Honors Theses


Jeanne Holcomb


Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work

Publication Date


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Honors Thesis


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. Mixed methods research was conducted 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 polarizing education and political experiences, feeling Catholic shame and guilt, and a desire for open dialogue as well as for pro-life to encapsulate all life, such as care for immigrants and climate change, and not only anti-abortion.

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This item is protected by copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code) and may only be used for noncommercial, educational, and scholarly purposes.


Undergraduate research



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