Abortion controversy: Pew Research Center spells out major religious groups' stand on issue

Protesters rally against abortion in central Warsaw. The placards read, 'Stop abortion.'Reuters

Abortion remains a highly controversial issue among many religious groups with some totally opposed to it, others in favour, and some others somewhere in-between.

According to the Pew Research Center, those who oppose abortion rights with few or no exceptions are the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Assemblies of God, Roman Catholic Church, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and Southern Baptist Convention. Among the non-Christian faiths, Hinduism is also against abortion.

Religious groups that support abortion rights with some limits are the Episcopal Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and United Methodist Church.

Those who support it with few or no limits are the Conservative Judaism, Presbyterian Church in the U.S., Reform Judaism, Unitarian Universalist and the United Church of Christ.

Groups with no position on abortion are National Baptist Convention, Islam, Buddhism, and Orthodox Judaism.

According to Pew, the United Methodist Church is one group that has no clear stance on abortion. At its convention last May, church delegates voted to repeal a 40-year-old resolution that supported the 1973 Roe vs Wade decision of the U.S. Supreme Court.

They also voted to approve another resolution to end the church's membership in a pro-abortion rights advocacy group, Pew added. However, the church's Book of Discipline provides that abortion should be legally available.

The Episcopal Church is opposed to statutory limits on abortion but it teaches that "it should be used only in extreme situations."

For the National Baptist Convention, each individual congregation is free to decide its stand on abortion.

Pew's 2014 Religious Landscape Study showed that 48 percent of U.S. Catholics say abortion should be legal in all or most cases despite the church's policy.

A total of 63 percent of Evangelical Protestants say abortion is illegal while 33 percent say it is legal.

Among members of the Jehovah's Witness, 75 percent say abortion is illegal while 18 percent said it is legal. In the Mormon Church, 70 percent say abortion is illegal while 27 percent say it is legal.