Arguments on abortion

September 22, 2010, 10:50 PM GMT+0

Despite the recent praise of the Pope in light of last weekend’s papal visit, our survey of British Catholics shows that most don’t see eye-to-eye with the Holy Father concerning his rigid stance on abortion and contraception.

Of British Catholics

  • 69% of British Catholics believe that generally speaking, a woman should have the right to an abortion
  • 66% think that a woman should have the right to an abortion in the first three months of pregnancy only
  • 89% think that artificial methods of contraception, such as the pill and condoms, should be made available to everyone

Of those who do not believe a woman to have the right to an abortion

  • 42% think a woman should be allowed to abort if the conception is the result of rape
  • 43% believe even in the case of rape abortion should not be permitted
  • 53% concede that a woman should be allowed to abort a baby if her health is at risk
  • 30% think that a woman should not have the right to an abortion even if her health is at risk
  • The Catholic Church on abortionThe Catholic Church has always proscribed abortion because it feels the act goes against natural law and God’s fifth commandment to protect human life. Controversially, this stance has remained static even when it comes to conception in the case of rape, or a pregnancy which may endanger the life of the pregnant woman.This view was reinforced by Pope Benedict XVI’s predecessor, John Paul II, who stated that the Church’s teaching on abortion ‘is unchanged and unchangeable’ because ‘it is the deliberate killing of an innocent human life’. Our poll, which saw 1,636 British Catholics polled between 31st August and 2nd September 2010, highlighted the still-debated question of when, or if, a foetus counts as an individual.As Laurence Janta-Lipinski, Political Researcher at YouGov, explains, 'These results suggest that many British Catholics disagree with the papal position on key issues such as abortion and contraception.'Survey details and full resultsBritish Catholics (total - 1,636 Catholic adults)British Catholics who don't believe in abortion