New Poll: Majority of Americans, Catholics Find Abortion "Morally Unacceptable"

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 16, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

New Poll: Majority of Americans, Catholics Find Abortion "Morally Unacceptable"

by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 16, 2003

Washington, DC ( — A new Washington Post-ABC News poll, timed to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the papacy of Pope John Paul II, finds a majority of Americans and Catholics believe abortion is "morally unacceptable."

Some 58 percent of all respondents said they thought "abortion, when the mother’s life is not in danger" was morally unacceptable. About 66 percent of Catholics agreed.

Only 39 percent of Americans and 30 percent of Catholics found abortion morally acceptable.

Father Frank Pavone, co-founder and national director of Priests for Life, told that "certainly among churchgoing Catholics, the pro-life conviction would be strong."

Pavone said the so-called "pro-choice" attitude "is the opposite of the attitude of worship."

Abortion advocates say, "My choice determines what’s right," Pavone explained while Catholic worship says, "I submit my choices to God."

David O’Steen, executive director of the National Right to Life committee agreed saying the results were "very encouraging."

"Other recent polls point to the same fact: Americans are rejecting abortion when they learn the truth about abortion," O’Steen told

Priests for Life commissioned a survey in 2000 by Wirthlin Worldwide of a comparable sample of Catholic priests.

A majority said abortion was the issue that deserved the most urgency and priority in their parish. Only 9% in the survey said they thought their people were unreceptive to hearing the pro-life message.

Some 77% in the Priests for Life poll said that the U.S. bishops deal with the abortion issue adequately, and 83% felt their own diocese was dealing with it adequately. About 73% said they believe the abortion issue should be an important element for Catholics to consider when choosing a candidate in an election.

Virtually all abortions are performed without the mother’s life being in direct jeopardy from the pregnancy, such as cases of ectopic pregnancy.

Pro-life groups say other medical procedures can sometimes be performed that do not end the life of the developing unborn child. In every situation, doctors should do everything possible to save the life of both mother and child.

The Washington Post-ABC News poll was based on telephone interviews with 1,000 randomly selected adults nationwide, and was conducted Oct. 9-13, 2003. It has a 3 percent margin of error.

Related web sites:
National Right to Life –
Priests for Life –