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  1. 1

    Religion and roll-call voting in Idaho. The 1990 abortion controversy.

    Witt SL; Moncrief G

    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.
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  2. 2

    What if abortion were illegal? Policy alternatives won't be easy.

    Dran EM; Bowers JR

    In: Understanding the new politics of abortion, edited by Malcolm L. Goggin. Newbury Park, California, Sage Publications, 1993. 89-103.

    This 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) is the fifth and final chapter in a section dealing with conflict; in this case, conflicting values and attitudes among anti-abortion and pro-choice supporters presented with adoption as an alternative to abortion. It is hypothesized that it is relatively easy to have an opinion supporting adoption as an alternative for abortion but that this support lessens when it is linked to government financing for adoption. The analysis first examines the structure of support for adoption and public funding separately and then links the issues through a four-part typology showing support for adoption and public funding of it, rejection of both options, and support for one option but not the other. It is found that the most support for adoption as a solution to abortion comes from the socially conservative predisposed against abortion. The strongest predictor of adoption funding support is support for funding abortion (social welfare spending). Other predictors are opposition to abortion (positively related) and age (negatively related). While supporters of adoption as an alternative are generally opposed to public spending on social welfare, dedicated supporters of adoption appear willing to lessen their resistance to government spending to pursue their favored alternative to abortion. Abortion supporters generally already favor social welfare spending and have nothing to offer a compromise on financing. It is concluded that policy alternatives to abortion for unwanted pregnancy would be difficult to fashion and that potential compromise would more likely be successful if it were directed towards contraception.
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  3. 3

    Introduction. A framework for understanding the new politics of abortion.

    Goggin ML

    In: Understanding the new politics of abortion, edited by Malcolm L. Goggin. Newbury Park, California, Sage Publications, 1993. 1-18.

    This introductory chapter to a book which describes the new politics of abortion in the US provides a framework for understanding the new situation and predicting future developments. The chapter outlines the parameters of the new politics of abortion ushered in by the 1989 Supreme Court decision in Webster vs. Reproductive Health Services which gave states more leeway to regulate access to abortion. These parameters are described by contrasting the "old" and "new" politics of abortion in terms of the political context which is described through consideration of major abortion court cases from 1973 to the present, attitudes expressed toward the legality of abortion from 1975 to 1988, and the activities of pro-choice and anti-abortion groups by year and type for 1985-89. The chapter then provides a framework which enhances understanding of this new political situation by assessing the scope and nature of the abortion conflict (in terms of religious, political, ideological, gender, class, and racial conflict) and the institutional context which provides an arena for this conflict. Abortion conflict can be understood by 1) considering Schattschneider's concept of the losing side's tactic of "expanding the scope of the conflict" versus the winning side's efforts to contain the scope of the conflict to maintain the favorable balance of power and 2) applying Greenstone and Peterson's distinction between "ideological" and "pluralistic" bargaining (abortion politics is characterized by pluralistic bargaining because each side is trying to defeat the other side rather than to persuade it to change its position). The chapter ends by posing the questions which will be addressed in the book and presenting the plan of the book.
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  4. 4

    Conflicting values and compromise beliefs about abortion.

    Scott JL

    Ann Arbor, Michigan, University Microfilms International, 1987. x, 140, [7] p. (Order Number 8801414)

    The abortion debate in the US has been dominated by 2 forces: anti- abortion groups that advocate severe restrictions on this procedure and pro-abortion organizations that uphold the woman's right to choose. An analysis of data on abortion collected by the National Opinion Research Council for the past 20 years suggests that most Americans place themselves in the middle ground, favoring legal abortion only in certain circumstances. Those with such mixed feelings tend to distinguish between legal and moral issues, supporting the woman's right to personal autonomy yet personally considering the procedure to be the taking of a life. There is far greater willingness to support legal abortion than to agree that abortion is morally acceptable, as evidenced by the fact that 40% of pro-choice supporters have serious moral concerns about the procedure. A cohort analysis of the data set indicated that women interviewed in 1965 were more approving of abortion than later cohorts and have retained their liberal stance. Another finding was that young people of both sexes were more likely than older respondents to cite the ability of a family to love and provide for a child as an important consideration in evaluating the rightness or wrongness of abortion. This pragmatic approach seems to be associated with greater ambivalence on the abortion issue than a straightforward woman's rights stance. On the other hand, the data suggest that anti-abortion forces are least ambivalent on this issue and are more committed to social action than pro-choice forces. To learn more about public ambivalence on the abortion issue, there is a need for survey measures that focus on the conflicting values that underlie beliefs about abortion.
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  5. 5
    Peer Reviewed

    Abortion USA.

    Lancet. 1989 Apr 22; 1(8643):879-80.

    A historical review of the legislation of abortion in America leads to the paramount 1973 amendment by the Supreme Court to legalize abortion. The 16 year old decision is currently up for reconsideration. As compared to the consensus of other countries who have similar policies, in the United States, the issue of abortion is still highly controversial. The Reagan era reflected an attitude of "anti-choice" that was further propagated by Reagan appointees. However, only 1 in 10 Americans believes abortion is murder as many are pro-choice. It is also observed that women who work outside the home are more likely to favor the right to choose an abortion than women who stay home. Compared to England and Wales, contraceptive measures are more limited and expensive in the U.S., and consequently, the overall ratio of abortions to live births is higher in the United States. As well, contraception remains elusive to the American teenager, and as a result, 80% of the 1.1 million teenage pregnancies are unwanted and 450,000 terminate their pregnancies. The final Supreme Court decision is expected at the end of June, and few expect a reversal of the 1973 decision. A possible decision may turn the authority to dictate the legal status of abortions back to the state. If this would happen, as with the situation of contraception, teenagers would be the hardest hit group and might be forced to seek illegal abortions or cross state lines.
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