Activist's Opinion and Women's Experience: An Examination of the Sociological and Psychological Nature of Abortion
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This study examines the way in which facing a decision about crisis pregnancy affects a woman's opinion on the abortion debate. Eight abortion activists, four pro-life and four pro-choice and eight women who faced unplanned pregnancy, four who aborted and four who carried the pregnancy to term, were interviewed. Questions focused on their opinions about abortion, sex and contraception, motherhood, personhood, and gender roles, as well as the background and formation of these opinions. The participant's accounts were analyzed using Berger and Luclcmann' s theory on the social construction of reality combined with the psychological theory of cognitive dissonance. Research indicated that activist's opinions on abortion and related topics are formed very differently than women who face the abortion decision in crisis pregnancy. While activists, for the most part, maintain their opinion on abortion through primary and secondary socialization, the women who face crisis pregnancy face the secondary socialization step of unexpected motherhood. This experience causes them to form their opinions in a way that accommodates their pregnancy decision, even if it means altering their line of thinking.