Boonstra H et al., Abortion in Women’s Lives, New York: Guttmacher , >. References: · pdf.  Guttmacher Institute, Laws affecting reproductive health and rights: from
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Over the past five years, Texas has become a hotbed of debate on abortion rights and restrictions. Legislation in and made it more difficult for women to obtain abortions and for clinics to provide the procedure, laws which have resulted in practical obstacles and the closure of clinics. Less is known about whether that political activity has extended to public opinion on abortion in Texas, especially in the national context of increasing partisanship.
Logistic regressions estimated support for legal abortion over time, after adjusting for personal characteristics, views on other social issues, religiosity, political party identification, and political ideology. At all three time points studied, slightly more than half of Houstonians supported legal abortion for any reason a woman wanted to obtain one.
Compared tosupport was significantly higher in andwhereas the decline in support between and was not statistically significant after adjusting for religiosity and politics. Clinicians may thus have more public support for their services than the divided political climate would suggest.
Nationally, the past five years have represented a massive and unprecedented increase in abortion restrictions. Between andrestrictions were enacted, compared to in the prior decade [ 1 ].
Proponents of abortion rights categorize these restrictions as Targeted Regulation of Abortion Provider TRAP laws [ 2 ] because they impose extensive and unnecessary regulations on providers as a means of reducing abortion, or supply-side restrictions [ 3 ] because they constrain the ability of clinics to provide i.
Texas stands at the forefront of increasing restrictions on abortion, as well as national media attention. It also required abortion facilities to meet ambulatory surgical center ASC standards and physicians to have admitting privileges at hospitals within 30 miles. In response to ASC requirements [ 9 ] and admitting privileges [ 10 ], almost half of facilities in the state closed and the abortion rate and medical abortion decreased [ 10 ].
Women seeking abortions also faced more logistical e. Since the early s, political party identification Republican vs. Democrat and political ideology conservative vs.
Political scientists argue increasing partisanship over the past four decades is not due to Americans holding more extreme views; instead, political parties have become more extreme and, in response, Americans sort themselves within those distinct ideologies that encompass politics, religion, and attitudes about social issues [ 1617 ]. Americans are thus clustered within ideological groups and identities strongly defined guttmacehr politics and religion, both of which are correlated with attitudes about abortion [ 18 ].
Tuttmacher are more opposed to abortion than Democrats and Independents [ 17 ], and liberalism is associated with support of abortion rights [ 19 ].
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Catholics and evangelical Protestants are the religious groups most likely to be against abortion [ 1920 ], especially as Evangelicalism gained momentum in the mids [ 21 ]. Even if HAS respondents were unaware of the exact restrictions—as were most women in previous studies [ 2223 ]—they were nevertheless exposed to extensive media coverage of divisive public debate about abortion [ 1624 ].
This study takes advantage of a unique dataset, the Houston Area Survey HASto track changes in public opinion about the legality of abortion before and after both the and legislation in Texas. Importantly, analyses account for partisanship in order to determine if there were actual, robust shifts in abortion attitudes relative to restrictive legislation, as opposed to the long-term evolution of ideologies that has resulted in a more divided American public.
Sincethe cross-sectional HAS has gauged demographic patterns, life experiences, attitudes, and beliefs of the residents of Harris County, which encompasses the city and surrounding areas of Houston, Texas.
Houston is an ideal setting for this study because the city is the fourth largest in the country, the largest in Texas, and the most racially and ethnically diverse in the country. From November through April10, abortions were provided there, and 11, were provided November through April [ 10 ]. Each year, computer-assisted telephone interviews were conducted via two-stage random-digit dialing.
In each household, respondents were randomly selected from all residents age 18 and older, and Spanish language interviewers were available at all times. See Table 1 for a description of the sample. The focal predictors were a series of dummy variables for the survey waves in years of interest, and representing change over time before and after the and legislation. To increase confidence in the robustness of those main effects, additional predictors accounted for patterns in partisanship.
Views on other social issues were assessed by asking respondents whether: Other indicators of partisanship measured religious and political ideologies. Preliminary analyses consisted of weighted descriptive statistics by survey wave with nonparametric tests for trends across time [ 25 ].
Primary multivariate analyses used logistic regressions to estimate support for legal abortion with the year of interest dummy variables. Model 1 first used as the reference group for effects of the legislation on support for legal abortion in andand then Model 2 used as the reference group for effects of the legislation on support in Both Model 1 and Model 2 included demographic, socioeconomic, and family covariates that could also be associated with attitudes about abortion.
Multivariate analyses were conducted in Stata Table 2 displays frequencies of focal study variables in the, and surveys. Views that welfare recipients take advantage of the system declined significantly from toand beliefs that ethnic diversity was a problem significantly increased. Similar to trends in support for legal abortion, views on gay adoption were split with some change across survey waves yet did not reach levels of statistical significance.
