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Poll: Half say abortion morally wrong

WASHINGTON (BP)–A new Gallup poll reports the American public takes various stands on the moral acceptability of life issues.

The survey showed the following opinions:

— On abortion, 50 percent of Americans believe it is morally wrong, while 38 percent believe it is morally acceptable.

— Americans are evenly divided on physician-assisted suicide, with those who say it is morally acceptable and those who say it is morally wrong at 46 percent each.

— Regarding embryonic stem cell research, 59 percent believe it is morally acceptable and 32 percent believe it is morally wrong.

— On human cloning, only 9 percent say it is morally acceptable, while 88 percent say it is morally wrong.

The country’s major pro-life organizations oppose abortion, embryonic stem cell research, assisted suicide and human cloning, both for research and reproductive purposes. Embryonic stem cell research requires the destruction of human embryos.

The poll’s results — released May 26 — demonstrate “how important it is to frame issues properly,” said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.

“For example: Gallup asks if ‘cloning humans’ is morally acceptable or not. Framed that way, fully 88 percent of Americans say no,” Perkins wrote May 27. “The poll then asks if ‘medical research using stem cells obtained from human embryos’ is okay. Fifty-nine percent go along with this; only 32 percent oppose. What if Gallup were to ask the question this way: ‘Is it morally acceptable or not to kill embryonic human beings to obtain their stem cells?’ Wouldn’t this greatly change the poll’s response?”
Tom Strode is Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press.