Poll Shows Most Americans and Most Catholics Think Having an Abortion is “Sinful”

National   |   Sarah Zagorski   |   Sep 3, 2015   |   5:04PM   |   Washington, DC

The latest Pew Research Center survey found that nearly six-in-ten Catholics believe having an abortion is a sin. In fact, 57 percent of Catholics believe having an abortion is a sin, while only 23 percent say it is not. Remarkably, the poll shows that most Americans agree that obtaining an abortion is wrong, with 48 percent saying it is and 22 percent reporting that it is not.

The Pew Research Center reports that Cultural Catholics and ex-Catholics are less likely to say it is a sin to have an abortion or use contraceptives than other Catholics; and it also reveals that Catholics are just about as likely as Protestants to say it is a sin (57% compared to 60%).

The poll defines “Cultural Catholics” as those who for “a variety of reasons, including, most commonly, that they were raised in the Catholic faith and – even though they no longer consider Catholicism to be their religion – they still think of themselves as indelibly Catholic by culture, ancestry, ethnicity or family tradition.”

Additionally, the poll found that Catholics under age 50 are more likely than older Catholics to say that having an abortion is sinful. In other words, younger Catholics believe abortion is wrong.

The information in the report was obtained through telephone interviews conducted May 5-June 7, 2015. In the survey, 5,122 adults (18 years of age or older) were interviewed and living in all fifty U.S. states and the District of Columbia. The interviewers who conducted the survey were under the supervision of Princeton Survey Research Associates International.

Here’s more from the report:

As is the case among the public as a whole, Catholic Republicans are much more inclined than Catholic Democrats to say abortion (66% vs. 48%) and homosexual behavior (51% vs. 34%) are sinful. There is little partisan division, however, in views toward contraception; about two-thirds of Catholic Republicans, Democrats and independents say using contraceptives is not a sin.

Catholics who attend Mass at least once a week are consistently more likely than those who attend Mass less often to agree with church teachings about the sinfulness of abortion, homosexuality and contraception. Nearly three-quarters of Catholics who attend Mass weekly (73%) say abortion is sinful, compared with 47% of those who attend less often. And about six-in-ten weekly Mass-attending Catholics say that engaging in homosexual behavior is sinful (59%), compared with 35% of Catholics who attend Mass less regularly.

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On the question of artificial means of contraception, however, even Catholics who regularly attend Mass disagree with church teaching. Nearly six-in-ten Catholics who attend Mass weekly (57%) say using contraceptives is not a sin, almost twice the share who say it is sinful (31%).

Thankfully, the majority of Catholics are against abortion and work diligently to defend unborn life. For example, in the past, the United States Council of Catholic Bishops has stood up against President Obama’s radical abortion agenda. In 2014, they wrote a letter to Congress urging them to shut down the government if they had to in order to address government funding of abortion in California.

ADF Senior Counsel Casey Mattox said that forcing Catholics to pay for abortion is an assault on freedom. He said, “Forcing a church to be party to elective abortion is one of the utmost-imaginable assaults on our most fundamental American freedoms. California is flagrantly violating the federal law that protects employers from being forced into having abortion in their health insurance plans. No state can blatantly ignore federal law and think that it should continue to receive taxpayer money.”

Additionally, in 2013, Pope Francis reiterated that they will never compromise on their opposition against abortion. He said, “I want to be completely honest in this regard. This is not something subject to alleged reforms or ‘modernizations’. It is not ‘progressive’ to try to resolve problems by eliminating a human life.”

Then, at meeting with Catholic bishops in South Africa, Pope Francis said, “Abortion compounds the grief of many women who now carry with them deep physical and spiritual wounds after succumbing to the pressures of a secular culture which devalues God’s gift of sexuality and the right to life of the unborn. The sacrament of reconciliation, in particular, must be rediscovered as a fundamental dimension of the life of grace.”