Abstract

Although disapproval of all justifications for abortion is rare in the United States, our analysis of numerous surveys taken in the 1960s and 1970s shows that support for the full prochoice platform is also rare. This means that respondents who endorse some justifications for abortion and reject others typically constitute about 50 percent of these samples. If forced to choose politically between polar positions, would these people be more likely to side with a positive or a negative extreme? Using Multiple Classification Analysis as a form of discriminant analysis, we examine whether people who appear to form a “middle” group actually are closer in their characteristics to those who are positive, or to those who are negative. Finally, we test to see whether those respondents who endorse all four justifications for abortion (health, child defect, financial stress, and elective abortion) also endorse additional prochoice positions, such as government payments for abortion, abortion without the husband’s or the parent’s consent, and abortion after the first trimester.

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Notes

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