Ethnic Diversity, Religion, and Opinions toward Legalizing Abortion: The Case of Asian Americans

Bohsiu Wu, Aya Kimura Ida


Over the past four decades, abortion has remained the most controversial domestic issue in the US. Public opinion toward legalizing abortion has been sharply divided yet stable according to several major surveys. This study examines how religion and other important factors affect Asian Americans’ views toward abortion. Data are from the National Asian American Survey 2008 and multivariate analyses are used to examine whether religion exerts a mediation effect and explore attitudinal differences among six major Asian American groups. Results show that Asian Americans resemble the broader society in their opinions toward the abortion issue in that a documented sharp division exists among Asian American respondents. Groups ranked by the level of support for legal abortion are: Japanese, Chinese, Asian Indians, Korean, Filipino/a, and Vietnamese Americans. OLS regression analyses show that religiosity mediates the impact of religious affiliation on opinions toward abortion for Asian Americans who are non-Catholic Christians. Among Asian American who are Catholics, only a partial mediation effect is observed in the analysis. Analysis conducted for each Asian American group shows that different factors exert varying degree of influence in the opinion toward legalized abortion. Thus, an interaction effect of religion and ethnicity is found. Implications concerning ethnic diversity, religion, and opinions toward abortion are discussed in the paper.


Asian Americans, abortion, public opinion, religion, religiosity

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