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      Does state-level context matter for individuals' knowledge about abortion, legality and health? Challenging the ‘red states v. blue states’ hypothesis

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      Culture, Health & Sexuality

      Informa UK Limited

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          Abstract

          <p class="first" id="d2927066e73">Recently, the hypothesis that state-level political context influences individuals' cultural values--the 'red states v. blue states' hypothesis--has been invoked to explain the hyper-polarisation of politics in the USA. To test this hypothesis, we examined individuals' knowledge about abortion in relation to the political context of their current state of residence. Drawing from an internet-survey of 586 reproductive-age individuals in the USA, we assessed two types of abortion knowledge: health-related and legality. We found that state-level conservatism does not modify the existing relationships between individual predictors and each of the two types of abortion knowledge. Hence, our findings do not support the 'red states' versus 'blue states' hypothesis. Additionally, we find that knowledge about abortion's health effects in the USA is low: 7% of our sample thought abortion before 12 weeks gestation was illegal. </p>

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          Most cited references 26

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          Partisans without Constraint: Political Polarization and Trends in American Public Opinion

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            Ideological Realignment in the U.S. Electorate

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              Conceptualising abortion stigma.

              Abortion stigma is widely acknowledged in many countries, but poorly theorised. Although media accounts often evoke abortion stigma as a universal social fact, we suggest that the social production of abortion stigma is profoundly local. Abortion stigma is neither natural nor 'essential' and relies upon power disparities and inequalities for its formation. In this paper, we identify social and political processes that favour the emergence, perpetuation and normalisation of abortion stigma. We hypothesise that abortion transgresses three cherished 'feminine' ideals: perpetual fecundity; the inevitability of motherhood; and instinctive nurturing. We offer examples of how abortion stigma is generated through popular and medical discourses, government and political structures, institutions, communities and via personal interactions. Finally, we propose a research agenda to reveal, measure and map the diverse manifestations of abortion stigma and its impact on women's health.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Culture, Health & Sexuality
                Culture, Health & Sexuality
                Informa UK Limited
                1369-1058
                1464-5351
                December 20 2014
                January 26 2015
                : 17
                : 6
                : 733-746
                Article
                10.1080/13691058.2014.994230
                25622191
                © 2015

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