Abortion Religious views

Contradictions in the Catholic position on abortion?

I ran across this quote on the BBC web page about Catholicism:

Research and publications from the Alan Guttmacher Institute in America illustrate some contradictions in the Catholic stance against abortion.

The evidence is as follows:

Catholic women in the United States are as likely as women in the general population to have an abortion, and 29% more likely than Protestant women.

Catholic countries, even where abortion is illegal, have high levels of abortions: in Brazil, the estimated number of abortions ranges from 1 million to 2 million per year and in Peru, 5% of women of childbearing age have abortions each year, compared to 3% in the United States.

64% of US Catholics disapprove of the statement that abortion is morally wrong in every case (Survey of 493 Catholics, designed by Lake Research and Tarrance Group, for US News & World Report, Sept. 1995, margin of error ± 4.5%.)

72% of Catholics in Australia say decisions about abortion should be left to individual women and their doctors. (Survey for Family Planning Australia and Children by Choice, Melbourne, AGB McNair, Aug. 1996.)

In other words, the evidence that there are contractions in the Catholic stance on abortion is that a lot of Catholics disagree with the teaching.  I fail to see how that is evidence of contradiction in the teaching unless the teaching includes a statement that most Catholics agree with the teaching.

It’s not. The teaching authority of the Church is not based on majority opinion.


Robert Gotcher is a dogmatic and moral theologian and long-time member of UFL who received his Ph.D. from Marquette University. He and his wife, Kathy, are raising their seven children in Franklin, Wisconsin.