Pro-Understanding: Understanding the Pro-Choice Catholic

Pro-Understanding: Understanding the Pro-Choice Catholic



Natalie Therese Eilerman


Presentation: 10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m., St. Joseph's Hall 025



Abortion is a widely debated and polarizing topic in the United States. While many Catholic leaders and members tend to hold beliefs against abortion, some Catholics are pro-choice. This study explores the perspectives and experiences of this often-under-recognized group. I conducted mixed methods research to analyze 1) how perspectives towards abortion are changing among Catholics in the United States (using data from the General Social Survey from 1977-2018), and 2) the experiences of college students at a private, predominately white, Catholic university in the Midwest who identify as pro-choice and Catholic. Quantitative analysis shows that Catholics’ attitudes towards abortion are becoming more pro-choice as time goes on. Qualitative interviews highlight a desire for open dialogue in which pro-choice Catholic perspectives are heard and respected as well as a want for the concept of being pro-life to encapsulate all life rather than just anti-abortion beliefs.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Capstone Project

Primary Advisor

Anya M. Galli Robertson, Jeanne Anne Holcomb, Leslie H. Picca

Primary Advisor's Department

Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work


Stander Symposium project, College of Arts and Sciences

Pro-Understanding: Understanding the Pro-Choice Catholic