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Public opinion about abortion-related stigma among Mexican Catholics and implications for unsafe abortion.
International Journal of Gynaecology and Obstetrics. 2012 Sep; 118 Suppl 2:S160-6.A nationally representative survey was conducted among 3000 Catholics in Mexico during 2009 and 2010. Respondents were presented with a hypothetical situation about a young woman who decided to have an abortion and were asked their personal opinion of her. On the basis of a stigma index, it was found that the majority (61%) had stigmatizing attitudes about abortion; however, 81% believed that abortion should be legal in at least some circumstances. Respondents were significantly more likely to stigmatize abortion if they disagreed with the Mexico City law legalizing the procedure (odds ratio 1.66; 95% CI, 1.30-2.11) and believed that abortion should be prohibited in all cases (odds ratio 3.13; 95% CI, 2.28-4.30). Such stigma can lead women to seek unsafe abortions to avoid judgment by society. Copyright (c) 2012 International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
Policy implications of a national public opinion survey on abortion in Mexico. [México: repercusión en las políticas de una encuesta nacional de opinión pública sobre el aborto]
Reproductive Health Matters. 2004; 12 Suppl 24:65-74.In Mexico, recent political events have drawn increased public attention to the subject of abortion. In 2000, using a national probability sample, we surveyed 3,000 Mexicans aged 15-65 about their knowledge and opinions on abortion. Forty-five per cent knew that abortion was sometimes legal in their state, and 79% felt that abortion should be legal in some circumstances. A majority of participants believed that abortion should be legal when a woman's life is at risk (82%), a woman's health is in danger (76%), pregnancy results from rape (64%) or there is a risk of fetal impairment (53%). Far fewer respondents supported legal abortion when a woman is a minor (21%), for economic reasons (17%), when a woman is single (11%) or because of contraceptive failure (11%). In spite of the influence of the Church, most Mexican Catholics believed the Church and legislators' personal religious beliefs should not factor into abortion legislation, and most supported provision of abortions in public health services in cases when abortion is legal. To improve safe, legal abortion access in Mexico, efforts should focus on increasing public knowledge of legal abortion, decreasing the Church's political influence on abortion legislation, reducing the social stigma associated with sexuality and abortion, and training health care providers to offer safe, legal abortions. (author's)
Women's Health Journal. 2003 Jan-Mar; 1:11-14.The Mesa Feminista de Trabajosobre Aborto (Feminist Working Group on Abortion) is the initiative of a group of women interested in debating and analyzing this issue in a country with one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the world. Abortion is totally prohibited in Chile, even when the woman's life or health is at risk. Women who have abortions, those who provide abortion services, and anyone who helps a woman obtain an abortion can be punished with jail sentences. (excerpt)
Plano, Texas, Instructional Aides, 1984. 78 p. (A Guide on Current Topics)This document provides readers with a review of the history of the controversy regarding abortion, a summary of the major positions on both sides of this debate, and an assessment of public opinion regarding abortion. It draws heavily on research materials from the Centers for Disease Control, the Alan Guttmacher Institute, and the Population Council. Chapter 1 sets the abortion issue in historical perspective. Chapter 2 focuses on US Supreme Court decisions, while Chapter 3 discusses Congressional activities. Chapter 4 presents statistical data on the abortion rate in the US, demographic characteristics of abortion seekers, abortion techniques, and abortion-related mortality. Chapter 5 surveys the status of abortion around the world. Chapter 6 presents survey results on public attitudes toward abortion. Chapters 7 and 8 include statements from national leaders who believe abortion should not and should, respectively, be outlawed, while Chapters 9 and 10 present statements on both side of the debate as to whether the moment human life begins can be determined. Appendix I presents excerpts from Vatican position papers on abortion. Appendix II summarizes US laws, state by state, that limit access to abortion. Appendix III cites federal laws restricting abortion funding. Appendix IV presents proposed abortion legislation. And finally, Appendix V lists addresses of organizations that support abortion, organizations that oppose abortion, and institutions that maintain statistics on abortions in the US. Instructional Aides provides similar documents on a number of social issues, including aging, health, immigration, minorities, and women.
[Opinion of the citizens, opinion of the officials (editorial)] Opinion de los ciudadanos, opinion de los fieles.
