Among Christians, White Mainline Protestants Least Likely to Believe Abortion Is Morally Wrong

About half of Americans believe abortion is morally wrong, according to a new study from Pew Research Center. Among the major combined race and religious demographic groups, white mainline Protestants were the least likely, and white evangelical Protestants were the most likely, to say that abortion is morally wrong.

In the full sample of the March 21-April 8 poll of 4,006 adult in the U.S., about half, 49 percent, said that abortion is morally wrong. Fifteen percent said abortion is morally acceptable and 23 percent answered that abortion is not a moral issue. (The margin of error is plus or minus 2.1 percentage points.)

The responses varied widely, though, among major religious groups. About three in four white evangelicals, 75 percent, said that abortion was morally wrong, followed by Hispanic Catholics, 64 percent, black Protestants, 58 percent, and white Catholics, 53 percent. White mainline protestants were the only religious group for which a minority, 38 percent, said that abortion is morally wrong. Among those with no religious affiliation, only one in four, 25 percent, said abortion is morally wrong.

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Among most of the groups, those who attend church services more often were more likely to say that abortion is morally wrong. About half, 50 percent, of white mainline Protestants who attend services weekly say abortion is morally wrong, compared to only one-third of those who attend less often and say the same, for instance.

The only group that did not display this pattern was Hispanic Catholics, whose views about the morality of abortion did not change much depending on how often they attend Mass.

Among other demographics, those who were least likely to say abortion is morally wrong included liberals (31 percent), Democrats (38 percent) and college graduates (39 percent). Those who were most likely to say abortion is morally wrong included conservatives (67 percent), Republicans (64 percent) and those with only a high school diploma or less (58 percent).

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