Reproductive Decision Making Among Lesbian Women
Wall, Misty Lynn
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A non-experimental, survey design was used to determine which factors influence a lesbian woman's decision to have, or not have, a child. Data was collected via the internet from 373 adult women, who self identify as lesbian. This study was guided by feminist theory and attempts to connect existing empirical literature regarding decision making with the experiences of lesbian women. Review of existing theoretical and empirical literature regarding decision making and lesbian headed families showed that six factors; family of origin support, extrinsic religiosity, perceived ability to parent, internalized homophobia, perceived impact of motherhood, and fear of prejudice and discrimination appear to influence a lesbian woman's plan to have, or not have, children. Simple logistic regression was used to determine which of these six variables were statistically significant. Those variables that were statistically significant in a bivariate analysis were then entered into the final logistic regression model. The final model included perceived ability to parent, internalized homophobia, perceived impact of motherhood, and fear of prejudice and discrimination. The final model accounted for 51% of the variation in whether participants plan to have a child. The single best predictor of the plan to have, or not have, a child was perceived ability to parent. Internalized homophobia was the second best predictor of plan to have, or not have, a child. Extrinsic religiosity and family of origin support did not significantly influence a lesbian's decision to have, or not have, a child. Based on these findings, implications for social work theory, policy, practice, and research are presented.