GIRE. 1997 Sep; (14):1.No government can survive without consulting the opinion of the governed. Even dictators cannot be completely ignorant of the needs and sentiments of the population. This truth applies as well in intimate aspects of life related to conscience and morality. Mexican federal and local legislators lack means of consulting the citizenry. Only a few localities have the type of procedures to determine the will of the electorate used in nations of long democratic tradition. Abortion and other matters of conscience should be subjected to referendum. At present, referenda are impracticable in Mexico. Reflecting the situation in secular society, the Catholic Church hierarchy lacks means of consulting that would at least temper the authoritarian condemnation by the Pope of contraception and birth control and the obsessive opposition to condoms, the best HIV preventive. It is difficult to gauge the true weight of the pope s influence in Mexico, but many lawmakers and authorities consider it definitive. The Church hierarchy neither consults the faithful nor listens to those within the Church who recommend modification of doctrines regarding reproduction. Surveys reveal that Catholic men and women use contraception, and women have obtained abortions without considering themselves outside the religious community. Legislators and officials should know what people really think, and citizens should be provided with information to enable them to form their own opinions.
[Words of Isis Duarte in presenting the text, "The Political Culture of Dominicans, between Authoritarianism and Democracy"] Palabras de Isis Duarte en la presentacion del texto "La Cultura Politica de los Dominicanos, entre el Autoritarismo y la Democracia.
REVISTA POBLACION Y DESARROLLO. 1995; (5):57-60.The National Survey of Political Culture and Democracy (DEMOS-94), under the auspices of the Project for the Assistance of Democratic Initiatives funded by USAID, assessed the situation of democracy in the Dominican Republic during the period of 1978-92, including the knowledge, perceptions, attitudes, and practices of citizens with respect to democracy. When asked a question about the intervention of the Catholic Church in politics, 46.0% of respondents disagreed with such intervention and 29.0% found it justifiable only in moments of great crisis. Although 6 out of 10 Dominicans had faith in the Church, only 2 of every 10 respondents agreed with its direct intervention in politics. Regarding the presence of Haitians in the country and the voting rights of their children and grandchildren, 46.0% said that Haitian should be repatriated because there is the threat that they would swamp the country, while 53.5% said that the two groups should live together peacefully. Regarding the voting rights of various categories of people, 84.3% said that Dominicans living abroad should have the right, 34.6% said that the military and the police should have the right, and 69.6% said that the children and grandchildren of Haitians should have such a right. These findings indicate that there is a general acceptance of civic rights including for Dominicans of Haitian origin.
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS. 1994 Apr; 47(2):203-21.Catholic moral and social thought retained hegemony in Irish culture, regardless of political ideology, until the 1970s when rapid socioeconomic change liberalized the society. Abortion was initially unaffected by this wave of social change, and a 1993 Constitutional amendment acknowledging the right to life and of the fetus was virtually unchallenged. It was not until the late 1980s that gender and sexuality-related issues was introduced to the public debate. Impetus to initiate a national campaign for abortion rights was provided by the case of a 14-year old Irish girl who was denied the right to travel to the UK for termination of a pregnancy that resulted from rape. By June 1992, public opinion polls were indicating that 16% of Irish citizens believed abortion should be available on demand, 46% favored restricted yet liberalized access to abortion, 19% supported abortion only when the mother's life was in danger, and 19% opposed abortion under all circumstances. The Fianna Fail Party advocated a national abortion referendum on the grounds that it would put an end to aggressive lobbying by the Catholic Church and anti-abortion groups yet at the same time produce an abortion stance less liberal than that generated by legislation. The proposed referendum permitted abortion to save the life, but not the health, of the mother, and removed existing bans on abortion-related travel and information. The former distinction between the life and health indications was opposed by all other political parties and there were concerns that extra-parliamentary groupings would gain control of the referendum campaign. This threat was removed when the government fell and the abortion referendum became overshadowed by general elections scheduled for the same day. Although the travel and information clauses passed, only 34.6% of voters supported the (limited) abortion rights plank. This outcome reflects failure of political parties at both ends of the spectrum to reach the moderate majority. Future abortion reform in Ireland is expected to be a slow process based around expanding the circumstances under which abortion is legal one by one.
