four chapters in a section devoted to an exploration of conflict in a variety of institutional settings. This chapter analyzes the legislative behavior of politicians in Idaho during a 1990 abortion controversy caused by the passage and veto of bill H625 which would have created the most restrictive abortion law in the US. In this study, the unit of analysis was the individual legislator and the dependent variable was the vote. Independent variables were the legislator's gender, party affiliation, and religion and the legislative district's religious composition. After an introduction, the chapter describes the Bill and its legislative journey from its introduction on February 9th to its veto on March 31st. The literature on legislative decision-making is reviewed to explain that this vote can be categorized as an "abnormal" decision based on factors which differ from the norm. It was found that 41/46 members of the Mormon church, 21/59 Protestants, and 10/20 Catholics voted for H625. The pro-choice position was supported by 65% of the female and 36% of the male legislators and by 26/39 Democrats but only 27/86 Republicans. In the subsequent 1990 election, the primary sponsor and author of the Senate version of the bill and the Senate Majority Leader were defeated by pro-choice women. The sponsor won reelection in 1992 after promising not to pursue abortion legislation. Anti-abortion groups have indicated that they will again seek legislation to restrict abortion rights if a pro-life governor is elected in the state.
NIDI/CBGS PUBLICATION. 1994; (30):51-71.The main aim of the present paper is to present data about the impact of increased genetic risk upon reproductive decision-making....The first part of this paper summarizes the results of a number of large follow-up studies evaluating the effect of genetic counseling on family planning decisions. The second part of the paper focuses on prenatal testing for congenital handicaps. After a theoretical discussion of this controversial and rapidly changing topic, the results of a recent study in Flanders [Belgium] are summarized, evaluating community attitudes towards prenatal testing. (EXCERPT)
Social Science and Medicine. 1992 Jan; 34(1):63-73.Data from eastern and central sub-Saharan Africa suggest that women in countries of the region are increasingly at risk for HIV infection. Poverty, malnutrition, uncontrolled fertility, complications of childbirth, and sex behavior associated with male/female rural-urban migration are contributory factors. While much may go into preventing the transmission of HIV, the cooperative participation of both sex partners is certainly required. Further, while campaigns may educate both men and women of the need to limit the number and choice of sex partners, and use condoms during intercourse, they may fail to recognize the highly unfeasible nature of these behavioral changes for the majority of sub-Saharan African women. Marginally included in the development process, and poorly empowered to make decisions regarding male or female sexuality, women are largely subject to the sexual demands and economic rewards of their male sex partners. Husbands and/or other sex partners may strongly resist or refuse to employ condoms during sexual intercourse. Social expectations and/or economic necessity, however, often dictate a woman's compliance with the man's choice despite her desire to use a condom. HIV transmission and the risk to women and children, national development and the status of women, accommodation to economic scarcity, altering high-risk behavior, symbolic approaches to behavior change, and methodological issues in the study of these issues are discussed. Research is then proposed on understanding the meaning of AIDS, the context and norms of decision making, the norms of sexual behavior, the gatekeepers of sexual behavior change, the economic determinants of sexual risk, womens perceptions of control, and gender-sensitive strategies for reducing the risk of AIDS. Such research will provide a better understanding of how women perceive and respond to AIDS prevention interventions, and will constitute a necessary 1st step toward increasing male participation in protecting themselves and their families.
Hastings Center Report. 1986 Feb; 16(1):33-42.The prochoice movement in its most political manifestation is particularly vulnerable to recent medical and scientific developments. It has never made sufficient room in its public stance for a serious consideration of the fetus. Simultaneously, by deliberately cultivating a supposedly neutral, therapeutic language toward the medical act of abortion, calling it a "procedure," a "termination of pregnancy," and so on, it mistakenly seems to think it can pacify and comfort the conscience, minimizing and denaturing some unmistakeable realities. Medical and scientific developments which threaten the prochoice movement include the lowering age of viability, the emergence of neonatal medicine, the use of the sonogram, embryological knowledge, and late abortions. In attempting to understand the possible impact of the medical developments on the abortion debate, their interaction with other crucial ingredients in the debate will be important. Of special significance are public opinion, the question of the personhood of the fetus, pertinent court decisions and trends, and feminist arguments and political tactics. There is still time for prochoice adherents to show themselves as willing in practice as in theory to concede the moral uncertainty of abortion decisions. If that is not done, the combination of the new medical developments and too many people for too long holding their doubts at bay may well begin shifting opinions. In that event, the prochoice movement will have done itself far more damage than those who try to stop it by bombing abortion clinics.
