Polling Data Shows Catholics Strongly Pro-Life on Abortion Despite Gallup Analysis

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 31, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Polling Data Shows Catholics Strongly Pro-Life on Abortion Despite Gallup Analysis

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
March 31
, 2009

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The Gallup polling organization released a report yesterday that appears to downplay the pro-life teachings of the Catholic Church. The report, which has been bandied about the Internet over the last two days, says Catholics are no more pro-life on abortion than Americans as a whole.

"Despite the Roman Catholic Church’s official opposition to abortion and embryonic stem-cell research, a Gallup analysis finds almost no difference between rank-and-file American Catholics and American non-Catholics," Gallup claims.

It points to its own survey data from 2006-2008 showing only 40 percent of Americans, and Catholics in specific, say abortion is generally morally acceptable.

The report attempts to make it appear that Catholics are not strongly pro-life and do not support the pro-life views the Church holds dear. However, other polling data makes it clear Catholics strongly oppose abortion.

An October 2008 poll conducted by Marist College found 63 percent of Catholics say they oppose all abortions, all abortions except to save the mother’s life, or all abortions except to save the mother’s life or in cases of rape or incest.

That puts nearly two-thirds of Catholics favoring a pro-life position opposing about 98 percent of all abortions, according to Alan Guttmacher Institute information about when abortions are done.

Breaking down the polling data further, 72 percent of practicing Catholics take one of the three pro-life positions opposing all or almost all abortions as do 47 percent of non-practicing Catholics.

Looking at another poll, a September 2008 survey conducted by the National Scientific Survey Center found 78 percent of active Catholics saying abortion is morally wrong along with 66 percent of secular Catholics, who don’t attend church services as often.

That poll found 80 percent of active Catholics and 66 percent of secular Catholics saying “human life begins at the moment of conception."

In December 2006, a Le Moyne College and Zogby International survey found a majority of Catholics want abortion to be illegal.

When asked if “all abortions should be illegal” 50 percent of Catholic adults in the U.S. agreed while 49 percent disagreed. About 1 percent of respondents were undecided in the poll.

The poll would have found higher numbers opposing abortion if very rare exceptions were included.

And an April 2005 poll conducted by the Quinnipiac Polling Institute poll found that two-thirds of Catholics oppose abortion in all or most cases. Eighty percent of Catholics said the pope’s traditional stance on issues such as abortion should stay the same.

Gallup’s own survey from April 2005 showed a strong majority of Catholics believe the Catholic Church should retain its view against abortion.

Approximately 59 percent of those polled favor the church’s pro-life stance while just 37 percent of respondents opposed it. Catholics who attend church on a weekly basis were more likely to back the church’s pro-life position, by a 69 to 29 percent margin.

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