‘Making Babies': Religion and Moral Diversity in Views on Abortion and Human Genetic Engineering
Laws, Terri; Emerson, Michael O.; Wadsworth, W. Duncan
This white paper using PALS data discusses how race, gender, and frequency of attendance at worship services can impact attitudes about the morality of abortion, the use of genetic engineering to guide child characteristics as well as the basis for moral views. The majority of whites and Hispanics say they base their moral views on their personal conscience. The majority of African Americans, however, say that they base their moral views on God’s law. Attitudes about the morality of abortion are influenced by frequency of religious worship. Respondents who said they attend worship services two or more times per month are most likely to believe that abortion ought to be restricted. Women were more likely than men to say that using human engineering to make a smarter baby is “always wrong.” This paper suggests that moral diversity and diverse moral messaging remain important aspects of American life. Furthermore, for some communities, religious messaging has a clear impact on their attitudes about the use of medical technologies. These influences are important to take into account in public policy debates such as accessibility to and funding for medical research.