Reconsidering the Pornography Use and Abortion Support Relationship: A Reply to Tokunaga, Wright, and McKinley (2015)
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Tokunaga, Wright, and McKinley (2015) argue that pornography usage significantly influences one’s later support of abortion. To support their position, hey relied on panel data from the General Social Survey (GSS) from 2006 through 2010 and regressed abortion support onto self-reported pornography use from 2 years’ prior to measurement. In a later analysis, Wright and Tokunaga (2018) claimed this relationship was better explained by a broader attitude structure called sexual liberalism which they argued is influenced by the acquisition, activation and application of sexual scripts embedded in pornographic content. The current study reexamines this claim by analyzing sexual liberalism factors, such as attitudes towards gay marriage, extramarital sex and political and religious beliefs from the most recent GSS panel data and their 2016 survey. Results indicate these factors are collectively stronger predictors of support of abortion than pornography usage alone. An examination of a three wave panel dataset (2010, 2012, and 2014) demonstrated a lack of time-order relationship between pornography usage and support for abortion. It is argued that sexual liberalism provides a better explanation for the previously found relationship between abortion support and pornography usage. Specifically, both abortion support and pornography use are two of many indicators of sexual liberalism, a higher-order attitude construct. Suggestions are presented to further test the relationship between sexual liberalism and pornography usage.