Ann Arbor, Michigan, University Microfilms International, 1993. , 228 p. (Order No. 9400674)Verification of the significant impact of public support for abortion on both abortion access and abortion rates was provided through the application of interrupted time series design, multiple regression analysis, and causal modelling techniques to survey data from the US states. National statistics fail to demonstrate a statistically significant impact on US abortion rates of 3 major policy changes: the Roe vs Wade decision, the prohibition of Medicaid funding for abortion, and the anti-abortionist Reagan-Bush presidency. On the other hand, and consistent with the trend toward state control over abortion policy, disaggregation revealed substantial policy-abortion rate correlations in most states. Attitudes toward abortion, which remain remarkably constant over time, are largely dependent (70% of variance explained) by 5 factors: percent Christian, percent Catholic, percent Mormon, percent urban, and socioeconomic status. In states where public opinion on abortion is predominantly liberal, there tend to be fewer restrictions on abortion and a greater likelihood that the state will provide Medicaid funds. In the bivariate analysis, state scores on abortion opinion accounted for 18% of the variance in the policy index. For every 1 point drop in support for abortion, there is an increase of 1 in the number of restrictions on the procedure. Higher socioeconomic status, greater metropolitan populations, and larger Catholic populations tend to produce stronger public support for abortion, while states with large Christian or Mormon populations have more conservative opinion poll findings. While Catholicism is associated with support for abortion and a larger number of abortion facilities, it is also linked to more abortion policy restrictions--a contradiction that may reflect divisions between the Church leadership and membership. There is a need for additional research on aggregate public opinion variables and their relationship with abortion policy and abortion rates, especially at the state level.
PLANNED PARENTHOOD IN EUROPE. 1993 Jun; 22(2):18-20.After the fall of Communism in Poland, the Catholic church exerted pressure to increase its influence in public life. One way in which this pressure has manifested itself has been in the passing of a restrictive abortion bill which was signed into law on February 15, 1993. Abortion had been legalized in Poland in 1956 and was used as a means of birth control because of a lack of availability and use of contraceptives. The number of abortions performed was variously reported as 60,000 - 300,000/year. In 1990, the Ministry of Health imposed restrictions on abortions at publicly funded hospitals, and 3 deaths were reported from self-induced abortions. In 1 year (1989-90), the number of induced abortions at 1 hospital dropped from 71 to 19, while the number of self-induced abortions increased from 48 to 85. Further restrictions were introduced in May 1992 as part of the "Ethical Code for Physicians," which allows abortions only in cases where the mother's life or health is in danger or in cases or rape. This code brought abortions to a halt at publicly funded hospitals and doubled or even tripled the cost of private abortions. Women have been refused abortions in tragic and life=threatening situations since the code was adopted. When an outright anti family planning bill was drafted in November 1992, the Polish citizenry collected 1,300,000 signatures to force a referendum. The referendum was not held, but the bill was defeated. The amended bill which passed allows abortions in publicly funded hospitals only when the mother's life or health is in danger and in cases of rape, incest, or incurable deformity of the fetus. The implications of this law remain unclear, since its language is strange and vague. The reproductive rights of Polish women face a further threat because the Catholic church is working to limit the availability of contraceptive methods which they deem to be "early abortives." On the other side of the issue, the Federation for Women and Planned Parenthood was established in 1992 and presently has 9 member organizations dedicated to reestablishing legal abortion and to helping women avoid unwanted pregnancies through sex education and contraception. Polls show that the new abortion law dose not reflect the favorable attitude of a majority of the Polish people toward legal abortion. It is unfortunate that Polish women will now have to fight for the rights that were once given to them.
