Co-written with Ben Johnson.
July 25, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Half of all Catholics believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases, according to a poll commissioned by The Washington Post and ABC in the wake of the murder convictions of Philadelphia House of Horrors abortionist Kermit Gosnell.
Fifty percent of Catholics said they believed abortion should be legal in all or most circumstances, while 45 percent say it should be illegal in the same circumstances. That was only moderately more pro-life than the American public as a whole, which favored abortion 55-41.
However, the poll reported that white Catholics were somewhat less pro-life, with 55 percent favoring legalized abortion in most cases and 43 percent opposing it.
The finding confirm a previous Pew poll from February showing that Hispanic Catholics are more likely to oppose abortion than their white brethren.
LifeSiteNews.com contacted Priests for Life asking if this poll indicates a greater need for priests to speak up on the topic of abortion, but did not receive a response by press deadline.
Final results revealed a deep religious division that grows wider as the respondents grow less religious.
White mainline Protestants support abortion by a far greater margin, with 66 percent of them preferring few or no restrictions.
Two-thirds of evangelicals, on the other hand, oppose abortion in all or most cases.
The group most in favor of unrestricted abortion on demand are non-religious Americans, of whom 73 percent support legal abortion in all or most cases.
The poll also found recent bills that ban abortion after an unborn child can feel pain, roughly at 20 weeks, enjoy wide support.
While the 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe v Wade stipulated that abortion could not be restricted before the point of viability, at 24 weeks gestation, 56 percent of Americans say they would prefer abortions be restricted to the first 20 weeks of gestation.
The outpouring of support comes shortly after both the U.S. House of Representatives and the state of Texas have passed bills restricting abortion at 20 weeks. Governor Rick Perry signed the Lone Star State's fetal pain bill into law, while the national ban has yet to be introduced in the U.S. Senate.
The Washington Post-ABC poll's results are more noteworthy, as Democrats outnumbered Republicans in the poll by a wide margin; 31 percent of respondents identified with the Democratic Party, while only 21 percent said they were Republicans.