Impact of Religion on the Attitudes toward Abortion and Contraception Use in Contemporary Taiwan

Jiexia (Elisa) Zhai, University of Texas at Austin
Wei-hsin Yu, University of Texas at Austin

Studies show that religion is strongly associated with opposition of abortion in the U.S. However, little is known about the effects of religion in non-Western societies, where non-Judeo Christian religious traditions have been dominant. Using a nationally representative sample of married women in Taiwan, we investigate how religion affects attitudes toward abortion and contraception use. Our analysis indicates that conservative religious groups, Taiwan Protestants and the New Religious Movement (Yi-Guan-Dao), are more likely to disapprove of abortion, particularly when household financial constraints or out-of-wedlock pregnancy is the reason, compared to Chinese traditional religionists (i.e. Buddhists and Taoists). However, Chinese traditional religionists tend to disapprove of birth control, except for sterilization after reaching the desired number of children. The nonreligious tend to favor abortion and birth control more under all circumstances. Despite these attitudinal differences, we find no significant effect of religion in predicting the likelihood of having abortion.

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Presented in Session 170: Abortion II