Tip Sheets

SCOTUS nominee represents many religious American women

Media Contact

Rachel Rhodes

Following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, President Trump nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett on Saturday to the Supreme Court. Barrett, a federal appeals court judge, is a religious conservative and draws criticism from Democrats for her positions on healthcare and abortion.

Landon Schnabel

Robert and Ann Rosenthal Assistant Professor of Sociology

Landon Schnabel, assistant professor of sociology at Cornell University, is writing a book titled “Is Faith Feminine? What Americans Really Think about Gender and Religion,” which will consider how religion suppresses gender differences in politics. Schnabel says that for highly religious American women like Barrett, their religious identity trumps their gender identity when it comes to reproductive politics.

Schnabel says:

“People often assume it's men who are most likely to oppose women's right to choose what to do with their bodies. But as we see in the case of Trump's Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, men don't have a monopoly on opposing abortion rights. In fact, in a recent study I found it’s actually men who are more likely to support abortion in the United States.

“Importantly for questions of reproductive politics, women—like other structurally-disadvantaged groups in the United States—are substantially more religious than their more privileged counterparts. Despite having more liberal politics as a whole, their greater religiousness promotes greater support for traditional politics on specific issues, like abortion, where their religious beliefs are particularly salient. In fact, I’ve found it’s precisely because of their greater religiousness that women are less likely to support abortion than men. If it weren’t for that greater religiousness, women would be significantly more likely to support abortion than men.

“Barrett, rather than a paradox, typifies what we see among many highly religious American women. Despite being women, which we might expect to contribute to greater concern for women's autonomy, their religious identity trumps their gender identity in their reproductive politics.”

Cornell University has television, ISDN and dedicated Skype/Google+ Hangout studios available for media interviews.