Home Christian News Lifeway Research: Religious Faith, Church Attendance Aligns With More Pro-Life Views

Lifeway Research: Religious Faith, Church Attendance Aligns With More Pro-Life Views

Photo by Tessa Rampersad (via Unsplash)

Not all pro-life Americans are religious, but religious Americans are more likely to be pro-life.

Americans’ views on the morality of abortion remain mixed in the days leading up to a Supreme Court decision that could overturn Roe v. Wade, but a majority favor restrictions that go beyond those currently allowed, according to a new study from the Land Center for Cultural Engagement at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary conducted by Lifeway Research. In addition, those who self-identify with a religion, engage in religious practices like church attendance and hold evangelical beliefs are more likely to favor restrictions on abortion.

“This survey clearly demonstrates evangelical beliefs and practices, especially church attendance, translate into pro-life views,” said Adam W. Greenway, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. “This underscores the truth that the ultimate solution to this moral problem, like all moral problems, is spiritual transformation of the gospel of Jesus Christ among individuals that will eventually translate into societal changes.”

“Critical research is one part of the Land Center mission, and because of the long-standing commitment of Southern Baptists to the sanctity of human life, we focused on Americans’ abortion views as our first in-depth research project,” said Dan Darling, director of the Land Center. “This research provides information vital to equipping pastors and church leaders to understand this cultural moment and to shaping the moral consciences of God’s people. We expect to provide additional serious research on a variety of topics to help Christians engage our culture with gospel truth.”

Conducted days prior to the leak of a draft opinion by Justice Samuel Alito that indicated the Supreme Court planned to overturn the landmark decision that essentially legalized abortion throughout the United States, the study records Americans’ views on abortion, the beginning of life and what people want to happen in a potential post-Roe environment.

While increased church attendance correlates with pro-life perspectives, those who attend church say they don’t often hear about abortion on Sunday mornings. Two in 3 Americans who say they attend religious worship services a few times a year or more (66%) say they hear a teacher or clergy person mention the topic of abortion no more than once or twice a year, including 36% who say they never hear it spoken about. Few churchgoers, regardless of their perspective on abortion, want the church to talk about the issue less often. Overall, 46% say the topic is addressed the right amount, 38% want to hear about it more and 16% want less.

Americans’ Abortion Views

Around 3 in 10 Americans hold generally pro-life views on abortion: 12% say abortion shouldn’t be legal in any situation, and 17% say it shouldn’t be legal in most situations. Another 21% say there are a variety of situations where it should be legal and illegal. More than 2 in 5 are generally pro-abortion rights, with 22% saying abortion should be legal in most situations and 24% saying it should be legal in any situation.

Pro-life views are more common than pro-abortion rights among Protestants (41% vs. 31%). Catholics (32% vs. 43%) and people from other faiths (31% to 47%) lean pro-abortion rights. The non-religious are overwhelmingly pro-abortion rights (11% pro-life vs. 70% pro-abortion rights).

Those with evangelical beliefs are more pro-life than pro-abortion rights (64% vs. 15%), while those without evangelical beliefs are the opposite (22% vs. 53%).

American Christians who attend church weekly are more than twice as likely to be generally pro-life (53% vs. 19%). Those who attend two to four times a month (28% vs. 36%) and those who attend less frequently (30% vs. 46%) are more likely to be pro-abortion rights.

For half of Americans (51%), one of the strongest factors in the development of their views on abortion is their views on women’s rights and freedoms. For more than 2 in 5 (43%), their views on morality and right and wrong play a strong role. More than a third point to views on health and medical issues (37%) or views on children’s rights and quality of life (34%). Three in 10 say their religious faith is a leading factor in the development of their abortion views (29%). Fewer point to their views on social issues (25%), views on economic issues or poverty (23%), views and experiences as a parent (20%), personal experience with the issue (18%) or the views of political leaders and party they support (5%).

Specifically among the generally pro-life, personal religious faith (58%), views on morality (56%) and views on children’s rights and quality of life (46%) are dominant factors contributing to their perspectives on abortion. Around 1 in 6 pro-life Americans say their views on women’s rights (16%) is one of the strongest factors in how their views on abortion were developed.