The Alan Guttmacher Institute (AGI) recently released a study on adolescent males’ attitudes toward abortion, reporting a decrease in approval for the procedure, especially among whites. The report analyzes two surveys of 3,590 males aged 15-19 conducted in 1988 and 1995. In 1988, 40.4% of teenaged males disapproved strongly of women having elective abortions; in 1995, 50.5% disapproved. The decrease, AGI says, is largely driven by white males; blacks’ and Hispanics’ attitudes have not changed significantly since 1988.
Increasingly conservative male attitudes toward abortion coincide with increasingly conservative attitudes toward premarital sex and an increase in the importance of religion among white male adolescents. The report shows a 6% increase in white respondents citing religion as “very important,” up to 33.7%.
AGI argues that an increase in conservatism has had an effect on adolescent males’ opinions; they also argue that conservatism will have an effect on young men’s sexual and reproductive behavior. This, of course, will affect adolescent women. Alarmingly, AGI’s study shows that “the majority of those surveyed did not support abortion for monetary reasons or in cases where the male partner does not want the abortion.” With young women targeted for prohibitive limitations to reproductive choice, their potential partners’ attitudes could be very harmful. For information on how to protect choice for women most targeted, please see the Campaign for Access and Reproductive Equity.