Mormons 2nd Most Likely Religion to Oppose Abortion

Today is being celebrated and mourned as the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, which made abortion on demand a constitutional right.

Perhaps I have been reading too much of the bloggernacle, but I was surprised to see how strongly Mormons as a whole oppose abortion. According to a Pew Forum study, Mormons as a religion as are the second most likely to oppose abortion. The survey breaks down views on abortion by degree of support or opposition and by religion. Mormons as a whole, were second only to Jehovah’s Witnesses (?) to oppose abortion in most or all cases, even more so than Evangelicals

Abortion Views by Religious Affiliation

However, it’s worth noting that compared to other religions who generally oppose abortion, Mormons are dispproportinately less likely to believe it should be illegal in all cases and more likely to believe that abortion should be illegal only in most cases. That seems in line with what the Church counsels.

Some members have expressed that the the Church is essentially “pro-choice” because its allows some exceptions for abortion. But those exceptions are only in rare circumstances and even then abortion should not be considered lightly. That doesn’t seem to be in line with today’s “pro-choice” view that abortion should be unrestricted and even government funded .

Elder Russell M. Nelson reiterated the LDS Church’s strong opposition to abortion a few months ago in the Ensign:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has consistently opposed the practice of abortion. More than a century ago, the First Presidency wrote, “We again take this opportunity of warning the Latter-day Saints against those … practices of foeticide and infanticide.”

Early in his presidency President Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985) said: “We have repeatedly affirmed the position of the Church in unalterably opposing all abortions, except in two rare instances: When conception is the result of forcible rape and when competent medical counsel indicates that a mother’s health would otherwise be seriously jeopardized.” Current policy now includes two other exceptions—incest and if the baby cannot survive beyond birth, as determined by competent medical counsel. Even these exceptions do not justify abortion automatically. It “should be considered only after the persons responsible have consulted with their bishops and received divine confirmation through prayer.”

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8 comments

  1. Chris H.’s avatar

    Thanks for sharing these findings. While I am in the “legal in most cases category,” I did not realize that I was such a minority (though I realized that I was a minority).

    The argument that the church is essentially pro-choice has always led me to roll my eyes.

  2. David B’s avatar

    Given that “legal in most cases” and “illegal in most cases” are ill-defined (since my “most cases” may be different than yours), while “legal in all cases” and “illegal in all cases” are very clearly defined, i think that all that we can say here is that the positions of 17% of the Mormons polled are different than church policy.

    And yeah, the Jehovah’s Witnesses are pretty intense on the abortion issue–in some ways, the rhetoric surrounding it from them is more intense than what comes from the Roman Catholic leadership.

  3. NOYDMB’s avatar

    I think any statistician would agree that less than 1% definitely falls into the “least cases.” Only the truly moral relativist would disagree with that. The truth is that most abortions do not fall within those exceptions. Most abortions are truly elective, and unnecessary, and has the unintended consequence of removing accountability from both men and women to grow up.

  4. Chris H.’s avatar

    Most abortions are elective. Who is denying that? That it is elective does not particularly bother me.

    I am not sure what moral relativism has to do with statistics. I do hate both, but from there I am lost.

  5. David B’s avatar

    @NOYDMB: I’m not a statistician, but i use a lot of stats in my daily job, and i don’t get what you mean by less than 1% definitely falls into the “least cases.” I mean, two standard deviations from the mean still leaves us with 5%–but in any event “least cases” would, i would think, simply mean “not a plurality”.

    Of course, if you simply mean “least cases” as the inverse of “most cases”, then that might explain it–they’re not inverses.

  6. Jeremy Jensen’s avatar

    One point worth noting that the original post does not make is that the church does not take a stand on whether abortion should be illegal or not. It only takes a very strong stand on the immorality of elective abortion.

  7. ldslesson’s avatar

    The thing that is most interesting to me is that although the Catholic Church has been strongly opposed to abortion, the membership doesn’t seem to be following the Church’s stance. LDS people do seem to be mostly following what the leadership has established as the official doctrine.

  8. Chris H.’s avatar

    Jeremy makes a good point. However, Elder Nelson touches quite a bit on the legal and political aspect of the issue as well.

    ldslesson,

    I think that part of that is related to the fact that Catholics are a much larger group. I once heard an interview on NPR with a woman in Latin America who had just attended a huge stadium mass with the Pope. She was so excited and just loved the pope. When asked about what he said about birth control, she laughed and said “We do not worry about that stuff.” She made me laugh.

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