Societies views on Abortion

Topics: Gender, Gender role, Sociology Pages: 9 (3318 words) Published: February 2, 2014
Societal attitudes towards abortion have varied throughout the years but overall attitudes have remained constant. Patriarchal societies have always influence attitudes about abortion and women’s reproductive rights; religion prevails in many of today’s societies and because of that contraception and abortion approval rates are very low. Although little by little progress is being made towards achieving women’s rights, women will encounter a struggle because we live in a world dominated by conservative views and it has proven very hard for women to get approval when it comes to their choice about having an abortion. It is not surprising that many men feel authority over females, this societal norm is commonly accepted by many and it continues to be passed on from one generation to the next. According to The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Patriarchy is defined as “a family or society in which authority is vested in males, through whom descent and inheritance are traced.” Patriarchy continued to spread and it is more prevalent in some countries compared to others. For this reason it is not a surprise that men feel that they have a say in what women decide to do with her body. In many cultures Men strongly believe that the father should have the final say of whether or not his wife should have an abortion. Studies of gender differences tend to show that men hold more conservative views on social issues compared to women; the reason for this is that religion has a major impact on society. It was found that religion doesn’t impact abortion directly but what it does affect are gender role attitudes. Religion reinforces patriarchy and conservative views, therefore, having a direct impact on women’s reproductive rights. According to Patel, “Women’s freedom to control their fertility and in particular the highly emotive and complex nature of abortion, places it in a realm which is further complicated by religious teachings and the cultural importance of fertility.” But society does not emphasize importance on a women’s fertility because of patriarchal teachings. Fertility was never important in the first place and because of that society does not place a lot of emphasis on it. Man tends to hold more traditional views about abortion only because he is the one that makes all the laws, in order to change attitudes society has to work together and challenge traditional roles. Women’s reproductive freedom has to be put on the bargaining table in order to call attention to the issues that affect them, until then it will not be priority for society. Living in a country that promotes “freedom” you will still find that the separation of church and state is very hard to find. The Republican Party for example is linked to the Protestant religion; this group has very conservative views on many issues, one of them being abortion. People that are affiliated with religious groups many times displace anger towards people that belong to out-groups, they show zero tolerance for people that have different ideas. There is also a very strong correlation between religion and gender ideology amongst religious groups, strong moral standards are to be followed and women must obey their husbands at all times. According to Brint, “Many evangelicals as well as members of other Christian religious traditions see the world as governed by moral standards and these standards lead them to oppose changes in society that threaten these standards— fears about threats to these standards shape both their attitudes and social relations within society.” Coming from a Catholic background I know that the church preaches that the women should obey their husbands. Not so long ago I attended mass and the lecture happened to be on relationships. The priest talked about the roles of husband and wives but he seemed to spend a lot of time talking to the females; he preached that we should respect our husband (or future husband) and obey them because he is the man of...


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