Secular Americans support abortion rights almost unanimously

We proudly participate in NARAL Pro-Choice America's Blog for Choice Day 2012

97% of American Secular Census registrants want abortion to remain legal with minimal restrictions, according to a Census database snapshot taken on this 39th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling.

Of those who provided this information:

  • 43% selected "Abortion should be legal without any restrictions beyond those applied to any other medical procedure."
  • 54% selected "Abortion should be legal but with reasonable restrictions on gestational stage."
  • 02% selected "Abortion should be legal only in cases of rape, incest, or to save the woman's life."
  • 01% selected "Undecided / other."


Not a single registrant chose "Abortion should be legal only to save the woman's life" or "Abortion should be illegal."

Activism in the reproductive rights arena is inconsistent among secular identity groups. While some do adopt formally pro-choice positions, other organizations serving atheists, humanists, and other secularists tend to view abortion as a non-core and possibly divisive issue best left to individual members.

This latest snapshot of the American Secular Census registry, however, suggests that abortion is far less controversial among those with a secular worldview than in the overall U.S. population, whose support for abortion rights is reported by most surveys to be in the 37-54% range. It further suggests that opposition to legal abortion is largely based not on scientific or medical grounds, but rather on religious beliefs (and the intent to impose those beliefs legislatively, contrary to the U.S. Constitution).

NARAL Pro-Choice America, sponsor of today's Blog for Choice campaign, asked bloggers to address this question:

What will you do to help elect pro-choice candidates in 2012?

We hope all Secular Americans understand the significance of a Presidential campaign in which the incumbent, Barack Obama, is the only major party candidate with a pro-choice platform. Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, and Rick Santorum have all voiced support for reversal of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that asserted a woman's right to end an early pregnancy without legal restriction. Gingrich, Paul, and Santorum have pledged to nominate only conservative judges and to support a fetal personhood bill. The GOP clearly intends to criminalize abortion and many forms of birth control if given the opportunity, and they are counting on the votes of religious extremists to gain that power.

In this context, today's data snapshot suggests just one thing to the American Secular Census: that in the area of reproductive rights, the upcoming Presidential race is nothing less than a decision between a Constitutional republic and a theocracy. In the former, abortion remains legal and optional; those who object on religious or other grounds can simply choose otherwise for themselves. In the theocracy, the religious positions of those in power are imposed on all Americans, removing abortion as a legal option for every woman, regardless of her own beliefs.

So: our suggested strategy for electing pro-choice politicians?

Expose theocracy.

Use the word. Ask anti-choice candidates questions that reveal the difference between a medical, scientific view of reproduction and a religious one. Make candidates explain to you (and everyone listening) why their religious beliefs should be enforced by government. Ask how they can interpret such an arrangement as anything but theocracy. Record or write down their answers. Publish them on your blog, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Volunteer for, and donate to, candidates in favor of continued legal access to abortion and birth control.

Happy Blog for Choice Day 2012 from the American Secular Census.

In keeping with our culture of privacy, the above information was calculated from values queried directly from database tables which do not contain visible identifying information such as name, username, or e-mail address. It must be noted that the size of the Census registry needs to be increased before analysis of this type can be considered authoritative. At present, we are publishing periodic snapshots of data collected since our launch on Nov. 7, 2011.

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