What do the numbers tell us?
Live Action shares this interesting chart, showing the percentage of unplanned pregnancies ending in abortion by the mother’s religious affiliation:What do these figures tell us?
Unplanned children of evangelicals have the best odds of survival, and evangelicals certainly have a reputation for being pro-life. But 32% is still much too high. I was surprised to see no difference between Catholics, who have a pro-life reputation, and mainstream Protestants, who are all over the map on the aboriton debate. It may be that most pro-choice Protestants are of the “but I would never have an abortion” variety.
Sadly, atheists top the list– but not by much. There’s only a 7% difference between atheists and Catholics. About half of atheists choose life when faced with an unplanned pregnancy.
The bottom line? People of “no religion” or “other religion” are those who are most in need of the pro-life message. Secular Pro-Life is there for them. Let’s continue to close that gap, and bring the numbers down to zero for all religious groups.
I think the problem with generalizing by religious affiliation is that there's no distinction made between the Christians who are actually practicing their faith, and those that were baptized as kids but haven't darkened the door of a church since they were teens (yet, for some reason, they still identify as that faith tradition).
For example, I bet if you could further survey all the women who identified as "Catholic" for the statistics above, the vast majority would be women who were baptized and/or confirmed into Catholicism as kids but don't live out or practice their faith (i.e., "cultural" Catholics as opposed to practicing Catholics).
JoAnna, that's an excellent point. I've encountered pro-choicers who snicker at all of the Catholics being "hypocrites" for getting abortions, but they're not considering the discrepency that you mentioned. I also think, however, that your point further buttresses Kelsey's argument about the urgency of reaching a secular audience. We need to reach more than atheists, pagans, agnostics, and those in the "other religion" category. We also need to direct our attention to that statistical "dark horse" of people who identify themselves as a particular faith but don't really practice it. Obviously, the person raised Catholic but no longer practicing Catholicism will be more compelled by secular arguments against abortion. In fact, the bottom line is that a secular framing will reach a much broader audience than the religious ones currently do. ~Gwendolyn Cameron
Exactly how do they get these figures? How do they verify that the patient is telling the truth? Are we really wanting to rely on the abortionist and his staff to not change someone's religion on the paperwork? There is that one abortion facility in Rockford, IL that has nuns hanging in effigy in it's windows and a chicken hanging on a crucifix. Do you really think, if given the opportunity, they wouldn't say someone is a Catholic just because they hate Catholics and think it is funny?
Nothing adds up when organizations publish these numbers. The CDC can't even get accurate numbers on age of woman or ethnic background. Not to mention that I highly doubt that all abortion clinics even ask that question considering it would get people thinking about their faith which may lead them to choose life.
Then there is the problem that JoAnn brought up. Plus we have to consider the people who will say they are an atheist when they are actually a religious person.
Considering about 70% of America identifies themselves as Christian and they say 1 out of every 4 women have had an abortion I would say it is safe to assume that the majority of people getting an abortion would say they are Christian.
I think it's probable that most of the people that affiliate themselves with a religion, yet consented to an abortion, are actually less likely to practice that religion.
I'm also willing to believe that, even among the nonreligious, the more likely a person believes there is no God, the more likely they will have an abortion. The reason why is that in my experience, atheists tend to be moral relativists and even those who don't identify themselves as such see abortion as a necessary procedure for the health of the woman and see a prenatal human as simply unwanted tissue.
Moral relativism is less of an objective way to live your life and more of a preference of a lifestyle, but since most of them believing killing born humans are not compatible with their lifestyle preferences, if we can convince them that killing prenatal humans is just as wrong and that abortion may not be safe to them as reported, then we may convince them to do the right thing.