A recent study from Pew Research reveals men and women share similar views on abortion. According to the polling agency, the findings suggest that abortion is not a “women’s rights issue,” as pro-abortion activists often claim. Rather, men remain just as likely or unlikely to oppose abortion as women.
The study considered data from the United States as well as 33 European nations. Out of 34 countries surveyed, 27 did not display a gender gap in citizens’ support for abortion. Overall support for abortion did not affect the gap. For instance, 77% of German men think abortion “should be legal in all or most cases,” compared with 76% of German women. Meanwhile, 45% of both men and women favor legal abortion in Greece.
While men and women share similar views about abortion in most nations, in some countries–Moldova, Georgia, Romania, Norway, and Portugal–women oppose abortion in significantly greater numbers than men. For example, while 65% of Portuguese men favor legal infanticide, only 57% of Portuguese women favor the practice.
The study’s authors suggest that women remain more pro-life than men in those countries because of their comparatively higher rates of religious participation. “[A]ttitudes toward abortion may be tied more closely to religion than gender,” the study concludes.
In June, the Supreme Court ruled that California pregnancy centers which oppose abortion must no longer advertise the practice. The state of California had required all licensed pregnancy clinics to provide clients with information about low-cost abortion and contraception options—regardless of the clinics’ religious beliefs or stance on abortion.
Justice Clarence Thomas wrote the majority opinion for the Court, which decided the case—National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra—on a 5-4 vote. California may publicize government-sponsored abortion programs, stated Thomas, but the state “cannot co-opt the licensed facilities to deliver its message for it.”
Justice Anthony Kennedy’s concurring opinion emphasized pregnancy clinics’ First Amendment liberties: “Governments must not be allowed to force persons to express a message contrary to their deepest convictions. Freedom of speech secures freedom of thought and belief. [California’s law] imperils those liberties,” Kennedy wrote.
Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch also deemed California’s law unconstitutional. Meanwhile, Justice Stephen Breyer expressed the minority’s dissenting view from the bench.
Breyer argued that the Court should honor a previous 1992 decision in which it required Pennsylvania doctors to inform their patients about adoption services. Why should states not similarly require pregnancy centers to inform clients about abortion services? Breyer asked. “As the question suggests, there is no convincing reason to distinguish between information about adoption and information about abortion in this context,” he stated.
Perhaps the First Amendment itself provides the distinguishing test Breyer seeks. The government clearly compels pregnancy centers which oppose abortion on religious or moral grounds to violate their convictions via mandatory abortion advertisements. Physicians, however, likely do not oppose adoption for religious or moral reasons; thus, the state cannot possibly infringe on their “freedom of thought or belief” by compelling them to publicize information they already endorse.
Alliance Defending Freedom lawyer Michael Farris recognizes that freedom of speech and conscience constitute the proper basis for the Court’s decision. “No one should be forced by the government to express a message that violates their convictions, especially on deeply divisive subjects such as abortion,” Farris stated. “In this case the government used its power to force pro-life pregnancy centers to provide free advertising for abortion. The Supreme Court said that the government can’t do that, and that it must respect pro-life beliefs.”
Farris’ organization represented the pregnancy centers in the case. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals had previously ruled against the clinics in a unanimous verdict which upheld the entirety of California’s law. Thus, the Supreme Court’s decision represents a heartening turn of events both for pregnancy clinics in California and the national pro-life cause.
Muslim farmers are helping their Catholic neighbors rebuild a mud chapel that was destroyed by a monsoon in the village of Khalsabad, Pakistan earlier this year. The eight Christian families who live in the village had the option of praying at home or rebuilding the chapel; they chose the latter and asked the community for help.
Muslim farmers and businessmen have donated to fundraising efforts led by a village committee responsible for the project.
Dilawar Hussain, a Muslim shopkeeper, donated 10,000 rupees (95 dollars) after learning about the project. “A church is also a house of Allah; praying is what matters. We worship the same God,” Hussain said.
Construction on the chapel has begun and so far the boundary walls have been erected.
Fr. Aftab James Paul called the support from Muslim neighbors a “dialogue for life.”
Though Pakistan has made headlines for violence against Christians, this is not the first time that Muslims in the area have helped rebuild a Catholic place of worship. In 2005, Muslims helped with the construction of a church in Gojra Tehnsil.
Fr. Paul encourages the community to remember the support from their Muslim neighbors. “We have too many prejudices,” he said, “and let the actions of a few be blamed on all followers of Islam.”
Pope Francis encouraged interfaith dialogue during his visit to Turkey on Friday, November 28. A predominantly Muslim country, Turkey’s perception of the papacy was darkened when Francis’ predecessor called Islam “evil and inhuman.”
Francis not only worked to amend old animosities, but to strengthen relations between peaceful Christians and Muslims to present a united front against ISIS. The radical group currently encroaches across Turkey’s Southern borders with Iraq and Syria.
“Interreligious and intercultural dialogue can make an important contribution to attaining this lofty and urgent goal, so that there will be an end to all forms of fundamentalism and terrorism, which gravely demean the dignity of every man and woman and exploit religion,” the pope said in a televised speech from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s presidential palace.
“Fanaticism and fundamentalism, as well as irrational fears, which foster misunderstanding and discrimination, need to be countered by the solidarity of all believers,” he said.
The pope argued that military response will not be enough to stop ISIS and protect Christians and religious minorities currently in danger.
“In Syria and Iraq, particularly, terrorist violence shows no signs of abating,” the pope said. “In reaffirming that it is licit, while always respecting the international law, to stop an unjust aggressor, I wish to reiterate, moreover, that the problem cannot be resolved solely through a military response.”
Pope Francis called on the international community to address its “moral obligation” to assist Turkey in sheltering displaced refugees. An American-led coalition is currently fighting ISIS militants threatening the country’s borders.
President Erdogan hoped the pope’s visit would inspire new communications between Christians and Muslims.
“We sadly witness Muslims being associated with terror in the Western world, and in the Muslim world, we regret violent attitudes toward Christians,” Erdogan said.
Amidst last week’s progressive announcement that evolution and the Big Bang Theory are compatible with intelligent design, Pope Francis held firm in his conservative pro-life position.
Known as a reformer of traditional religious ideology, Francis previously challenged views on poverty, interfaith relations, and church formality. Nonetheless, he voiced his strong pro-life viewpoint last week.
The pope told the International Association of Penal Law that “all Christians and people of goodwill” should advocate for “the abolition of the death penalty be it legal or illegal, in all of its forms.”
This statement came days after Pope Francis declared that the theories of evolution and the Big Bang are not incompatible with Christianity. In fact, according to Francis, the scientific theory of evolution necessitates divine intervention.
“When we read about Creation in Genesis, we run the risk of imagining God was a magician, with a magic wand able to do everything. But that is not so,” Francis said at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.
“The beginning of the world is not the work of chaos that owes its origins to something else, but it derives directly from a supreme principle that creates out of love,” he said. “The Big Bang, that today is considered to be the origin of the world, does not contradict the creative intervention of God; on the contrary it requires it. Evolution in nature is not in contrast with the notion of divine creation.”
Francis’s comments build on the progressive views of his predecessors, Pope Pius XII and John Paul II.