Respondents were divided in thirds across religious progressivism, fundamentalism, and secularism, with fewer fundamentalists and statistically significantly more secularists across time. Etatecenter respondents reported their political ideology as conservative, which did not significantly change across time. Table 3 shows results from logistic regressions predicting support for legal abortion for any reason.
The first set of multivariate results treated as the reference category, representing differences before and after the legislation. In a baseline model adjusted for demographic, socioeconomic, and family characteristics not shown, results available upon requestthere was significantly more support for legal abortion in and compared towith the — difference larger than the — comparison. Model 1 in Table 3 improved upon those baseline estimates by including a variety of indicators of partisanship.
Houstonians with conservative views on gay adoption were significantly less likely to support otg abortion. Relative to religious progressives, fundamentalists were significantly less likely to support abortion, whereas secularists were significantly more likely.
After adjusting for those measures of partisanship, the main effects of greater support for legal abortion in years after remained statistically significant: Subsequent multivariate analyses treated as the reference category, representing differences before and after the legislation.
This section focuses on the — results because the — results—and conservative views and ideologies—have already been explored with previous models. In additional sensitivity analyses, interactions for survey wave with other views and with ideology were not statistically significant, meaning those effects did not vary over time. Post-hoc calculations of the Impact Threshold for Confounding Variables ITCV [ 26 ] revealed that the effects of the legislation on greater support for legal abortion in and were robust, whereas the effect of the legislation i.
Similar to national-level research [ 19 ], a little over half of respondents agreed abortion should be legal for any reason a woman wishes to obtain one, but the exact percentage differed over time. Although public support for legal abortion was significantly higher in both post-legislation years, the legislation mandating additional appointments for counseling and sonograms and attempting to defund family planning providers such as Planned Parenthood seemed to receive particularly more backlash.
An important component of this study was to investigate whether the findings may be directly attributable to the and legislation. As in most non-experimental studies, these results are not causal but a number of steps were taken to increase confidence in them.
Multivariate analyses were adjusted for both personal characteristics and several measures intended to capture the general trend of increasing partisanship.
There was evidence that respondents were sorted within ideologies [ 1416 ] such that religious fundamentalists, Republicans, and conservatives were less likely to support abortion. This finding suggests people who are against gay adoption regardless of their religious or political views likely have strong ideas about what U. This study is not without limitations. Results are not purely causal effects of the and legislation on attitudes about abortion.
ITCV calculations, though, supported the robustness of the effect of the legislation on abortion attitudes. Moreover, the HAS is cross-sectional and represents general trends, not how individuals responded to legislation restricting abortion, an area which future longitudinal research should explore.
As state legislatures in Texas and across the US make it increasingly difficult for women to access abortion and facilities to provide it, public support for legal abortion has grown. Despite the political climate of increasingly opposing ideologies, abortion clinicians as well as women seeking abortions may have greater public support for their decisions and services than expected given extreme divisions between the political parties navigating and passing such legislation.
Practitioners and policymakers may be more successful in their efforts by explaining the medical aspects of abortion care. Indeed, many Texans across the state are not well-informed about the safety of abortion as a medical procedure [ 23 ].
Public health campaigns in Texas and across the US could be more effective if enacted during this distinct and crucial period of changing public opinion and increased support in response to legislation, particularly as abortion restrictions in other states are mounting [ 13 ].
Given the impacts of such legislation on other aspects of reproductive health care e. Opinions reflect those of the author and not necessarily the opinions of the granting agency. I am grateful to Joe Potter and Rob Crosnoe for the helpful advice and suggestions throughout the many stages of this study. This is a PDF file of an unedited manuscript that has been accepted for publication.
As a service to our customers we are providing this early version of the manuscript. The manuscript will undergo copyediting, typesetting, and review of the resulting proof before it is published in its final citable form. Please note that during the production process errors may be discovered which could affect the content, and all legal disclaimers that apply to the journal pertain.
An Overview of Abortion Laws | Guttmacher Institute
National Center for Biotechnology InformationU. Author manuscript; available in PMC Nov 1.
Author information Copyright and License information Disclaimer. The publisher’s final edited version of this article is available at Contraception. Abstract Objective Over the past five years, Texas has become a hotbed of debate on abortion rights and restrictions.
Results At all three time points studied, slightly more than half of Houstonians supported legal abortion for any reason a woman wanted to obtain one. Abortion, domestic policy, ideology, public opinion. Introduction Nationally, the past five years have represented a massive and unprecedented increase in abortion restrictions. Material and methods 2. Table 1 Houston Area Survey sample characteristics by year. Open in a separate window.
Results Table 2 displays frequencies of focal study variables in the, and surveys. Table 2 Focal study variables by year. Laws affecting reproductive health and rights: Gold RB, Nash E. TRAP laws gain political traction while abortion clinics—and the women they serve—pay the price. Guttmacher Rep Public Policy. The supply-side economics of abortion. N Engl J Med. Cutting family planning in Texas.
An overview of abortion laws: Texas Department of State Health Services.