8 key findings about Catholics and abortion

As the Senate prepares to vote on Amy Coney Barrett’s appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court, public attention has focused on her Catholic faith and, in particular, her stance on abortion rights.

Some critics, citing Barrett’s past rulings on abortion, have questioned her views on Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision that established a woman’s right to abortion. Others have connected Barrett’s legal opinions to her embrace of Catholic teachings, which prohibit abortion. During Senate hearings last week, Barrett declined to give specific answers about her stance on Roe v. Wade, saying that she does not have “any agenda.” If she is confirmed, Barrett will be the sixth Catholic justice on the court.

In practice, Catholics’ views on abortion are not always aligned with the guidance of their church. Like U.S. adults overall, the majority of U.S. Catholics say abortion should be legal – at least in some cases – as do many Catholic legislators and other politicians. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, who often describes himself as a devout Catholic, has said women have a constitutional right to abortion and has vowed to uphold Roe v. Wade, although he has in the past backed curbs on abortion.

Pew Research Center has asked Catholic adults their views on abortion many times over the years, including in a 2019 survey that addressed Roe directly. Here is a compilation of key findings from these surveys. Go to: https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2020/10/20/8-key-findings-about-catholics-and-abortion/

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