Dramatic increase in Catholic acceptance of abortion, finds new survey13 September 2017 | by Carina Murphy
Conservative MP Jacob-Rees Mogg said in an interview recently that as a devout Catholic he opposed abortion
The number of Catholics who believe “the law should allow an abortion if a woman decides on her own she does not wish to have a child” rose to 61 per cent in 2016, a large increase from 39 per cent in 2012 and 33 per cent in 1985, according to the 2016 British Social Attitudes survey.
The percentage of Catholics stating pre-marital sex “is not at all wrong” doubled over the same time period from 38 per cent in 1985 to 76 per cent in 2016. The report found an even greater shift in Catholic attitudes towards same sex relationships. While only nine per cent said these were “not wrong at all” in 1985, by last year 62 per cent of Catholics agreed with this view.
Catholic views on abortion have been highlighted recently by Conservative MP and leading Brexit supporter Jacob-Rees Mogg, who said in an interview on 6 September that, as a devout Catholic, he opposed abortion, even in pregnancies occurring after rape or incest. “Life begins with conception” in line with Catholic teaching, he stated. The MP for North East Somerset was speaking on ITV’s breakfast television programme 'Good Morning Britain' when he angered critics by stating he was against abortion in any circumstances and also re-iterated his stance against gay marriage.
However Rees-Mogg did make the distinction between his personal views and the law, which he said he wouldn’t change because legislation (that is the Abortion Act 1967) was set before he was born and because public opinion was against him on the subject. He hit back at critics by defending his right to free speech, saying he wouldn’t expect to impose his moral views on anyone else.
The Social Attitudes Survey found that the highest percentage of people who agreed with its pro-abortion statement were those with no religion, at 78 per cent in 2016. The average across all categories questioned (Catholic, Church of England, Other Christian, Non Christian, No Religion) was 70 per cent agreement in 2016, compared to 49 per cent in 1985.
PICTURE: Catholic views on abortion have been highlighted recently by Conservative MP Jacob-Rees Mogg, pictured here in Portcullis House, London, who said in an interview on 6 September that, as a devout Catholic, he opposed abortion
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