It is part of human nature to disagree about a lot of things. That is the reason why we are divided into groups or units. Those groups may be rooted on race, geographical location, political ideology, religion, beliefs, social status, and a whole lot more. A person may belong to more than one group and it is also possible for a group to correlate with other groups. In this essay, we will talk about how a person’s religion or religious beliefs and political stance influences their attitude towards abortion.

Abortion

Abortion proved to be a very divisive issue worldwide. In the United States, this divisiveness is reflected by the contradicting legislation in different states. Essentially, abortion is an issue about the reproductive rights and autonomy of women. Often, the issue of abortion is presented as a dichotomy between the woman and the unborn child. But, as we have seen over the years, the issue is not as simplistic as it is made to be.

In reality, the issue of abortion is deeply entangled with numerous factors that shape us as individuals, and which in turn, shape our society. Tradition passed on not only the cultural identity of a nation, but also the beliefs of our ancestors. Although our society has already gone through so many changes in the 21st century, factors such as religion or religious beliefs and political ideology continue to shape and reflect the values of an individual that prevail.

Other factors that further affect people’s perspectives and attitudes toward abortion, as well as many other morally ambiguous issues, should also be acknowledged. People should not in any way disregard the impact of other factors, like education, gender, race, and other life experiences, that influence one’s attitudes toward societal issues like abortion.

Since abortion is a widely discussed topic, even though it was once considered taboo, Pew Research Center conducted a survey regarding abortion. They found that more than half, 61% to be exact, of the American people agree that abortion should be legal in all or most cases. And most Americans also think that some states’ legislation is making it harder for women to get an abortion.

Part of that survey is determining if a person’s religion or political stance influences in anyway their opinion about women getting an abortion. The results revealed that most white evangelical Protestants and conservative Republicans agree that abortion should be illegal in all or most cases. On the contrary, religiously unaffiliated Americans and Liberal Democrats believe that abortion should be legal in all or most cases.

In addition, a higher percentage of adults under the age of 30 believe that abortion should be legal compared to those who are older than them. Also, most American college graduates lean towards the legalization of abortion as well. Gender plays no significance in considering whether abortion should legal or not, contrary to popular belief.

The results have shown that people who place higher importance on religion are less likely to support abortion. Data showing that people who place high importance on religion tend to affiliate with the Republican party, which also has a higher percentage of disapproval of abortion, proves that there is indeed a correlation between religious background, political party, and views on abortion. Why is that?

Religion

It may be because most people are exposed to religion from a very young age as it is something that most parents consider fundamental to teach their children. In fact, most parents raise their children based on the teachings of a particular religion. Religion does not only teach and talk about faith, it also tackles morality and the essence of being human.

As a result, many people’s perspectives are shaped by the religion they grew up in. Even if they go through a fundamental change in which they change religion or stop affiliating to a religion, remnants of their past religion will continue to be present in their psyche. Therefore, religion, or the absence of it, is a significant factor in morally controversial issues such as abortion.

A person’s religious background deeply influences the way they view the world. A religious person’s stance on topics, especially abortion, is heavily influenced by the principles of their religion and religious beliefs. Most religions strongly disapprove of abortion because they perceive it as a kind of murder of kin and therefore, is considered immoral.

Most religions agree that a fetus already has life, therefore has a spirit even though it is still in the womb. Most religious people consider the fetus a person right from the moment of conception. Abortion is thus considered one of the highest sins a human can commit. It follows then that a religious person is highly unlikely to support abortion.

On the other hand, people who are not religious are more likely to support abortion. Non-religious people are more likely to consider a woman’s reasons for getting an abortion, rather than question the morality of abortion. They are less likely to consider a fetus a whole person until it is born, so they tend to place importance on the woman who wants or needs the abortion and her reasons for it.

Political Ideology

A person’s political ideology, it is mostly the result of one’s beliefs. People generally choose which political party they will choose based on which best reflects and represents their already established beliefs. However, this doesn’t mean that political ideology cannot have an impact on one’s perspectives.

In many ways, political ideology and party, make one biased, and it persuades one to listen to tailor-fit and impartial sources of information. This is true especially in today’s political climate where news outlets are seemingly getting more partisan. The pieces of information being distributed are inevitably managed in order to fit the political ideology of the source, and naturally, of the receiver. 

A person’s religious views influences their take on morality and beliefs, therefore also affecting their choice of political party. This is possibly because political parties tend to align themselves to religious ideologies, too. In particular, the Republican Party’s ideology closely reflects that of Christianity or those of religiously inclined people.

Naturally, people who are religious would most likely affiliate with the Republican Party. Whereas people who are not affiliated with any religion are likely to affiliate with the Democratic Party which reflects secular or liberal views.

Conclusion

With this, it can be concluded that both religion or religious beliefs and political ideologies or parties have significant influence on whether a person believes that abortion should be legalized or not. People tend to stand on the moral grounds they were raised in. If a person grew up in a religious family, chances are that person was taught about the sanctity of life and the immorality of abortion.

All of this shows that a person’s religion and political inclination greatly affects how they perceive and react to certain issues including abortion. Abortion is a very sensitive topic to discuss yet every reform a country makes on abortion is groundbreaking. In conversations or debates, it is impossible for a person to not reference anything to further solidify their stance. A person may not be able to create much of an argument if one doesn’t have a belief to base on.

Religion and politics are two very concrete examples of something that influences how a person thinks, aside from tradition. It is both everlasting and both can make a solid mark in arguments.

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Reference

Pew Research Center. (2019, August 29). Public Opinion on Abortion. Pew Research Center. https://www.pewforum.org/fact-sheet/public-opinion-on-abortion/