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Attitudes to Abortion

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Abortion and Catholicism in Britain
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This chapter details the complex ways in which Catholic participants construct their attitudes to abortion. Although the Catholic Church has a strong doctrinal position against abortion, the statistical evidence shows that the majority of the Catholic laity do not appear to support this stance. While the priests interviewed did not support abortion, they still held a range of attitudes in terms of how they understood and responded to it. Parishioners meanwhile held a wider range of views, from some believing that abortion should be fully available and accessible to those who took an absolutist position. As we make clear, for many, it is the particular individual circumstances that is important to consider. Importantly, a central element to many of the discussions with parishioners was the extent to which they felt that it was appropriate for the Church to influence abortion policy in society more generally.

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  1. 1.

    We note that there is contestation over use of the possessive apostrophe within this term (see Wright, 2011), but we deploy the standard spelling within the UK context.


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Page, SJ., Lowe, P. (2024). Attitudes to Abortion. In: Abortion and Catholicism in Britain. Palgrave Studies in Lived Religion and Societal Challenges. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

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  • Print ISBN: 978-3-031-54691-4

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