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Palgrave Macmillan

Abortion and Catholicism in Britain

Attitudes, Lived Religion and Complexity

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  • © 2024


  • Enhances our understanding of how abortion as an issue is constructed within faith communities
  • Draws on empirical data to provide a contemporary account of diverse attitudes amongst Catholics
  • Offers a nuanced perspective on the increased liberalisation among Catholics

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About this book

This book details how British Catholic communities view abortion, highlighting the diversity of positions which often contrast with the official line of Catholic Church doctrine. The authors’ extensive qualitative investigation involving various Catholic constituents demonstrates the complex ways attitudes are formed. Based on interviews with priests, Catholic parishioners, anti-abortion activists and Catholics living in close proximity to activism, this book takes a lived religion approach to argue that attitudes and approaches to abortion are nuanced and contextual, with the Catholic concept of individual conscience playing a fundamental role in navigating abortion issues. Ultimately, this investigation helps to explore in much greater depth the increased liberalisation in attitudes among Catholics towards abortion, at a time when Catholic activism opposing abortion is growing, and therefore shines a light on the conflicts that are apparent at the heart of Catholic parishes. Thisbook will be of interest to scholars in Gender and Sexuality Studies, Sociology, Theology and Religious Studies.   


Table of contents (8 chapters)

Authors and Affiliations

  • School of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK

    Sarah-Jane Page

  • Department of Sociology and Policy, Aston University, Birmingham, UK

    Pam Lowe

About the authors

Sarah-Jane Page is an Associate Professor at the University of Nottingham, UK. She is a sociologist of religion, with years of expertise studying gender and sexuality issues. She has previously published four monographs and two edited collections and has published widely in journals and books. Her projects include Catholicism and abortion, anti-abortion activism, religion and sexuality attitudes, young people, religion and sexuality, and women priests. 

Pam Lowe is Senior Lecturer in sociology and policy at Aston University, UK. Her expertise in research is centred around women’s reproductive and sexual health, with a particular interest in pregnancy and abortion and she has around 50 publications in these areas. Recently she has also been undertaking research on reproductive coercion. Pam has appeared regularly in the media including on BBC Newsnight, Sky news and BBC Woman’s Hour as an expert on anti-abortion activism. 

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Abortion and Catholicism in Britain

  • Book Subtitle: Attitudes, Lived Religion and Complexity

  • Authors: Sarah-Jane Page, Pam Lowe

  • Series Title: Palgrave Studies in Lived Religion and Societal Challenges

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Cham

  • eBook Packages: Social Sciences, Social Sciences (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2024

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-031-54691-4Published: 21 April 2024

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-3-031-54694-5Due: 22 May 2024

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-031-54692-1Published: 20 April 2024

  • Series ISSN: 2946-4390

  • Series E-ISSN: 2946-4404

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XI, 275

  • Topics: Sociology of Religion, Gender Studies, Catholicism, Social Sciences, general

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