What do abortion policies accomplish? : understanding how abortion laws and court cases affect public opinion
Author(s)Hernandez, Cory D
Understanding how abortion laws and court cases affect public opinion
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Political Science.
Charles Stewart, III.
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Abortion is a loaded, controversial, and divisive sociocultural and political term, concept, and debate. Yet little empirical research has been conducted to examine what effects abortion rights legislation and court cases have had on the public and our society. After analyzing a broad overview of the history of the abortion rights debate in the US, I conduct bivariate and multivariate regression analyses from 1972-2004 using NES and personally-collected data to see how these laws and court opinions in various states at the individual level influence public opinion of abortion rights and of the government. In the end, I conclude that, of the possible iterated relationships therefrom, anti-choice policies have statistically significant impacts on both how people view abortion rights and their own state governments. In doing so, I challenge extant models that describe the interaction between public opinion and policy. I also further develop the idea of Policy Overreach, where policymakers go "too far"-at least, in the eyes of the public-in setting anti-choice policies, causing the public to retaliate in various ways. Not only does this thesis answer some important questions, but also introduces new measures, concepts, questions, and data for future research into this important area of study.
Thesis: S.M., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Political Science, 2014.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (pages 114-124).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Political Science.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology