Attitudes toward abortion, social welfare programs, and gender roles in the U.S. and South Africa

SOURCE: Critical Public Health
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2019
TITLE AUTHOR(S): E.A.Mosley, B.A.Anderson, L.H.Harris, P.J.Fleming, A.J.Schulz
KEYWORDS: ABORTION, ATTITUDES, GENDER
DEPARTMENT: Democracy, Governance and Service Delivery (DGSD)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 11036

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Abstract

Public abortion attitudes are important predictors of abortion stigma and accessibility, even in legal settings like the U.S. and South Africa. With data from the U.S. General Social Survey and South African Social Attitudes Survey, we used ordinal logistic regressions to measure whether abortion acceptability (in cases of poverty and fetal anomaly) is related to attitudes about social welfare programs and gender roles, then assessed differences by race/ethnicity and education. Social welfare program attitudes did not correlate with abortion acceptability in the U.S., but in South Africa, greater support for income equalization and increased government spending on the poor correlated with lower abortion acceptability in circumstances of poverty. This was significant for Black African and higher educated South Africans. In the U.S., egalitarian gender role attitudes correlated with higher acceptability of abortion in circumstances of poverty and fetal anomaly This was significant for White and less educated Americans. In South Africa, egalitarian gender role attitudes correlated with higher abortion acceptability for fetal anomaly overall and among Black and less educated respondents, but among non-Black South Africans they correlated with higher abortion acceptability in circumstances of poverty. These results suggest abortion attitudes are distinctly related to socioeconomic and gender ideology depending ones national context, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. Reducing abortion stigma will require community-based approaches rooted in intersectional reproductive justice frameworks.