Recommended

Current Page: U.S. | Thursday, November 14, 2019
Less than half of US evangelicals identify as 'pro-life,' new poll suggests

Only one quarter of evangelicals say abortion should be illegal in all cases

Less than half of US evangelicals identify as 'pro-life,' new poll suggests

Attendees watch on during the 2019 Evangelicals for Life conference at the McLean Bible Church in McLean, Virginia on Jan. 16, 2019. | PHOTO: ERLC

Only a quarter of evangelicals in the United States believe abortion should be illegal in all cases, according to a new poll showing that a majority of self-identified Christians in the U.S. identify as “pro-choice” and less than half of evangelicals identify as “pro-life.”

Save the Storks, a pro-life organization that partners with pregnancy centers to provide women with free ultrasounds, released a new survey this week that it sponsored through the research firm Magid. 

The survey is based on online interviews with 1,000 adults nationwide ages 18 to 69 conducted in May to gauge Americans’ opinions and attitudes on abortion.

“There’s a disconnect in our culture right now,” said OB-GYN Dr. Karysse Trandem, a spokesperson for Save the Storks. “The majority of Americans believe that life begins at or before the heartbeat, but the majority of evangelicals and Catholics identify as pro-choice.”

While the research breaks down data by religious demographics, it should be noted that religious classification for the survey was done by self-identification. This means that evangelical respondents were self-identified and not determined by belief qualification.

The data shows that 25 percent of all respondents identify themselves as “pro-life” — a political term used typically to identify someone who opposes abortion — while 40 percent identified as “pro-choice” — a term typically used to identify someone who supports abortion rights. 

Twenty-nine percent of respondents said they were “neither or a mix of both,” while 7 percent said they “don’t know.”

When broken down by religious background, 47 percent of self-identified evangelicals, 33 percent of mainline Protestants and 27 percent of Catholics identified themselves as “pro-life.” 

Meanwhile, 30 percent of evangelicals, 33 percent of Catholics and 26 percent of mainline Protestants said they were “neither or a mix of both.” 

Less than two out of 10 (18 percent) of evangelical respondents identified themselves as “pro-choice,” while 34 percent of Catholics and 36 percent of mainline Protestants said the same thing. 

As for respondents who identified themselves as “non-religious,” only 14 percent identified as “pro-life” and 53 percent identified as “pro-choice.”

Although the plurality of respondents that participated in the survey identified as “pro-choice,” only 27 percent said they think abortion should be legal in all cases, while 14 percent of all respondents said that abortion should be illegal in all cases. 

Thirty-four percent of pro-life respondents said they think abortion should be illegal in all cases, while 52 percent said it should illegal in most cases. Ten percent of pro-life respondents said abortion should be legal in most cases and 4 percent of pro-life respondents said abortion should be legal in all cases. 

Of the 40 percent of respondents who said they were pro-choice, 52 percent believe that abortion should be legal in all cases, while 36 percent said it should be legal in most cases. Seven percent of pro-choice respondents said abortion should be illegal in all cases and 5 percent said it should be illegal in most cases. 

For respondents who said they were “neither or a mix” of pro-choice and pro-life, 30 percent believe that abortion should be illegal in most cases while 51 percent believe that abortion should be legal in most cases. 

Only 25 percent of evangelicals believe that abortion should be illegal in all cases, while 33 percent of evangelicals said that abortion should be illegal in most cases. Fifteen percent of evangelicals believe that abortion should be legal in all cases and 27 percent of evangelicals believe it should be legal in most cases. 

By comparison, 16 percent of Catholics and 18 percent of mainline Protestants believe that abortion should be illegal in most cases. Thirty-one percent of mainline Protestants said they think abortion should be illegal in most cases, while 28 percent of Catholics said the same thing. 

Thirty-eight percent of Catholics said abortion should be legal in most cases, while 28 percent of mainline Protestants said the same thing. Nearly one-quarter (23 percent) of mainline Protestants said abortion should be legal in most cases, while 18 percent of Catholics said the same. 

Nearly one-quarter of respondents (23 percent) said that “yes,” they would consider abortion to be an option if they or their partners became pregnant. Meanwhile, 21 percent of respondents said “maybe” and 50 percent said “No.” 

Twenty-percent of pro-choice respondents said they would not personally consider abortion an option while 6 percent of pro-life respondents said they would consider abortion to be an option. 

Only 10 percent of evangelicals said that abortion would be an option for them personally, while 17 percent of Catholics and 15 percent of mainline Protestants said the same. Eleven percent of evangelicals said that abortion would “maybe” be an option while 72 percent of evangelicals surveyed said that abortion would not be an option. 

One quarter (25 percent) of Catholics said that abortion would “maybe” be an option, while 54 percent said it would not be. As for mainline Protestant respondents, 57 percent said abortion would not be an option for them while 22 percent said abortion would “maybe” be an option. 

The survey found that non-religious respondents (36 percent) were more than twice as likely than Christian respondents to say that abortion would be an option for them if they or their partners got pregnant. Still, the plurality of non-religious respondents (42 percent) says that abortion would not be an option for them personally. 

Forty-two percent of evangelicals say a fetus is considered a living being at the point of conception, while 31 percent of Catholics, 34 percent of mainline Protestants and 21 percent of non-religious respondents expressed the same belief. 

Thirty-eight percent of Catholics, 36 percent of evangelicals and 30 percent of mainline Protestants believe that a fetus is living at the time its heart beats. 

This indicates that majorities for evangelicals, Catholics and mainline respondents believe that a fetus is living when a heartbeat can be detected or earlier in gestation. 

Even among the non-religious respondents, 55 percent believe a fetus is living when the heartbeat can be detected or earlier. 

“We hope this research is the beginning of an honest dialogue among Christians,” Save the Storks President Paul Isaacs said in a statement. “We are going to have to work harder to equip the next generation of Christians to have a more life-affirming ethic on this issue.”

The survey comes after a Gallup poll earlier this year found that 58 percent of respondents oppose legislation that would ban abortion once a baby’s heartbeat can be detected. 

Over the past year, several states have enacted restrictions on abortion such as bills making abortion illegal once a heartbeat can be detected or as early as six weeks into gestation. Such bills have come under the scrutiny of abortion rights activists who claim such laws are too restrictive when it comes to women’s access to abortion. 

An Hill-Harris X survey of 1,000 respondents published earlier this year found that 55 percent of respondents say that bills banning abortion after six weeks of pregnancy are either “too lenient” or “just right.” That same survey found that only 45 percent believed that a 6-week abortion ban legislation is “too restrictive.” 

Follow Samuel Smith on Twitter: @IamSamSmith

or Facebook: SamuelSmithCP

Sponsored

Most Popular

More In U.S.