By Hilary White

  LONDON, November 23, 2007 ( – The British media is reporting that a recent poll has shown a great majority of British Catholics are in favour of abortion remaining legal. The poll also showed a majority of respondents thought Catholic bishops spent “too much of their attention on abortion” to the neglect of “other issues” that require their attention.

  The poll of 1,983 adults in the UK found that 43 per cent of Catholics thought abortion should remain legal with 27 per cent disagreeing.

  But the poll by YouGov was commissioned by the US-based pro-abortion and anti-Catholic lobby group “Catholics for Choice” who intend to make a presentation based on the findings to Parliamentarians.

  The poll however, failed to ask respondents about any other indicators of adherence to Catholic teaching or practice. It has been noted that in most western countries, the self-identification as “Catholic” on a census form may frequently have little bearing on the beliefs or practices of the respondent.

  The poll asked respondents to self-identify their religious persuasion and included responses from those self-identifying as Protestants, Jews, Muslims, Hindus and other religious groups.

  No qualifying questions were included in the poll that indicated whether respondents regularly practiced their professed religion. The YouGov poll asked only to what degree respondents agreed with the statements “It should be legal for a woman to have an abortion when she has an unwanted pregnancy” and “Catholic Bishops concentrate too much of their attention on abortion when there are other issues that also require their attention”. Respondents were also asked whether they knew a woman who had had an abortion.

  Other polls have been careful to ascertain other indicators such as weekly Mass attendance and have given a more comprehensive picture. Most of these show dramatically different results when both practice and adherence to Catholic teaching are considered together.

  Two years ago, a poll of British young people showed that 75 per cent wanted a significant reduction of the gestational age limit for abortion. The earlier poll showed that eight out of ten British adults wanted to find ways to reduce the country’s nearly 200,000 annual abortions.

  More than six in ten (62 per cent) believe the 24-week abortion limit should be lowered ‘significantly’ given that more than 80 per cent of babies born at that age survive. Among the 18-24 age group support rose to 75. 89 per cent wanted the government to automatically review the abortion law to account for advances in medical knowledge.

  Abortion-promoting organisations such as Catholics for a Free Choice regularly run polls showing that a majority of those who self-identify as Catholic disagree with the Church’s teaching, particularly on sexual issues. Abortion, contraception, homosexuality, divorce, married priests, and female priests constitute the most commonly cited “issues” for lapsed Catholic dissenters using political lobbying techniques such as polls to attempt to convince the Church to change her ancient teachings.

  Read the poll:


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