Critic. 1977 Spring; 14-25.The lack of acceptance of the Catholic Church's teachings on birth control on the part of the devout laity of the church raises the possibility that the teachings are wrong, i.e., they do not reflect Catholic truth as manifested through the sense of the faithful. According to a study conducted by the National Opinion Research Center, 87% of the Catholics in the US do not accept the church's position on birth control. Catholic tradition supports the position that infallible Catholic truths can emerge from the sense of the faithful, i.e., that God speaks through the faithful. The church is, therefore, confronted with a dilemma. The leadership, claiming divine guidance, is at odds with the sense of the faithful. Conservative elements in the church dismiss the dilemma by claiming that only those who accept the teachings of the church are true Catholics. Many church leaders believe that the dilemma stems from inadequate pastoral work. They maintain that more intensive pastoral work will eventually convince the laity of the validity of the teachings. Another explanation should at least be considered. Perhaps the teachings are wrong. Perhaps they were arrived at through inappropriate means. This possibility is explored using sociological knowledge about the decision making process in voluntary organization and the study of the historical reception of Catholic teaching by Father Pere Congar. The church can be viewed as a voluntary organization since membership is optional. In a voluntary organization the function of a leader is to promote consensual decision making. Divine guidance is, in reality, the process of promoting a consensus. The leader draws the truth, the Word of God, out of the sense of the faithful. The church is infallible not because it has automatic access to a set of right answers, but because it has the capacity to identify inadequate answers and to work until it has drawn out the truth from the faithful. Furthermore, the work of Father Congar demonstrates that histoircally the council of the church has become effective only after it has been received and accepted by the whole church. If it is not accepted it is eventually abandoned. In summary, ecclesiastical authority may be viewed, not as some automatically given addition ot the Word of God, but as the spiritual discernment of the sense of God in the total community of the faithful. If this argument is applicable to infallible truths then it should also be applicable to the authentic teachings of the Catholic Church, including the birth control encyclical, i.e., the Humanae Vitae.
London, International Planned Parenthood Federation, 1981 Nov. 14 p.Over the years the member Family Planning Associations (FPAs) of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) have gained considerable experience in counteracting opposition to family planning. In this presentation focused on adapting FPA experience to combatting adverse publicity on Depo-Provera, attention is directed to the courtship by FPAs of the decision makers and opinion leaders whose cooperation is essential since their reaction to ill-formed and hostile publicity could mean the difference between the success or total failure of a particular family planning program. In several respects, and to family planning workers particularly, it is the local controversy that matters the most because it is here that the health and well-being of mothers and children are directly involved. It is here too that adverse publicity may have a particularly serious effect if opposition to Depo-Provera transforms itself into mistrust of family planning which is far from firmly established in many societies. Yet, decisions which can also affect the health of the individuals may be made outside the country concerned because the misleading information provided by the anti-Depo-Provera lobby has reached the desks of decision makers in aid giving nations. To deal with the invidious position in which family planning staff may find themselves, FPAs have employed a number of techniques. They have helped to create positive attitudes to family planning by identifying, contacting, and informing key people--decision makers and opinion leaders in the community--who are likely to support their programs and who are in a position to promote the message. As a logical extension of this effort, they have acted to neutralize hostile opinion. They have identified the opposition, its leaders, and their main arguments and have established contact with them in order to find, if possible, areas of agreement. They have broadened the idea of family planning so that leaders are able to perceive the wider social development and health implications of family planning. There is evidence that when properly briefed a health minister or official is in a better position to make informed decisions, making a valuable contribution to the Depo-Provera debate.