Secular Citizens, Pious MPs

 

This is the author’s version of the work. Please cite as:

    Arzheimer, Kai. “Secular Citizens, Pious MPs: Why German Attitudes About Genetic Testing Are Much More Permissive Than German Laws.” Political Research Exchange 2.1 (2020). doi:10.1080/2474736X.2020.1765693
    [BibTeX] [Abstract] [Download PDF] [HTML] [DATA]

    Germany has lifted its total ban on Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD, a form of genetic testing), but the new rules are still much stricter than those in other European countries. Results from a large-scale survey experiment show that the general population holds more permissive views on this bio-ethical question than lawmakers. In a country seen as a paradigm for the “religious world” of morality politics, many citizens even support further liberalisation along the lines of legislation in Belgium and the UK. Induced reflection on the arguments raised in parliament does not change this: arguments in favour of PGD are widely accepted by respondents, whereas many citizens reject the arguments against PGD. Citzens’ and MPs’ respective evaluations are affected strongly by religiosity, whose levels in the population are much lower than in parliament. Widespread secular views are not adequately represented in politics. This does not only concern the regulation of PGD but also other current and future bioethical issues. It is unlikely that this tension can be resolved through electoral politics. These findings have important ramifications not just for practical morality politics in Germany and other “religious world” countries but also for the two worlds framework itself.

    @Article{arzheimer-2020b,
    author = {Arzheimer, Kai},
    title = {Secular Citizens, Pious MPs: Why German Attitudes About Genetic
    Testing Are Much More Permissive Than German Laws},
    html = {https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/2474736X.2020.1765693},
    journal = {Political Research Exchange},
    url = {https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/2474736X.2020.1765693?needAccess=true},
    year = 2020,
    volume = {2},
    number = {1},
    abstract = {Germany has lifted its total ban on Preimplantation Genetic
    Diagnosis (PGD, a form of genetic testing), but the new rules are
    still much stricter than those in other European countries. Results
    from a large-scale survey experiment show that the general
    population holds more permissive views on this bio-ethical question
    than lawmakers. In a country seen as a paradigm for the "religious
    world" of morality politics, many citizens even support further
    liberalisation along the lines of legislation in Belgium and the
    UK. Induced reflection on the arguments raised in parliament does
    not change this: arguments in favour of PGD are widely accepted by
    respondents, whereas many citizens reject the arguments against
    PGD. Citzens' and MPs' respective evaluations are affected strongly
    by religiosity, whose levels in the population are much lower than
    in parliament. Widespread secular views are not adequately
    represented in politics. This does not only concern the regulation
    of PGD but also other current and future bioethical issues. It is
    unlikely that this tension can be resolved through electoral
    politics. These findings have important ramifications not just for
    practical morality politics in Germany and other "religious world"
    countries but also for the two worlds framework itself.},
    html = {https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/2474736X.2020.1765693},
    url = {https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/2474736X.2020.1765693?needAccess=true},
    data = {https://doi.org/10.7910/DVN/PY9TBQ},
    doi = {10.1080/2474736X.2020.1765693},
    dateadded = {28-03-2020}
    }

I have removed the pre-print because the paper is now published open access. Click here for the final version of Secular Citizens, Pious MPs was (published in PRX in May 2020).