An extensive new U.S. study revealed that 54 percent of women who have abortions identify as Christians.
The Guttmacher Institute released a new report this week that examines the demographics of women who had abortions between 2008 and 2014 in the U.S. Among the more hopeful signs, the report found that fewer teens are having abortions than in past decades. However, the data also indicated that racial minorities continue to be targeted by the abortion industry.
The report also looked at women’s religious affiliations. Though the number of women who identify as Christians is high, it is lower than past decades, according to the report.
According to the research:
The majority of abortion patients indicated a religious affiliation: Seventeen percent identified as mainline Protestant, 13% as evangelical Protestant and 24% as Roman Catholic, while 8% identified with some other religion. Thirty-eight percent of patients did not identify with any religion. The proportion of women who identified as mainline Protestant declined by 24% since 2008, whereas the proportion with no affiliation increased by 38%. The proportion identifying as Catholic decreased by 15% from the earlier survey, though this change was only marginally significant.
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The abortion index for Catholic women showed that their relative abortion rate was nearly the same as that for all women (1.1). Mainline Protestants were slightly underrepresented among abortion patients (0.8), while evangelical Protestants had an abortion rate that was half of the national average. Patients with no affiliation were overrepresented among abortion patients, having a relative abortion rate of 1.8. The abortion index had declined slightly for mainline Protestants, and had increased slightly for those with no affiliation.
Past research has found similar results. A 2015 report from LifeWay research found that more than 4 in 10 women who had abortions were churchgoers when they ended their unborn child’s life, LifeNews reported.
Among women who have had an abortion, according to the study:
- Two-thirds (65 percent) say church members judge single women who are pregnant.
- A majority (54 percent) thinks churches oversimplify decisions about pregnancy options.
- Fewer than half (41 percent) believe churches are prepared to help with decisions about unwanted pregnancies.
- Only 3 in 10 think churches give accurate advice about pregnancy options.
A strong majority of the post-abortive women who were surveyed identified as Christians, with 43 percent saying they had attended church monthly or even more often at the time of their abortion, according to the study. The LifeWay study did not indicate when these women had abortions.
Scott McConnell, vice president of LifeWay Research, previously told the Baptist Press that the data shows a huge opportunity for churches to reach out to pregnant and post-abortive women.
“Women are perceiving judgment from the church, and that’s probably partly because there are clear teachings in the Bible including about how and why we make judgments,” McConnell said. “However, if they don’t start experiencing something different than what they’ve seen in the past, these numbers aren’t going to change.”
The Guttmacher data indicates that a change may be occurring. Fewer Christian women and teens are having abortions, likely a result of an expanding emphasis on compassionate, caring pro-life outreach. Christian-based programs like 40 Days for Life and the thousands of pregnancy resource centers across the U.S. are reaching more women every year with resources, encouragement and hope for themselves and their unborn babies.
Roland C. Warren, president and CEO of Care Net, one of the largest pregnancy resource networks in North America, previously said he is hopeful that Christians are reaching more unborn babies and their moms.
“While much work needs to be done to equip the church to help women and men with their pregnancy decisions, there are positive signs that many churches will be receptive to efforts to implement programming that addresses this need,” Warren said.