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

uence. Adamczyk found that conservative Protestants were the least likely to report having an abortion, less likely than mainline Protestants, Catholics and women with non-Christian religious affiliations.

Regarding the impact of the religious involvement of a woman's peers, Adamczyk found no significant influence. However, Adamczyk did find that women who attended school with conservative Protestants were more likely to decide to have an extramarital baby in their 20s than in their teenage years.

"The values of conservative Protestant classmates seem to have an abortion limiting effect on women in their 20s, but not in their teens, presumably because the educational and economic costs of motherhood are reduced as young women grow older," Adamczyk said.

Despite Adamczyk's finding that rates of reported abortions were higher for young women educated at private religious schools, the type of religious school was not a factor: Catholic schools had similar rates as other religious schools.

"Religious school attendance is not necessarily indicative of conservative religious beliefs because students attend these schools for a variety of reasons," Adamczyk said. "These schools tend to generate high levels of commitment and strong social ties among their students and families, so abortion rates could be higher due to the potential for increased feelings of shame related to an extramarital birth."

Data for this study came from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), a three-wave school-based study of the health-related behaviors of students in grades 7 to 12 at the time of the first wave. Adamczyk analyzed data from the first and third waves of Add Health, the first wave taking place from 1994 to 1995 and the third wave being completed between 2001 and 2002.


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Contact: Jackie Cooper
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American Sociological Association
Source:Eurekalert

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