September 14, 2017

Moral acceptability of abortion varies widely among Protestant denominations, Gallup finds

The Mainline Protestant denominations are Episcopalians, Presbyterians Lutherans, and Methodists. As the graph included on this page show, Episcopalians are those likely to find abortion morally acceptable (57%), followed by Presbyterians (53%) with Lutherans and Methodists tied at 53%.

By contrast only 13% of Pentecostals find abortion morally acceptable, followed by Southern Baptists (17%), Non-Denominational (26%), and Other Baptist (27%).

Three quick points. First, according to a survey published by Gallup in July, there are fewer Protestants that identify with a specific denomination and a growing number of “nones” who don’t have a specific identity at all. The fastest growing Protestant “denomination” is the non-denomination.

Barely a quarter of them (26%) find abortion morally acceptable.

Second, as noted in the quote above, this same caution must be exercised when talking about “Catholics.” Their position on the moral acceptability of abortion will vary along many grounds, most specifically how often they attend church.

Third, Pew Research finds very, very different results. From January 2017.

More than four-in-ten Americans (44%) say having an abortion is morally wrong, while 19% think it is morally acceptable and 34% say it is not a moral issue. These views also differ by religious affiliation: About three-quarters of white evangelical Protestants (76%) say having an abortion is morally wrong, but just 23% of religiously unaffiliated people agree.

How can that be? Gallup asks something that is essentially abstract while Pew queries about what people feel when they are asked about having an abortion. This is a reality check and people are far less likely to say it is morally acceptable to actually abort a child.

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