More Religious and Devout Young Women Have Abortions

Despite being educated in religious schools

  Religion has little to no bearing on young women's decision to have an abortion, a new study finds
A new study published in the June issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior shows that young women in their teens or early twenties who have attended religious schools are more likely than their peers to get an abortion, despite their beliefs. In fact, the research points out, these girls are more likely than those in the public school system to get pregnant without being too mature or married. The findings are very weird, because private religious schools, regardless of the god they promote, pride themselves in enforcing a very strict policy as far as contacts between their students go.

 

“This research suggests that young, unmarried women are confronted with a number of social, financial and health-related factors that can make it difficult for them to act according to religious values when deciding whether to keep or abort a pregnancy,” explained City University of New York (CUNY) John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the Graduate Center assistant professor, sociologist Amy Adamczyk. She is also the author of the new paper.

 

For her research, the expert kept an eye on 1,504 unmarried and never-divorced young women in 125 different schools around the United States, aged 26 or younger. The goal of the investigation was to determine exactly how religious behavior influenced the young girls' decisions to have an abortion. Other studies have shown a strong link between religion and abortion attitudes, but this correlation has thus far remained largely unstudied.

 

A quarter of the women that were a part of the research reported that they had an abortion during it, but the number is certainly larger. Adamczyk said that, in this type of studies, the results usually do not reflect reality accurately, in that the numbers of women who have abortions, but don't want to, or are too afraid to admit are a lot larger. When analyzing the variables in the research, the expert learned that neither religious involvement, nor frequency of prayer or the perception of religion's importance has any bearing on the women's decision.

 

“Religious school attendance is not necessarily indicative of conservative religious beliefs because students attend these schools for a variety of reasons. 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,” the expert concluded.

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By    2 Jun 2009, 12:01 GMT