A new Pew research poll finds Americans say abortion is morally wrong by a 3-1 margin. However, Americas are still divided on the issue of embryonic stem cell research — even though it destroys human life and still has not helped any patients.
Pew surveyed 4,006 adults nationwide from March 21 to April 8, 2013 and asked them about abortion, stem cell research and in-vitro fertilization.
Roughly half of U.S. adults (49%) say they personally believe that having an abortion is morally wrong, about the same percentage as in previous Pew Research surveys. A very small percentage of Americans say abortion is morally alright.
Asked whether abortion is morally acceptable, morally wrong or not a moral issue, only about a quarter of U.S. adults (23%) say they personally do not consider having an abortion to be a moral issue, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center.
The percentage of U.S. adults who consider abortion to be morally wrong (49%) far exceeds the percentage who express this view about in vitro fertilization (12%), non-embryonic stem cell research (16%) or embryonic stem cell research (22%).
Only 15% of the public thinks that having an abortion is morally acceptable. By comparison, about a third of U.S. adults say they personally view IVF and both forms of stem cell research as morally acceptable practices.
The poll found black and Hispanic Americans are more likely to say abortion is morally wrong than Americans who are members of mainline Protestant churches that take pro-abortion positions.
Opinions on the morality of abortion differ widely among religious groups. Fully three-quarters of white evangelical Protestants consider having an abortion morally wrong, as do about two-thirds of Hispanic Catholics (64%). A majority of black Protestants (58%) and about half of white Catholics (53%) say the same. Fewer white mainline Protestants (38%) and religiously unaffiliated adults (25%) hold this view.
Relatively small percentages of people in all religious groups consider it morally acceptable to have an abortion. However, among the unaffiliated, roughly equal shares say having an abortion is morally acceptable (28%) and morally wrong (25%).
Most polling data shows churchgoers are more likely to be pro-life on abortion and the new Pew poll is no exception.
Those who attend religious services at least once a week are much more inclined to say that having an abortion is morally wrong than those who seldom or never attend (70% vs. 32%). This pattern holds for nearly all major religious groups. For example, half (50%) of white mainline Protestants who attend services weekly say they personally consider having an abortion morally wrong, compared with a third (33%) of white mainline Protestants who attend services less often. About three-quarters (74%) of white Catholics who attend Mass at least once a week consider having an abortion morally wrong, compared with four-in-ten white Catholics (40%) who attend services less often. However, Hispanic Catholics who attend Mass at least once a week do not differ significantly from those who attend less often in their views about the moral acceptability of abortion.
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Republicans are more likely than Democrats to say abortion is morally wrong — but even 38 percent of Democrats agree that is the case.
About two-thirds of Republicans and independents who lean toward the Republican Party consider having an abortion morally wrong (64%), compared with 38% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents. Similarly, conservatives (67%) are more inclined than either self-described moderates (40%) or liberals (31%) to view having an abortion as morally wrong.
Women are actually more likely to say abortion is morally wrong than men.
By comparison, men and women are about equally likely to say having an abortion is morally wrong. And those ages 50 and older tend to hold similar viewpoints about the moral acceptability of abortion as those ages 18 to 49.