Date of Award


Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chair

Dr. Donald Sacco

Committee Chair School


Committee Member 2

Dr. Elena Stepanova

Committee Member 2 School


Committee Member 3

Dr. Lin Agler

Committee Member 3 School


Committee Member 4

Dr. Tammy Greer

Committee Member 4 School



Although many states have legal frameworks that restrict abortion to certain situations, largely associated with health risks to the mother, child or both, other factors, such as financial stability, emotional readiness, and partner's presence, are not covered by existing laws, though they may be critical factors contributing to abortion decisions. To assess the role of these factors, participants (N= 302) were recruited online via Prolific Academic and randomly assigned on a between participants basis to view a single vignette that manipulated abortion justification category (financial, emotional, partner) and the presence/absence of justification. They reported the extent to which they support the target’s reasons for having an abortion, and completed a moral reasoning measure, an assessment of religiosity and political affiliation, and a demographics form. At the bivariate level, results revealed that stronger deontological moral values, religiosity, and conservatism were associated with less overall support for abortion, whereas stronger utilitarian moral values predicted more support for abortion. There were no main and interactive effects of justification and justification presence/absence on abortion support. Findings also indicated no independent effects of moral reasoning when religiosity and political conservatism were included in the models, though higher order interactions revealed that more religious men were less supportive of a target’s abortion decision when driven by financial unreadiness, whereas more conservative men were less supportive of a target’s abortion decision when driven by emotional unreadiness and partner absence concerns. This study expands knowledge of what drives abortion attitudes to inform public discourse on this divisive topic.

Available for download on Friday, May 15, 2026