Lancet. 1993 Aug 21; 342(8869):447-8.In 1992, a group of gynecologists and midwives from developing countries, attending a workshop in Uppsala, Sweden, decided to organize a letter writing campaign to expose the harmful effects of certain religious attitudes to family planning. They asked people to write to the leader of any religion that is against contraception whenever they encountered a patient with a severe complication resulting from the unavailability of contraceptives where religious precepts were implicated. Letter writers were encouraged to send details of relevant cases to Dr. Douwe Verkuyl in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Verkuyl in an article discusses his objections to religious strangleholds on family planning. Controversy surrounds a forthcoming encyclical of the Roman Catholic Church, Veritatis Splendor. The forthcoming document is thought to confirm the line of its predecessor Humanae Vitae, which appeared 25 years ago, disregarding the feelings of many liberal Catholics. As a result of his visit to the US the Pope undoubtedly felt the strength of Catholic opposition to his views. Even before he set foot in Denver, Colorado, according to a USA Today/ICNN Gallup opinion pool, 73% of Catholics would sooner follow their own consciences than papal doctrine; according to another poll 83% of Catholic young adults (18-25 years) believe they can disagree with Church teaching yet remain good Catholics. 80% of western European and American Catholics have themselves rejected the teaching of Humanae Vitae. Since then the Clinton administration has released US funds for family planning projects in developing countries. The Church has failed to understand that women have always sought ways to end unwanted pregnancies. Women the world over hold similar views about family planning, but poverty of those in the developing world deprives them of freedom of choice when artificial contraception is discouraged by government.
WOMEN'S GLOBAL NETWORK FOR REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS NEWSLETTER. 1992 Apr-Jun; (39):33-6.In early 1991 the abortion debate in Poland entered its new stage. The prolife and prochoice options had already clashed in the early 1930s over a new penal code and backstreet abortions. According to the code of 1932, induced abortion was allowed in cases of rape, incest, or for medical indications. Abortion was legalized in 1956, but subsequently it came under attack from Catholic circles, and by 1989 the Unborn Child Protection Bill was drafted which criminalized abortion. Only 11% of Polish women use modern contraceptives. The less efficient methods are the most prevalent: the natural method (Ogino-Knaus calendar), 35% of couples; coitus interruptus, 34%; condoms, 15%; oral contraceptives 7%; chemical spermicides, 2.5%; and the IUD 2%. According to size of Catholic Church estimate there are 600,000 abortions yearly. In contrast, official statistics indicate that the number of abortions is decreasing: 137,950 in 1980; 105,300 in 1988; 80,100 in 1989; 59,400 in 1990. In January 1991 the Constitutional Tribunal dismissed the motion of the Polish Feminist Association against the restrictive regulations of the Ministry of Health concerning abortion. After a parliamentary stalemate on the Unborn Child Protection Bill a commission consisting of 46 persona (1.2 of them women, 20 persons from the prochoice and 24 from the prolife lobby) continued the debate on the bill. Public opinion polls conducted by independent groups in November 1990 showed that about 60% of citizens were against the Senate's draft. Since then interest in the abortion issue has dwindled, and only 200 women and men took part in a prochoice demonstration in front of the parliament on January 25, 1991. In the spring of 1989 and in September 1990 thousands had participated in similar demonstrations. The prevailing attitude is that if the antiabortion bill is passed nothing can be done.
CHRISTIAN CENTURY. 1990 Feb 21; 107(6):180-4.Following the Webster decision of the Supreme Court, both sides of the abortion debate have stepped up their efforts to attain their goals. The abortion battle has become a full fledged political war. Currently the pro-choice side is winning as more and more politicians are discovering that an anti-abortion stance will not get them elected. Governors wilder (VA) and Florio (FL) both ran and won with pro-choice position. However the Catholic Bishops have announced that abortion is their top priority and their primary concern, not poverty, racism, or global conflict. They are using their 28 professional state wide lobbying offices to try to reverse or restrict Roe. The pro-choice side has found a new strategy by focussing attention from choice to government involvement in decision making. While this may be effective in gaining supporters, it does very little to help reach compromise with the anti-abortion groups. Pro-choice advocates must realize that fetal life has some value and that openly recognizing this will lead to an end of the abortion war. Policies must be supported by the pro-choice side that recognize the value of fetal life, but that do not restrict access to abortion. Currently any attempt to place value on the fetus is attacked by pro-choice advocates that feel threatened by such an action. Ultimately abortion will only go away when the problem of unwanted pregnancies goes away. Abortion is a symptom of a larger problem and the war is currently focussing on this symptom and ignoring the problem. Funding for counseling and contraception must be increased so that women do not have to have abortions. Funding for adoption and childbearing must also be increased so that when a women becomes pregnant she has the full spectrum of choices. These choices must be more or less equal so that abortion is not seen as a necessity. All this change would mean a significant departure from how our society is currently structures. But it is only through this kind of commitment to change that the abortion war will end.
