Abortion Rates in the United States: The Influence of Opinion and Policy

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SUNY Press, 1996 - Social Science - 153 pages
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Few studies make a direct connection between public opinion, public policies, and the behavior of the mass public. This book demonstrates for the first time that such a connection can be found when examining abortion politics in the United States. Using public opinion data for all fifty states, the author demonstrates that state policies to restrict abortion closely match the preferences of the mass public. More important, he shows a profound link between public opinion on abortion and abortion rates in the United States. Where state publics are more permissive in their attitudes toward abortion, state policies tend to be more permissive, and rates of abortion utilization tend to be higher.
The book also explores the impact of policy changes on abortion rates. Using sophisticated statistical techniques, the author examines policy changes at both the state and national level. The analysis points to an intriguing paradox: national policy changes have no real effect on abortion rates, yet state policy changes do. This finding suggests that the states are the place to look for significant changes in abortion utilization in response to policy.
 

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Contents

Major Hypotheses and Research Methods in the Study
9
The Supreme Court and Abortion Policy
13
State Abortion Laws Before Roe v Wade
16
Supreme Court Positions on Parental Notification in Hodgson v Minnesota 1990
19
Supreme Court Voting in the Casey Decision
25
Supreme Court Voting in the Madsen Decision
27
Abortion Cases Decided by the Supreme Court 19731994
28
Voting on Abortion Issues Before the Court 19751979
32
A Hypothesized LISREL Model of Abortion Attitudes
71
Estimates for a LISREL Model of Abortion Attitudes
72
State Public Opinion and Abortion Policy
75
State Public Opinion on Abortion Issues 19881990 NES Surveys
78
Expected Impact of Variables on State Abortion Opinion
81
Support for Abortion in the States
82
Opposition to Parental Consent
83
The Influence of Fundamentalism and Socioeconomic Levels on Public Support for Abortion
84

Supreme Court Voting on Abortion Cases 19731981
33
Supreme Court Voting on Abortion Cases 19831987
35
Supreme Court Voting on Abortion Cases 19891994
36
ProChoice Voting Scores on the Supreme Court 19731994
38
Courts and Legislatures
41
Abortion RatiosPearson Correlation Coefficients
44
National Abortion Ratio 19661992
45
ARIMA Time Series EstimatesRatio of Abortions to 1000 Live Births 19661992
49
Percent of Abortions Obtained Out of State
50
Legal Abortions and Hospital DC Operations 19691989
51
ARIMA Time Series EstimatesDC Operations in U S Hospitals 19691989
52
Colorado Abortion Ratio 19741990
53
ARIMA Time Series EstimatesAbortion Ratio per 1000 Live Births Colorado and Pennsylvania
54
Massachusetts Abortion Ratio 19741990
55
ARIMA Time Series EstimatesMassachusetts Abortion Ratio per 1000 Live Births 19741990
56
California Abortion Ratio 19721990
57
The Structure and Stability of Attitudes on Abortion
59
Approval of Abortion Circumstances in 19771987 General Social Surveys
63
The Stability of Abortion Attitudes in the Illinois Policy Survey
65
Factor Loadings on Six Abortion Questions on General Social Surveys 19881989
69
Public Opinion and State Policies on Abortion 19881992
87
Abortion Policy Restrictions and Support for Abortion in the States
89
Abortion Policy in the United States
91
Abortion Policy Enactments After Roe v Wade Glen HalvaNeubauers Categories of State Policy Response
94
An Index of TwentyFour Abortion Policy Restrictions 1988
95
Measurement of Abortion Policy and Research Questions
97
The Commonality of Policy Measures
99
State Policies Limiting Medicaid Funding and Access to Abortions by Minors 1991
101
The Impact of Institutional and Demographic Variables
106
The Impact of Institutional and Demographic Variables
108
The Impact of Institutional and Demographic Variables
110
Abortion Policy and Abortion Rates Bi variate Correlations 1988
111
Explaining Abortion Rates in the United States
113
The Expected Effects of Variables in a Causal Model of Abortion Rates
118
Bivariate Correlations of Independent Variables with Abortion Rates Access Policy and Public Support
119
A Causal Model of Abortion Ratios in the United States 1992
121
The Direct Indirect and Total Effects of Variables
122
References
131
Index
145
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About the author (1996)

Matthew E. Wetstein is Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at University of the Pacific and the Department of Politics and Public Administration at California State University, Stanislaus.

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