Roe at 40: Poll Shows Most Evangelicals Want It Overturned

RoevWadeToday, just days after thousands gathered to witness the festivities of Inauguration Day, thousands more are rallying on the National Mall for the sanctity of life. January 22 marked the 40th anniversary of the infamous Roe v Wade Supreme Court decision, which asserted a right to privacy in the Constitution that extended to abortion. Every year thereafter, masses of pro-life marchers have come to Washington to protest that ruling and to promote a culture that properly values human life. This year, the March for Life theme is the equation “40=55M.” In the four decades since Roe, 55 million prenatal babies have lost their lives to abortion. March for Life organizers note on their website, “Fifty-five million is nearly the population of California and New York combined. Clearly, abortion truly is the human rights abuse of today and our theme this year reflects this reality.”

With the approach of this solemn anniversary, the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life released the results of a national survey on opinions about Roe v Wade and the issue of abortion. While this poll indicated that only 29 percent of Americans want Roe overturned, it also showed a majority (54 percent) of “white evangelicals” do want Roe overturned. This was the only religious subset identified by Pew in which a majority of respondents want the repeal of this grave decision. Among those who attend religious services weekly or more, 50 percent want Roe overturned.

Sadly, Pew’s research also seems to note an age divide in awareness about Roe. A significant majority of respondents age 30 or older understood that Roe was about abortion, but only 44 percent of those ages 18-29 could correctly identify the basic issue of that ruling, which for them was likely part of the history books by the time they reached school. 

Notably, when asked about the morality of abortion, while only 47 percent of the total survey group said it was morally wrong, 73 percent of white evangelicals declared it to be so. In fact, majorities of all the identified religious subsets agreed it was morally wrong, except for white mainline Protestants (36 percent) and “Unaffiliated” (20 percent). Among those who stated opposition to the overturn of Roe v Wade, 29 percent of them said they believe abortion is morally wrong.

By Aaron Mercer
Vice President Government Relations

Published: January 25, 2013