Mailvox: Christians and abortion

First, let me say that I don’t believe there is any excuse whatsoever for Christian women to get an abortion. But I also think it’s worth pointing out that the statistics do not show that Christian women are as likely to get abortions as other women.

Madam Defarge leaves off her knitting long enough to cite some statistics:

Women identifying themselves as Protestants obtain 37.4% of all abortions in the U.S.; Catholic women account for 31.3%, Jewish women account for 1.3%, and women with no religious affiliation obtain 23.7% of all abortions. 18% of all abortions are performed on women who identify themselves as “Born-again/Evangelical”.

The American Religious Identification Survey 2001 survey indicates that Protestants make up 52 percent of all Americans, Catholics 24.5 percent, Jews 1.3 percent and atheist/agnostic/no religion 14.1 percent. (The definition of Born Again/Evangelical in the two studies is either too different to reasonably compare or Evangelical women average around 50 abortions apiece. I’m going to assume the former.)

In other words, Protestant women commit 38 percent fewer abortions than the average, Catholic women commit 28 percent more, Jews precisely hit the average and atheist women commit 68 percent more abortions than the norm.

Another interesting aspect to the study is how it explodes the idea that Christians are more likely to get divorced. While it is true that 3 percent more Baptists – who along with Episcopals have the highest rate of Christian divorce – are divorced than atheists, only 34 percent of atheists are married in the first place. In other words, 26.4 percent of atheist marriages fail compared to 15.7 percent of Baptist marriages, even though a much lower percentage of atheists ever get married.