Pew’s poll also confirms that even when religious Americans are personally opposed to abortion, they don’t favor making the medical procedure unavailable to other women who may choose it for themselves. This attitude is reflected in Planned Parenthood’s recent branding, as the women’s health group suggests they may move away from the “pro-choice” and “pro-life” labels. “A majority of Americans believe abortion should remain safe and legal. Many just don’t use the words pro-choice,” the group’s latest video asserts.
It is a cliché — and a false one — that the community of faith has only one opinion about reproductive rights. Believers often feel compelled to offer compassion and support to individuals and families who are making the profound decision whether to continue a pregnancy, become a parent, plan for adoption, or seek an abortion. But just as people from different traditions (and even people inside the same tradition) hold varying views on these issues, so do their clergy.
For too long, the shouting of a few strident voices has closed off the space for nuanced and empathetic conversation. There is no monolithic religious opinion about contraception, abortion, or sex education. Decisions about reproduction are morally complex. And clergy do not always use Bible verses as political weapons — a misrepresentation too often promoted in the media. The wisdom found in our faith traditions is rich, nuanced, and rarely absolute. Here is the good news: Most people of faith in the United States support access to compassionate abortion care.