Abortion and Public Perspectives Domestic and Global Perspectives Essay

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Abortion and the Media: Domestic and Global Perspectives

If anything can be agreed upon, it’s that abortion is a complex issue, one that triggers a wealth of opinions, feelings and beliefs. The way in which abortion is presented in the media is something that is also exceedingly complex, and which can both impact society and be a reflection of the beliefs of a particular society. Even in this modern era, abortion is still an issue that has the power to divide people and to cause tense debates. This paper will examine abortion in the media from a more global perspective, and will attempt to pinpoint the factors that trigger and influence both women and men alike.

The research article, “Women’s opinions on the legalisation of abortion in Chile 2009 –2013” by Palermo and colleagues (2015) shows an unsurprising finding about people’s viewpoints on abortion—and with those viewpoints, their beliefs on whether or not it should be regulated. Chile is such a fascinating nation to examine in this regard, namely because of their current legislation on abortion. At the time of this writing, Chile has had and continues to have, a very explicit prohibition to abortion. This is particularly noteworthy, as there does not exist any clear legal exceptions to abortion in that nation at this time. In such a country, getting the legislation changed would require a change of attitude in society as a whole and the researchers attempted to determine how difficult that would be in a place like Chile. One aspect of the finding did show a more nuanced take on the results, indicating that public opinion and current politics may diverge when it comes to such a heated topic. One promising aspect of this study was that it found higher rates of support for abortion in 2013 than in 2009 (Palermo et al., 2015). When it came to less polarizing issues such as abortion needed to protect a woman’s life due to a health crisis, or an abortion needed because of rape or because of a health crisis of the fetus more support was given (Palermo et al., 2015). One of the more provocative aspects of this study was that it found that the more education that a woman had and the less religious a woman was, the more likely she was to support the right to abortion.

“Women with increasing education and those attending church services less frequently were more likely to support the legalisation of abortion (b ¼ 0.27; 95% CI: 0.11, 0.43), while those affiliated to a religion other than Catholicism (b ¼ 20.32; 95% CI: 20.48, 20.16) were less likely to do so” (Palermo et al., 2015). This suggests strongly that part of the resistance to abortion in Chile and no doubt in other parts of the world, is partly entangled with people’s religious beliefs.

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This was a finding that was underscored in another study, “Faith, Race?Ethnicity, and Public Policy Preferences: Religious Schemas and Abortion Attitudes Among U.S. Latinos” by Bartkowski and colleagues (2012). When examining abortion attitudes with Catholic Latinos in the United States versus Protestant Latinos, the latter group was found to be exceedingly anti-abortion, even more so than their Catholic counterparts (Bartkowski et al., 2012). The research is pretty consistent: Religion is a serious thing as it revolves around how we got here, why we’re here and what happens we die. It doesn’t come as a surprise that it continues to have the impact on things like abortion and continue to orient society from a cultural perspective (Adamczyk, 2013). In fact, many researchers have expressed the thought that they would expect women to be more in favor of abortion than men, but they often mirror men’s viewpoints on the procedure (Barkan 2014). Researchers have found much of the explanation for this can be found in the fact that religiosity is a suppressor variable that can impact the female perspective on whether abortions should be legal (Barkan, 2014).

This finding is something that is definitively suggested to some extent in the research study, “Complexity in Attitudes Toward Abortion Access: Results from Two Studies” by Jozkowski and colleagues. This research endeavor actually focuses on two distinct studies, in an attempt to shed light on the intricacies that create a more nebulous cultural viewpoint on abortion. For example, in the first study that was conducted “According to Study 1, education, religious affiliation, living in a rural setting, and political affiliation were significantly related to abortion opinions and abortion complexity” (Jozkowski et al., 2018). These findings underscore what Palermo and associates found in their research: education and religion have an impact on abortion and how a society is willing to accept it. To make matters even more complicated, the second study demonstrated just how polarizing and contradictory viewpoints regarding abortion can be: “Pro-choice and pro-life identifying individuals cited numerous circumstances under which they believed women should/should not have access to abortion” (Jozkowski et al., 2018). Unfortunately these types of findings demonstrate the complexity inherent on opinions of abortion and the strongly situational aspect to them.

Recently, a study was done focusing exclusively on American adolescents in order to determine their viewpoints on abortion, through the mention of it on social media, all documented in the article, “Exploring abortion attitudes of US adolescents and young adults using social media” by Altshuler and colleagues (2014). The….....

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Adamczyk, A. (2013). The effect of personal religiosity on attitudes toward abortion, divorce, and gender equality--does cultural context make a difference?. EurAmerica, 43(1).

Altshuler, A. L., Gerns Storey, H. L., & Prager, S. W. (2015). Exploring abortion attitudes of US adolescents and young adults using social media. Contraception, 91(3), 226-233. doi:10.1016/j.contraception.2014.11.009

Barkan, S. E. (2014). Gender and Abortion Attitudes: Religiosity as a Suppressor Variable. Public Opinion Quarterly, 78(4), 940-950. doi:10.1093/poq/nfu047

Geary, C. W., Gebreselassie, H., Awah, P., & Pearson, E. (2012). Attitudes toward abortion in Zambia. International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics, 118, S148-S151. doi:10.1016/s0020-7292(12)60014-9

Holcombe, S. J., Berhe, A., & Cherie, A. (2015). Personal Beliefs and Professional Responsibilities: Ethiopian Midwives\' Attitudes toward Providing Abortion Services after Legal Reform. Studies in Family Planning, 46(1), 73-95. doi:10.1111/j.1728-4465.2015.00016.x

Jozkowski, K. N., Crawford, B. L., & Hunt, M. E. (2018). Complexity in Attitudes Toward Abortion Access: Results from Two Studies. Sexuality Research and Social Policy. doi:10.1007/s13178-018-0322-4

Palermo, T., Infante Erazo, M., & Hurtado Pinochet, V. (2015). Women’s opinions on the legalisation of abortion in Chile 2009–2013. Culture, Health & Sexuality, 17(7), 873-890. doi:10.1080/13691058.2015.1005138

Purcell, C., Hilton, S., & McDaid, L. (2014). The stigmatisation of abortion: a qualitative analysis of print media in Great Britain in 2010. Culture, Health & Sexuality, 16(9), 1141-1155. doi:10.1080/13691058.2014.937463

Sisson, G., & Kimport, K. (2014). Telling stories about abortion: abortion-related plots in American film and television, 1916–2013. Contraception, 89(5), 413-418. doi:10.1016/j.contraception.2013.12.015

Sisson, G., & Kimport, K. (2014). Telling stories about abortion: abortion-related plots in American film and television, 1916–2013. Contraception, 89(5), 413-418. doi:10.1016/j.contraception.2013.12.015

Sundstrom, B., Lyn Briones, R., & Janoske, M. (2013). Expecting the unexpected. Journal of Communication Management, 17(4), 341-363. doi:10.1108/jcom-08-2012-0069


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