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National Secular Society

Challenging Religious Privilege

Abortion, gay rights & assisted dying


  • 62% of people are in favour of supporting an adult woman's right to have an abortion. 20% are against. Ipsos MORI
  • Of those who identify with a religion, 9% support a ban on abortion. This is a similar figure to the percentage of the general population, amongst which 7 support a ban.
  • Whilst 30% of religious people would like to see the limit lowered; of the general population, 28 want to lower the current limit.

Catholic views on abortion

  • 11% of British Catholics agree with the Church that abortion is solely permitted as an indirect consequence of life-saving treatment. Source: ComRes/BBC survey
  • 44% of British Catholics think that abortion should be sanctioned in cases of rape, incest and severe disability in the child. Source: ComRes/BBC survey
  • 30% of British Catholics believe that abortion should always be allowed, while just 6% are opposed to it under all circumstances. Source: ComRes/BBC survey

Gay rights

  • 60% of people agree that homosexuals should have the same legal rights in all aspects of their lives as heterosexuals. Source: Ipsos MORI
  • 29% of people disapprove of sexual relations between two adults of the same sex; 46% do not. Source: Ipsos MORI
  • 23% of people believe that sex between a man and a woman is only acceptable within marriage. Source: Ipsos MORI

Assisted dying

59% of Christians support the legalisation of assisted suicide in the case of terminally ill adult patients where certain safeguards are in place, with 21% opposing it. Source:Ipsos MORI