LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KARK) — The Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan group that tracks people’s opinions on social and political issues. Polling on abortion-related topics revealed religious affiliation can reveal a group’s opinion about abortion.
A religious landscape study charted data from 12 religions/belief systems. Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons and Evangelical Protestant Christians were among the most likely to think abortion should be illegal. Jews, Buddhists and non-religious people were among the most likely to think abortion should be legal.
Rabbi Barry Block leads Congregation B’Nai Israel in Little Rock. He said he was “devastated” when he learned about the leaked U.S. Supreme Court first-draft document that showed a majority of justices voted to overturn Roe v. Wade, which protects abortion at a federal level.
“Judaism, from the very beginning, does not consider killing a fetus to be murder,” Block said.
Pew Research showed around 83% of Jewish people in America think abortion should be legal in most cases. Block said this has been fundamental to the faith since before Roe v. Wade was even formulated.
“Judaism has always taught that the welfare of the person who’s pregnant always takes precedence over that of the fetus,” Block said.
Pastor Ryan Rose works for Evangel Temple in Fort Smith, an Assembly of God church. Rose, a Republican running for a state representative seat, said abortion has become a key issue in Arkansas.
“I believe God’s word tells us He knew us before we were born in the womb,” Rose said. “He’s numbered the hairs on our head. We’re all God’s children. So are the ones who’ve just not gotten to be born.”
Pew Research revealed around 63% of Evangelical Protestant Christians think abortion should be illegal in most cases. Rose said Arkansans’ thoughts can be summed up in a colloquial nickname.
“The term, ‘The Bible Belt,’ is used pretty prolifically,” Rose said.
Research indicated Catholics, Muslims and historically Black Protestants are relatively split on abortion. Block said there are many faith-based groups in Arkansas, and they may formulate different opinions.
“They have the same right we do to practice their religion,” Block said.
Outliers exist across the state, as some evangelical Christians support the legal right to abortions, while some Jews think abortion should be illegal.
Pew Research does not declare support for any political issue, according to its website.
“We conduct public opinion polling, demographic research, content analysis and other data-driven social science research,” said a website post. “We do not take policy positions.”