January 15, 2009

Abortion Views by Religious Affiliation

Thursday, Jan. 22 marks the 36th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark abortion ruling, Roe v. Wade (1973). Abortion remains a divisive issue in the U.S., with a slim majority (53%) in favor of keeping it legal in all or most cases and four-in-ten in favor of making it illegal in all or most cases. However, the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, conducted in 2007 by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life, finds that most religious traditions in the U.S. come down firmly on one side or the other. Religious beliefs and practices also influence views on abortion; individuals exhibiting high levels of religious commitment are much more likely to oppose legalized abortion in all or most cases than those who are less-observant.

For an overview of the abortion debate in the U.S., public opinion trends, religious groups’ official positions on the issue and more, go to the Pew Forum’s abortion resource page »

abortion chart
Data on “Total U.S. Population” from October 2008 survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. All other data from the Pew Forum’s U.S. Religious Landscape Survey. For question wording, see the survey topline.1“Other Faiths” includes Unitarians and other liberal faiths, New Age groups and Native American religions.