Skip to main content
Toggle Banner
You can make an impact in the fight for reproductive freedom.

Catholics and Abortion

The truth about how Catholics feel about abortion.

It’s OK if you’re not sure how to feel about abortion. Because abortion can be tough to talk about, a lot of people think that there are only two sides: pro-choice or pro-life. But abortion — just like birth, miscarriage, trying to get pregnant, and parenthood — can be morally complicated.

The majority of U.S. Catholics support abortion rights, and we do so in good conscience — not in spite of our faith, but because of it. 

Anti-choice Catholics can be loud, but they are the minority in the church. Here are the facts:

  • 63% of US Catholics think abortion should be legal in all or most cases (PRRI 2023)
  • 70% of Gen Z Catholics think abortion should be legal in all or most cases (PRRI 2023)
  • Just 34% of Catholics say they trust the clergy’s opinion on abortion (Pew Nov. 2019)
  • Only 8% of Catholics support the church’s teaching that abortion should be banned in all cases (PRRI 2023)

We are a community of Catholics who believe that all people deserve the right to decide whether, when, and how to have children. We think that abortion should be legal because our faith calls us to care for the needs of our neighbors.
We don’t ignore church teachings. We didn’t choose to support abortion access just because we felt like it. We’ve considered church teachings, Scripture, the guidance of Catholic leaders and theologians, the experiences of fellow Catholics, and our own experiences with reproductive health. And we’ve realized that our faith calls us to support the right to choose.


I don’t think I’m pro-choice, but I don’t fully identify as pro-life either. What should I do? 
That’s OK! As Catholics for Choice, we support abortion access. We also engage and educate people of faith, particularly Catholics, who feel uncertain. Abortion can be a morally complex topic.
People shouldn’t need to force themselves into a binary. Instead of asking whether you are pro-choice or pro-life, let’s change the question. Do you believe that a woman is capable of making a moral decision about her life? If your answer is yes, then you believe in a basic pro-choice value.

I would never have an abortion. Does that make me pro-life? 
There’s a misconception that deciding to have a baby is a “pro-life” decision. Choosing to give birth is just that — a choice! Being “pro-choice” doesn’t mean that you think more people should have abortions. It means that you think people should be able to choose whether they want to make the life-changing commitment of having a child.

What does the Catholic church say about abortion? 
Catholic teachings on abortion have changed over time. Many past and present Catholic theologians have said abortion can be a moral choice. Others disagree.

In Catholic teaching, conscience — which is cultivated through prayer, education, reflection, and Scripture — has the final say on any moral decision we make.

“In all we say and do, [we are] obliged to follow faithfully what [we know] to be just and right.” — Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 1778

As Catholics, we believe that we must use all resources available to form our consciences so that we can make the best possible decisions for ourselves, especially in morally complex circumstances. This is particularly essential when making choices about sexual and reproductive health.

The history of the Church’s teachings on abortion and its teachings on moral decision-making are complex. In Catholic theology there is room to question and disagree with church teachings and support positions and policies that favor access to the full range of reproductive health options, including contraception and abortion. That’s why we are fully Catholic and fully support abortion justice.

What if I get pregnant or know someone who’s considering abortion? 
Statistically, 1 in 4 women in the U.S. will have an abortion in her lifetime. This means that one day, you or someone you love will need to make an important decision about pregnancy. When a friend shows you their positive pregnancy test in the school bathroom or you realize just how late your period is, you deserve to have all the information and resources you need to make the decision that’s right for you.