Sexual Morality, Pro-Life Values, and Attitudes toward Abortion:A Simultaneous Latent Structure Analysis for 1978-1983
AbstractA simultaneous latent class analysis of survey data from 1978 and 1983 is used to clarify the current controversy over whether opposition to abortion reflects a conservative sexual morality or pro-life values. Results indicate that the “pro-life” and “pro-choice” dichotomy represents an incomplete characterization of the American public—a third group, characterized by a conservative sexual morality and opposition to discretionary abortion, but not to nondiscretionary abortion, must also be included in the classification. The evidence indicates that from 1978 to 1983 this sexually conservative group decreased from one-third to one-fourth of the U.S. adult population and that the “pro-choice” increased to approximately one-half of the population over the same period. The proportion of the population characterized as the “pro-life” class remained stable at approximately 1 of 4 over the same time period.