As a complex matter of medical and sexual ethics, abortion has produced various opinions and positions within Australian churches. Some denominations and groups take a strict stance against it, advocating for the rights of the unborn. Others have conceded that abortion is ‘the least problematic solution’ in some circumstances. Still other denominations and churches choose to have no official position.
Church attenders were most likely to think abortion should only be permitted in extreme circumstances, with 44% thinking so. Those who thought abortion should never be permitted made up a smaller proportion (34%).
Denominations varied greatly in terms of people thinking abortion should never be permitted, from 8% of Uniting attenders to 50% of Pentecostals. Every denomination (other than Pentecostals) was more likely to think abortion should be permitted in extreme circumstances than never permitted.
Views about abortion varied by frequency of attending church and frequency of religious practice. A large majority (83%) of weekly (or more often) attenders thought that abortion should never be permitted or only permitted in extreme circumstances, versus 56% of less frequent attenders. Some 84% of attenders who practiced private devotions daily or most days held these views, compared with 60% who rarely or never did so.
Author/s: Hancock, N., Pepper, M. & Powell, R.
Hancock, N., Pepper, M. & Powell, R. (2014) Attitudes to abortion, NCLS Research Fact Sheet 14010. Adelaide: Mirrabooka Press.
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