BRITISH JOURNAL OF OBSTETRICS AND GYNAECOLOGY. 1991 Dec; 98(12):1202-4.As of July 1991 abortion is still legal in Poland. Currently the Polish Parliament has taken a break from the debate because the issue is so important that any decision must not be made in past. There is strong pressure from the Catholic Church to eliminate access to abortion. In the fall the Polish people will vote for and elect their first truly democratic Parliament. Abortion does not seem to be playing as important a role as other political issues. In 1956 a law was passed that allowed a woman to have an abortion for medical or social reasons. This law resulted in allowing women in Poland to use abortion as their primary form of contraception. The vast majority of the abortions were performed under the social justification. Then, when democracy same to Poland with the help of the Catholic Church, an unprecedented debate in the mass media, churches, and educational institutions was stirred up. The government attempted to stay out of the debate at first. But as people from different side of the debate saw that they had an opportunity to influence things in their favor, they began to politicize the issue. Currently there are 4 different drafts of the new Polish abortion law. 3 of them radically condemn abortion while the 4th condemns it as a method of family planning, but allows to terminate pregnancies in order to save the life of the mother.
[Unpublished] 1991. Presented at the Annual Meeting of the Population Association of America, Washington, D.C., March 21-23, 1991. 15,  p.The effect of Catholicism on fertility in the US is examined. Data came from the National Opinion Research Center's General Social Survey, 1973-1989. Asserting that many such studies are fundamentally flawed by failing to understand and account for fertility norm differences between ex-Catholics and new Catholics, and whether or not he or she is of current Catholic status are considered. Theoretical economics and religion as related to fertility are discussed. Assuming out-migrants from Catholicism to have lower than average interest in childbearing, and in-migrants to have higher than average interests, current status as Catholic inflates an already positive effect on fertility. The study also found Catholic norms to have a highly significant positive effect on fertility for respondents born, prior to 1920. Fertility variations after that period are weakly related to Catholic upbringing. The US fertility transition is claimed to be partly due to changing Catholic fertility norms, and the direct effect of women's earnings has been possibly overestimated by economists. Challenging the strength of women's earnings as a factor affecting fertility trends, it is suggested that economic variables most likely affect norms which in turn affect fertility. Estimates calculated are presented in tabular format.
JOURNAL FOR THE SCIENTIFIC STUDY OF RELIGION. 1988 Jun; 27(2):211-28.The 2 primary rationales that religious groups use for opposing elective abortion are respect for human life and a conservative sexual morality. This indepth study was designed using data from NORC General Social Surveys for 1977, 1982 and 1985 to examine how these 2 rationales were used by 3 different religious groups, namely: Catholics, non-fundamentalist Protestants and fundamentalist Protestants. The study considers denominational differences affecting the cognitive bases of abortion attitudes. It takes into consideration the gender differences in abortion attitudes. The results can be summed up as follows: all 3 groups can be said to use the respect for human life rationale throughout the entire period between 1977 and 1985. But in 1977 there was a difference between Catholics who used respect for human life and Protestants who learned towards sexual morality. By 1985 all groups except the fundamentalists opposed elective abortion based on sexual morality. In 1985 the fundamentalists held both rationales of more or less equal value.
PEOPLE. 1991; 18(1):16-7.This report on the turnaround in Madagascar population policy notes the importance of the educational experience provided at the 1984 Mexican World Population Conference. The author describes his experiences in developing and implementing a population policy. When people were informed that past food was exported and now imported (265,000 tons in 1985), increasing land usage was not seen as a solution to population growth. The National Environmental Action Plan now in effect helps to underscore the importance of population distribution so that land is not needlessly cultivated. The public response was disinterest initially, but education has been successful in convincing people. The dominant Catholic religion has recognized the population problem and there is only disagreement on the means ( Catholics prefer natural means). Cultural attitudes are changing at all levels due to the economic crises and greater number of people being unable to feed their children. In 1989, the Population Unit of the Ministry of Economy and Planning provided detailed studies of the consequences of population growth, thus forming the basis of the present policy. The plan targets a reduction of population growth from 3.1% to 2% for the year 2000, increasing life expectancy from 55 to 60, and reducing infant mortality from 120 per 1000 live births to 70 and the number of children per family from 6 to 4. Although the policy has been accepted and people ready to use family planning, services to urban centers as well as rural areas is yet unavailable.
