Two-thirds of Americans who claim to be religious now support at least partial legalization of abortion. Nine months after the repeal of Roe v. Wade, opinion seems far from in tune with the justices of the Supreme Court.
America is definitely the country of all contrasts: the fight for life from conception to natural death, often at the heart of political debate, or the uninhibited affirmation of religious practice.
In this, the results of an opinion poll conducted between March and December 2022 and published on February 23, 2023, sound the alarm: we learn that two-thirds of American believers are in favor of the legalization of abortion. This is a shame given that the Supreme Court of the United States, in a historic judgment of June 2022, overturned Roe v. Wade, which decriminalized abortion.
Moreover, the survey – carried out by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) – reveals overwhelming opposition to a federal abortion ban: 23% of white Americans of evangelical faith are in favor of a federal prohibition of abortion, while 7% of white American Catholics share this opinion, and Hispanic Catholics 10%.
In two religious groups, attitudes have shifted in favor of legal abortion in the past year. Among Hispanic Catholics, support for legal abortion in all or most cases rose from 57% last March – before the Supreme Court decision – to 62% the following December: as if the ruling by America's highest court has raised support for abortion.
Similarly, support for legal abortion in all or most cases rose from 73% in March to 75% in December among Black American Protestants.
Even among Republicans – who for several decades have been generally less progressive than Democrats on the issue of abortion – the opinion that abortion should be illegal in all cases has declined, from 22% in September 2021 to 14% in December 2022.
Another lesson from the survey, and not the least important is that only a third of Americans say that their faith dictates their point of view on abortion. This is the case for most Christians with one exception: that of white evangelicals, 73% of whom say that they follow the precepts of their religion in their condemnation of abortion.