Friday, June 08, 2007

Americans Declare Abortion, Adultery, Polygamy, Cloning and Suicide Immoral -- but Not Much Else

From "Abortion, Affairs, Polygamy, Cloning, Suicide on List of Morally Wrong Behaviours" posted 6/5/07 at

A large majority of adults in the United States believe four specific behaviours are unprincipled, according to a poll by Gallup released by USA Today. 91 per cent of respondents believe married men and women having an affair is morally wrong, while 90 per cent feel the same way about polygamy.

Cloning humans is next on the list of perceived immoral behaviours with 86 per cent, followed by suicide with 78 per cent, cloning animals with 59 per cent, and abortion with 51 per cent (with 40% finding it acceptable).

Conversely, more than 60 per cent of respondents think the death penalty, divorce, "medical research using stem cells obtained from human embryos" and gambling are morally acceptable.

Pre-marital sex is thought to be acceptable by 59% and wrong by 38%. Having a baby outside of marriage is seen as wrong by 42% but acceptable by 54%.

Acceptability of doctor-assisted suicide was found at 49% with 44% believing it wrong. The study also found that Americans are nearly evenly split on acceptability of "homosexual relations" with a slight majority (49%) believing such relationships wrong and 47% suggesting the behaviour as acceptable.

The survey was conducted via telephone interviews with 1,003 American adults, from May 10 to May 13, 2007. The margin of error is 3 per cent.

Respondents were asked, "Next, I'm going to read you a list of issues. Regardless of whether or not you think it should be legal, for each one, please tell me whether you personally believe that in general it is morally acceptable or morally wrong."