Atheists Support Abortion Rights More Than Any Other Group (Except One…)

When it comes to supporting abortion rights — specifically saying that in most or all cases, abortion should be legal — how do the different religions rank? (And let’s include atheists in the mix.)

I would hope we’re at the top of the list. I would suspect conservative Christian denominations would be near the bottom. But I don’t think I would have been able to predict the groups that end up on the extreme ends of this survey from the Pew Research Center.

87% of both atheists and agnostics believe abortion should be legal in most or all cases. But Unitarian Universalists take the crown with 90%.

And waaaaay at the bottom of the “how many people respect women’s rights?” chart, we have Jehovah’s Witnesses with a paltry 18%.


Interestingly enough, nearly half of Catholics (48%) support abortion rights, despite Church doctrine rejecting it entirely. These people remain in the faith, even though they don’t really believe everything the Church teachers. Call them hypocrites all you want. They are. But we can debate whether their membership in the Church will pressure leadership into eventually changing their public position on the issue, or if they’re just complicit in the Church’s anti-women policies.

It’s not just Catholics we could do this with. Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons have doctrinal positions against abortion, but 18% and 27% of believers, respectively, don’t give a damn about that.

Atheism, on the other hand, has no “doctrine” on abortion. So it’s not hypocritical for anti-choice atheists to exist, even if their arguments aren’t convincing. Those 11% of atheists and agnostics who oppose abortion use many of the same talking points as religious conservatives. Critical thinking can only go so far, I guess.

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