Investigating Moral Underpinnings Of Attitudes About Abortion

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Maggie Grace Watts (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site:
Andrew Monroe

Abstract: The present study examines the ways in which moral values, specifically purity and fairness, may influence individual attitudes about abortion. Participants were asked to complete the Moral Foundations Questionnaire (MFQ) and read a scenario created for the purposes of this study about a hypothetical woman who decides to have an abortion. After reading this, participants rated how warmly they felt towards this woman, how they perceived her moral character, to what extent they believed she deserved blame, and lastly, whether they believed abortion access today should remain the same or to what extent they felt it should be increased or decreased. We hypothesized that those who endorsed purity values would be more likely to feel less warmly toward the woman in the story, rate her moral character negatively, think she deserved more blame, and support a decrease in abortion access. Conversely, we expected those who endorsed fairness would feel more warmth, report higher rankings of moral character, attribute less blame, and support an increase in abortion access. The results supported these predictions and interestingly, the moral values of purity and fairness remain the main predictor of one’s attitudes on abortion, even when controlling for political ideology. This study could have implications for weakening the partisan divide regarding abortion debates and suggestions for future studies on this topic.

Additional Information

Honors Project
Watts, M. (2020). Investigating Moral Underpinnings Of Attitudes About Abortion. Unpublished Honors Thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Language: English
Date: 2020
moral psychology, abortion, attitudes about abortion, gender studies

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