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UM Supported Pro-Abortion Organization Claims:
Most Protestant, Jewish Clergy Support Abortion


Most Protestant, Jewish Clergy Support Reproductive Choice, Survey Shows


May 21, 1998

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - Clergy members strongly favor reproductive choice, according to a new survey by a pro-choice interfaith group.

Responses from 420 clergy of many different denominations reflected a broad definition of reproductive choice - including sex education, access to reproductive health care and family planning services, access to safe and legal abortion, and availability of adoption services, said the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, a national pro-choice group of 42 mainline faith organizations.

In the survey, sent to 4,000 clergy of both conservative and liberal Christian and Jewish organizations,  92 percent of  the respondents agreed that every woman should be free to decide when to have children according to her own conscience and religious beliefs.

"The Religious Right has misled the American public into believing religious people oppose abortion, reproductive choice and sex education," said the Rev. Carlton W. Veazey, a Baptist clergyman and executive director of the coalition.

Eighty percent of the clergy agreed with a statement saying, "I support a woman's right to access to a safe and legal abortion."

The percentage was higher than average among Jewish and United Methodist respondents, with 88 percent favoring a woman's right to a safe and legal abortion. The rate was lower than average among Presbyterians, with 68 percent indicating agreement.

Of the United Methodist surveys returned, 85 percent expressed the belief that people can benefit from congregational dialogue about sex and reproductive choice, and 72 percent say the denomination should do more in sexuality education.

Rabbi Bonnie Margulis, the coalition's director of clergy programs and a doctoral candidate, did the survey of member and non-member clergy. No statistical margin of error was given.

The faith groups surveyed included American Baptist, Baptist, Episcopalian, Jewish (Reform and Conservative), Pentecostal, Presbyterian, Southern Baptist, Unitarian Universalist, United Church of Christ and United Pentecostal.


United Methodist News Service  (615)742-5470  Releases and photos also available at  http://umns.umc.org/


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