A recent study by the Pew Research Center asked people whether they viewed abortion, stem cell research, and in vitro fertilization (IVF) as either morally wrong, not a moral issue, or morally acceptable. I’ve graphed a subset of the responses – the percentages of people who answered that a certain procedure was morally wrong – by educational attainment and political ideology.

The results are not particularly surprising; each group has a gradient with IVF having the fewest who are morally opposed and abortion having the most, while stem cell research rests somewhere in the middle. What I find most interesting is the distinction between embryonic and non-embryonic stem cell research. Among political ideologies, those who lean left (liberals) are the least likely to differentiate between the two; they actually are more likely to be morally opposed to non-embryonic research, but this difference is likely within the poll’s margin of error. Less educated individuals (high school or less) also do not distinguish between embryonic and non-embryonic stem cell research; if they are morally opposed to one, they are morally opposed to the other. On the other end of the spectrum, conservatives and those with at least a college degree are the most likely to differentiate. Both groups have higher percentages morally opposed to embryonic stem cell research compared to non-embryonic.

Data source: http://www.pewforum.org/2013/08/15/abortion-viewed-in-moral-terms/

Posted on 4 September, 2013

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