1 in 6 American Churchgoers Say They’ve Had, Paid For or Encouraged an Abortion

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One out of every six regular churchgoers in America say they have had, paid for or encouraged an abortion, according to a new study from the Family Research Council’s Center for Biblical Worldview and pollster George Barna.

Among the more than 1,000 interviews, 16 percent of survey respondents said they “admitted to having ever paid for, encouraged, or chosen to have an abortion.”

The survey, which looked at beliefs about abortion in relation to the Bible, also found that sixty-five percent of respondents said the Bible does identify when human life begins. About 20 percent disagreed with the statement, and 14 percent said they didn’t know, The Chrisitan Post reports.

Of those who said the Bible does identify when human life begins, 52 percent of respondents said life starts when the female egg is fertilized, seven percent said life begins when the unborn baby reaches viability, and six percent said it begins six weeks into a pregnancy.

Some 35 percent of respondents said the Bible teaches that abortion is unacceptable under any circumstances. In comparison, 19 percent said they believed the Bible teaches that abortion is only OK when the mother’s life is in danger. Seven percent said the Bible allows abortions if the baby is believed to have a physical or mental disability, and six percent said abortion is allowed under all circumstances.

Ten percent said the Bible leaves the decision about abortion up to the mother and father.

David Closson, director of FRC’s Center for Biblical Worldview, wrote in an op-ed this week that the recent report shows an “ongoing need for instruction in a biblical worldview, particularly on abortion and the value of human life.”

“Christians might be surprised to learn that around 17 percent of female churchgoers have had an abortion, and 15 percent of male churchgoers have paid for or actively encouraged someone to get an abortion,” Closson wrote. “However, Family Research Council’s findings track with similar studies, including one by Lifeway Research in 2015 that showed 16 percent of all women who have had an abortion identified as evangelical Christian.”

“To put these percentages into perspective, consider the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), the nation’s largest Protestant denomination. In 2023, the total membership across 47,198 SBC churches was 13.2 million. If we were to apply the 16 percent figure from the FRC and Lifeway surveys, approximately 2.1 million Southern Baptists have, at some point, actively participated in an abortion,” he added. “In other words, we can conclude that millions of theologically conservative Christians have a personal history with abortion, even if they do not talk about it.”

The survey also revealed that:

  • 71 percent rely on their moral and religious beliefs to inform their position on abortion.
  • 11 percent said they rely on public preferences and opinions.
  • 44 percent said they’ve heard a sermon or teaching about abortion in the past year.
  • 31 percent of churchgoers said they wanted to hear more biblical beliefs about abortion in church.


Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Fizkes 

Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and She blogs at The Migraine Runner.

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