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Religious devotion does not impact abortion decisions of young unwed women
Date:6/1/2009

WASHINGTON, DC Unwed pregnant teens and twenty-somethings who attend or have graduated from private religious schools are more likely to obtain abortions than their peers from public schools, according to sociological research published in the June issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior.

"This research suggests that young, unmarried women are confronted with a number of social, financial and health-related factors that can make it difficult for them to act according to religious values when deciding whether to keep or abort a pregnancy," said the study's author, sociologist Amy Adamczyk, an assistant professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the Graduate Center, City University of New York.

While previous research has investigated the link between religion and abortion attitudes, fewer studies have explored religion's impact on abortion behavior. To fill this research gap, Adamczyk examined how personal religious involvement, schoolmate religious involvement and school type influenced the pregnancy decisions of a sample of 1,504 unmarried and never-divorced women age 26 and younger from 125 different schools. The women ranged in age from 14 to 26 at the time they discovered they were pregnant. Twenty-five percent of women in the sample reported having an abortion, a likely underestimate, according to Adamczyk.

Results revealed no significant link between a young woman's reported decision to have an abortion and her personal religiosity, as defined by her religious involvement, frequency of prayer and perception of religion's importance. Adamczyk said that this may be partially explained by the evidence that personal religiosity delays the timing of first sex, thereby shortening the period of time in which religious women are sexually active outside of marriage.

Despite the absence of a link between personal religious devotion and abortion, religious affiliation did have some important infl
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Contact: Jackie Cooper
pubinfo@asanet.org
202-247-9871
American Sociological Association
Source:Eurekalert

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