A distributing new survey of pastors and priests finds just 1 in 10 mainline Protestant pastors has preached on pro-life issues in the last six months. And few Protestant churches have any kind of formal pro-life ministry inside their church.
“Abortion is not just a problem outside the church. It’s a problem inside the church,” states the opening line of the newest Institute for Pro-Life Advancement (IPA) white paper, which documents a recent survey on how often pastors and priests discuss abortion in their churches and the pro-life programs available.
The new survey is a follow-up on a Gallup poll that found 52% of women having an abortion self-identify as a Christian. In 2015, Lifeway Research found the number to be closer to 70%. Lifeway also found that 76% of those active church-going women said that their church had no influence on their decision to abort.
The new survey , conducted by the Barna Group in early 2016, interviewed 513 Protestant pastors (30% Mainline Protestant pastors and 70% Non-Mainline Protestant) and 88 Catholic priests.
When asked how often they talked about abortion from the pulpit, 73% of Non-Mainline pastors and nearly all (91%) Catholic priests have talked about the pro-life cause from the pulpit in the past year. However, Mainline pastors rarely address the topic, with only 41% of Mainline Protestant pastors having talked about abortion in the last year.
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The survey also found that only 5.5% of Protestant pastors polled said there is a pro-life ministry in their church. Catholic Churches are much more likely to have their own pro-life activities or programs in their church than Protestant denominations, which corresponds directly to the activity level of church members in those pro-life activities as well.
For full polling results, see here.
“The key to making abortion unthinkable is changing the culture through conversion of hearts and minds,” said Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, the parent organization of the IPA. “If women seeking abortion aren’t educated on their resources available through their own faith communities and do not feel supported during an unintended pregnancy, there is an enormous amount of work that needs to be done in our churches across the country.”
“Often, being introduced to the pro-life position comes through one’s faith and if that introduction isn’t persuasive and nothing is ever said again in the place of worship about the tragedy of abortion, opportunities are missed to build a well-educated and passionate pro-life community,” said Hawkins. “The base of our movement is found in churches but if Christians aren’t hearing the pro-life message on a regular basis, they aren’t going to be able to get active saving lives, converting others to our movement, and, ultimately, changing the hearts and minds needed to transform our culture.”