It is one of the GOP’s tried and untrue slanders, deployed every time a Republican President nominates an anti-abortion Catholic to the federal judiciary. The GOP and its amen corner claim Democrats are waging a “war on Catholics” and requiring a “religious test” for office. This week’s confirmation theater for Judge Amy Coney Barrett is no exception.
Of course, the bogus claim of Democratic anti-Catholic bigotry is laughably false. After all, there are not just more Catholic Democrats than Catholic Republicans in Congress; the party’s presidential nominee (Joe Biden), the Speaker of the House (Nancy Pelosi) and one of its most recent addition to the Supreme Court (Sonia Sotomayor) are all members of the faith. In addition, the Obama-Biden ticket won the Catholic vote in both 2008 and 2012. Oh, and one other thing. Polls consistently show that a majority of America’s 70 million Catholics are in fact pro-choice.
As the Catholic News Agency reported in February:
According to a RealClear Opinion Research poll sponsored by EWTN and published on Monday, 47% of Catholics in the U.S. believe abortion is “intrinsically evil,” while a 53% hold otherwise.
A majority — 51%– say that abortion should be legal in all or most cases, with 31% saying it should be legal except for late-term cases and 20% saying it should always be legal.
Those findings from the Real Clear/EWTN poll echo the results of a Pew Research Center survey in 2019. Overall, 61 percent of Americans responded that abortion should be legal in all or most cases. At 56%, Catholics were little different than the country as a whole (see chart at top). White evangelicals were alone in their consistent opposition to women’s reproductive rights:
About three-quarters of white evangelical Protestants (77%) think abortion should be illegal in all or most cases.
By contrast, 83% of religiously unaffiliated Americans say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, as do nearly two-thirds of black Protestants (64%), six-in-ten white mainline Protestants (60%) and a slim majority of Catholics (56%).
In its 2018 and 2019 polling, Gallup found similar results.