Title

Catholic Politicians and the Politics of Abortion Position Taking

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

6-2018

Department

Political Science

Language

English

Publication Title

Politics and Religion

Abstract

Four decades after the Court's landmark decision in Roe v. Wade, the issue of abortion persists as a point of contention for elected officials. The Catholic Church has taken a leading role in the pro-life movement, putting many Catholic representatives in a difficult position as they can be cross-pressured by their party, their constituents, and their own beliefs. Given these pressures, how do Catholic legislators explain their positions on abortion? We address this question via an analysis of public statements about abortion made by Catholic representatives and senators in the 108th Congress. We examine which members comment on abortion and use automated text analysis to measure legislators' certainty and use of moral and religious terms when discussing abortion. Multivariate analysis shows that gender, ethnicity, and an interaction between a member's position on abortion and the number of Catholics in their constituency shape how Catholic legislators discuss abortion.

Comments

For more information on the published version, visit Cambridge University Press's Website.

DOI

10.1017/S1755048317000530

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