MARHIA. 1990 Jan-Jun; 3(1-2):27-8.The Institute for Social Studies and Action of the Philippines is endeavoring to encourage the public and the Catholic Church to Recognize the differences between contraception (which prevents the union of the sperm and ovum) and abortion (which terminates pregnancy long before the fetus is viable). Nonetheless, widespread opposition to contraceptives, especially the IUD, persists because they are considered abortifacients. In terms of the IUD, there is accumulating research evidence that the device works primarily by preventing fertilization and, less frequently, by interfering with implantation. The injectable contraceptive, Depo-Provera, which is banned in the Philippines, suppresses ovulation, as does the pill. Despite the evidence that the most widely available contraceptives are not abortifacients, debate over this issue obscures a far more central issue--the right of each woman to plan her family size and the interval between births. Screening and counseling provided by well-trained health personnel can enable women to choose the contraceptive method that best suits their needs and protects their health. A lack of access to contraception is in part responsible for the 2000 maternal deaths that occur in the Philippines each year during pregnancy or delivery.
[Opinions on family size variation and the population problem] Meningen over het bevolkingsvraagstuk en de gezinsgroottevariatie.
BEVOLKING EN GEZIN. 1988 Dec; (3):25-51.Attitudes toward current and projected fertility levels and family size uniformity in Belgium are examined. "Analyzing a subsample of [the 1982-1983 survey] NEGO IV (2,547 married and unmarried women cohabiting with their partner, aged 20 to 44 years, living in the Flemish community, and of Belgian nationality), a widespread unawareness of the population problem emerges. With the exception of higher educated women, mothers of at least three children and regularly practicing catholics, respondents are even more favourable to a population decline and increasing family size uniformity than to countermeasures. Individual- and [ego]-centered values seem to have higher priority than 'demographic integrity'." (SUMMARY IN ENG) (EXCERPT)
Attitudes towards demographic trends and population policy: a comparative multi-variate analysis of survey results from Italy and the Netherlands.
[Unpublished] 1987. Presented at the European Population Conference, 1987, Jyvaskyla, Finland, June 11-16, 1987. 18 p.The results of surveys of the attitudes toward current demographic trends and population policies conducted in Italy and Netherlands were compared. The Dutch and Italian surveys were comparable because their aims and parts of the questionnaire were similar, making it possible to analyze the common aspects. The Italian data were taken from a recent survey of the National Institute of Population Research. The survey population included all those of reproductive and marriageable age. 1503 interviews were conducted. The survey was initiated in November 1983 and terminated in February 1984. 952 people were interviewed in the Dutch survey, initiated in 1983. It comprised a representative 2-stage stratified random sample of the Dutch population aged 20-64 years. Both the Dutch and the Italians knew that the birthrate had been declining: 93% of the Italians and 63% of the Dutch. This trend was rated positively by 52% of the Italians and 46% of the Dutch. 52% of the Italian respondents and 58% of the Dutch wanted the population to remain stationary in the future. The 1st important difference was that in Italy the number of respondents who evaluated the birth decline negatively was about 2.5 times as high as in the Netherlands where there was a very high percentage of people who were indifferent to the problem--40% in the Netherlands, 10% in Italy. In Italy, 15% favored an increase in population size in contrast to 8% in the Netherlands. The respondents in both countries had clear ideas on the causes of the fertility decline, but the Italians generally had less set ideas than the Dutch. The economic crisis and the lack of confidence in the future were identified as the most important causes; in the Netherlands, women's work outside the home was considered to be more important than in Italy. In both countries, state intervention concerning fertility was rejected in the majority of cases--67% of the Italians and 81% of the Dutch. A 2-step elaboration was carried out for the identification of typologies of respondents. The Multiple Correspondence Analysis was carried out on 2 subjects: Knowledge and evaluation of current demographic trends; and the acceptance of population policies concerning fertility in relation to their perception of the falling birthrate. The analysis identified typologies of respondents with different levels of information and opinion towards population trends, and 4 clusters for Italy and 4 for the Netherlands were comparable. both the "pronatalist" and the antinatalist" respondents in both countries were, in general, well informed, and in both countries the "interventionists" were, in general, people with a low level of education.
