chapter  4
2 Pages


Contraception and abortion have not been in the policy arena continuously. In fact, legislators have acted infrequently on these subjects. Perhaps they avoid them. After all, these subjects are difficult issues for politicians-what some political scientists call emotive-symbolic issues (Smith 1975). Most legislative business involves the distribution of funds and opportunities to a variety of competing interests. With emotivesymbolic issues, the demands of interest groups are not for money or contracts but for values: These demands force legislators to decide between strong but conflicting convictions of right and wrong. Legislators, who are used to seeking compromises on policy that will please a majority yet offend few, must side with one group over all others. Compromise of absolute values is not acceptable to participants. Yet picking one side over the others may serve only to increase the conflict.