Religious women: Less sex, fewer abortions

Jan. 31, 2008 at 10:42 PM
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NEW YORK, Jan. 31 (UPI) -- Religious women are less likely to get an abortion than secular women, in part because they are less likely to become pregnant, a U.S. study found.

Researchers led by Amy Adamczyk of John Jay College of Criminal Justice and Jacob Felson of William Paterson University measured sexual behavior and out-of-wedlock pregnancy in relation to religious and denominational affiliation.

The study used multiple religion measures with longitudinal data to examine the influence of religion on abortion behavior.

The study, published in the March issue of the journal Social Science Quarterly, found religious women lead a sexually conservative lifestyle and are less likely to become pregnant without a potential marriage partner, when abortion may be an appealing option. In addition, religious women are more likely to get married if they become pregnant.

"Religious influences on attitudes are much more powerful than religious influences on behavior," the authors said in a statement. "While religion is the main reason for differences in abortion attitudes, religion is a relatively minor reason for differences in abortion behavior."

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