New Zealand Journal of Educational Studies. 1981 Nov; 16(2):161-167.Add to my documents.
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.
Journal of Biosocial Science. October 1975; 7(4):435-444.A survey was conducted in 1973 in the Republic of Ireland on the opinions of 754 married women and 194 husbands on the practice of contraception and on the government ban on and the desired availability of contraception. The ban has since been lifted. 54.1% of the women said that the had used family planning at some time. The safe period was the leading method, used by 55%, followed by the pill, which was used by 15.6%. Coitus interruptus was third, being used by 10.2%. Differences in use were found according to age, residence, and social class. Contraception was the highest in the 30-34 age group and in urban areas, where 61% used contraception, compared to 39% in rural areas. Younger women and those of the professional classes tended more toward artificial methods of contraception. Only 3.3% of the agricultural class used an artificial method. More than 75% wanted the government ban on contraceptives repealed. Yet, only 5.5% wanted contraceptives to be made freely available to everybody. Most wanted them restricted to married couples and by prescription only.
A study of the relationship between attitudes towards world population growth and USA population growth.
Journal of Biosocial Science. 1973; 5:61-69.A total of 4841 adults, 21 years of age or older were interviewed in the fall of 1967, in a national poll sponsored by the Population Council concerning the rate of U.S. and world population growth. About 1/2 of all respondents saw both the U.S. and world population growth as a serious problem, about 1 in 5 felt the world population growth rate was serious and the U.S. rate not serious, roughly 1 in 7 thought that both rates were not serious, and 1 in 25 thought the U.S. rate serious and the world rate not serious. As educational level increased the proportion viewing both rates as not serious tended to drop. The proportion thinking the world rate serious and the U.S. rate not serious was increased steadily from those with Grade 8 or less schooling (14%) to those who were college graduates (31%) and from those in families earning under $3000 annually (13%) to those in families earning at least $10,000 (28%). As educational level increased, the proportion viewing both the world and U.S. growth rates as not serious, tended to drop. The proportion viewing both the rates as serious increased from East to Midwest to South to West (45%, 49%, 50%, 53% respectively), while the proportion considering the 2 rates as not serious tended to decline (20%, 18%, 15%, 11%). Caucasians were more likely to view both the world and U.S. population growth as serious or world but not U.S. growth as serious, than Negores. Negroes were more likely to consider the U.S. rate as serious and the world rate as not serious. Catholics were more likely than Protestants to define the 2 rates as not serious. Of the respondents viewing the world rate as serious, roughly 2/3 consider the U.S. rate to be a serious problem. Among those viewing the world rate as not a serious problem about 4 out of 5 felt the U.S. rate also was not serious. Females defining the world rate as a serious problem were more likely than males with this view to see the U.S. rate as serious. 9 out of 10 who felt the U.S. rate was a serious problem defined the world rate as serious. The view that the world rate is not serious is a strong predictor of the view that the U.S. rate is not serious.
Demography. February 1970; 7(1):53-60.A survey of 134 adult women, in a small and isolated American community, living in a limited-income family housing project suggests that the view of continued population growth as a problem is more strongly held than the view that the couple has a responsibility to limit its fertility because of overpopulation. Concern with population growth is only loosely associated with acceptance of the attitude of individual responsibility. Among subgroups of respondents, Catholics were more likely to hold a negative attitude toward population growth than to possess the individual responsibility view. They exhibited a correlation between the 2 attitudes. Protestants were distinguished by no difference in or correlation between the acceptance of the 2 attitudes. A correlation between the attitudes was especially pronounced among Catholics with high achievement values. The author suggests that measures explicitly intended to control population growth probably cannot be adopted until there is a strong correlation between the 2 attitudes.(Author's, modified)