Catholic Doctors Differ From Other Physicians on Stem Cell Research

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 25, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Catholic Doctors Differ From Other Physicians on Stem Cell Research

Email this article
Printer friendly page

by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 25, 2005

Washington, DC ( — A new poll shows Catholic doctors hold similar views as physicians on a range of moral issues, but differ with most physicians on the subject of embryonic stem cell research. The survey found Catholic doctors are more likely to oppose the unproven research.

On the topic of stem cell research, Catholic doctors differ significantly from their peers.

While 49% of U.S. physicians supported the morality of embryonic stem research, only 27% of Catholic doctors approved of the research.

Close to half (46%) of Protestants (non-Baptist) and 22% of Baptists support the morality of embryonic stem cell research, while a clear majority of Jewish doctors (75%) support the practice.

Doctors from all religious groups supported the use of adult stem cells from sources such as cord blood and placental blood.

"For most of these controversial issues, physicians were in general agreement," Glenn Kessler, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of HCD Research said of the survey. "However, we see considerable differences of opinion on the issues relating to embryonic stem cell research … which may correlate directly with their religious beliefs."

Recent polls have shown that Catholics in general oppose embryonic stem cell research.

A May 2004 Zogby International poll of 1,388 Catholics in the U.S. found 53 percent of Catholic voters would be less likely to support a candidate who backs embryonic stem cell research. Only 23 percent said they would be more likely to back a candidate who favors such destructive research.

Churchgoing Catholics oppose such a candidate by 65 to 13 percent margin, while non-churchgoing Catholic voters are split (37-36) on whether they are less likely to vote for such a candidate.

The national survey of doctors was conducted by HCD Research and the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion (MCIPO) during April 21-23. The margin of error is plus or minus 3% with a confidence level of 95%.