Journal of Medical Law and Ethics (JMLE)

A Mapping of the Positions of French Evangelicals, Catholics, and Atheists Regarding Induced Abortion

Cyrielle Moulin, María Teresa Muñoz Sastre, Paul Clay Sorum, Etienne Mullet

The impact of religious affiliation on French people’s position on abortion was examined using a fine-grained technique of realistic vignettes. Participants (43 Evangelicals, 48 Catholics and 45 atheists) were presented with a set of stories composed according to a three within-subject orthogonal design: (a) reason for abortion, (b) gestational age, and (c) person’s age. Through cluster analyses, five qualitatively different positions were found: (a) always acceptable, irrespective of circumstances, (b) strictly depends on reasons, (c) legalist, (d) depends on reasons and gestational age, and (e) always unacceptable. Two out of three Evangelical participants aligned with the National Evangelical Association’s position and denied that abortion can sometimes be an acceptable decision. Only one Catholic participant aligned with the position of the Holy See. The proportions of atheist and catholic participants sharing each of these five views were similar.

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