Beliefs about the permissibility of abortion and their relationship to decisions regarding abortion

Judith G. Smetana
1979 Journal of Population Behavioral, Social, and Environmental Issues  
A questionnaire assessing beliefs about the permissibility of abortion was administered to 70 single women who had never been pregnant (n = 22) or who were deciding to terminate (n = 25) or continue (n --23) an unplanned pregnancy. Respondents were given a list of 22 circumstances and asked to indicate the general permissibility and the permissibility for themselves of each item, in addition to indicating the most and least adequate circumstances for abortion. Factor analysis revealed similar
more » ... ructures of beliefs when women considered what was permissible for others as for themselves, although the factors reversed in importance in the two conditions. With the exception of one factor of the general permissibility of abortion, all the factors discriminated between women deciding to have abortions and women deciding t ~ continue their pregnancies. The origin of these different judgments is discussed. Abortion continues to be one of the most polarizing issues of this decade. While the 1973 Supreme Court ruling has established abortion as a private matter at the discretion of the individual woman, public debate is continuing, and the legality
doi:10.1007/bf00972499 fatcat:2o32xvqs7vhntnd2ll2wjhluca