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Jews, non-Jews, and attitudes toward reproductive technologies


A survey of attitudes toward newer methods for conceiving and controlling the quality of children replicates a comparable survey carried out in 1984. Comparing the two samples of college students, we hypothesized continued differences by religion and religiosity as found in the earlier survey, but we also expected that these differences would have diminished over time with a convergence of attitudes on methods which have become increasingly widely practiced. Findings confirmed that, as in 1984, Jews were more approving of most methods than were Protestants and Catholics, and the more religious subjects were the least approving. This was true of methods included in the prior survey (e.g. artificial insemination by husband and donor,in vitro fertilization, and surrogacy) as well as of newer methods developed since then (e.g. ovum donation, cloning). The comparison revealed no evidence of convergence, despite declining religiosity; religious identification persists as a powerful influence on attitudes. Yet the majority of students claimed that their religious background and upbringing had no effect on their opinions.

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Author information

Correspondence to Judith N. Lasker or Dawn Murray.

Additional information

An earlier version of this paper was presented at the International Institute of Sociology meetings in Tel Aviv, July 1999 and at the Midwest and Pacific Jewish Studies Association meetings, Colorado Springs, October 1999.

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Lasker, J.N., Murray, D. Jews, non-Jews, and attitudes toward reproductive technologies. Cont Jewry 22, 80–97 (2001).

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  • Assist Reproductive Technology
  • Religious Affiliation
  • Artificial Insemination
  • Jewish Identity
  • Religious Background