Americans Say Abortion Immoral, Not Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 17, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Americans Say Abortion Immoral, Not Embryonic Stem Cell Research Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 17, 2005

Washington, DC ( — A new poll conducted by the Gallup Organization finds a majority of Americans saying abortion and human cloning are immoral. However, they do not ascribe the same immoral status to assisted suicide or embryonic stem cell research.

Over the last few years, Gallup has asked Americans to evaluate the morality of a number of politically contentious issues facing the country.

Some 51 percent of those who took part in the poll said abortion is "morally wrong" while just 40 percent believed it is "morally acceptable."

By a much wider margin, 87 percent of Americans believed human cloning is morally wrong, while a scant 9 percent thought it to be morally allowable.

Americans have mixed views on the issue of doctors aiding in the death of patients. Some 49 percent of Americans say assisted suicide is morally correct while 46 percent believe it morally wrong.

The public is growing more accepting of embryonic stem cell research, the Gallup poll contends. In the latest survey, 60 percent found morally okay "Medical research using stem cells obtained from human embryos." Only 33 percent thought such research is morally wrong.

The number of Americans saying the controversial research is okay is on the rise, with 52 percent backing it in 2002 and 54 percent in both 2003 and 2004. The percentage of respondents saying embryonic stem cell research is morally vapid has decreased from 39 percent in 2002, 38 percent in 2003 and 37 percent in 2004.

Other polls show different results.

A survey by International Communications Research released Monday found 60% favored funding only the research avenues that raise no moral problem, while 22% favored funding all stem cell research including the kind that involves destroying embryos.
The 2004 ICR poll found 61% to 23% favored moral stem cell research preferable to using human embryos.

Results in the current survey are based on telephone interviews with 1,005 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted May 2-5, 2005.