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Religion and Reproductive Genetics: Beyond Views of Embryonic Life?

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Publication Date: December 2007

Publisher(s): Society for the Scientific Study of Religion

Author(s): Kathy Hudson; John H. Evans

Funder(s): Pew Charitable Trusts; Genetics and Public Policy Center

Funder(s): Pew Charitable Trusts; Genetics and Public Policy Center

Topic: Culture and religion (Religion and religious groups)
Health (Medical research and technology)

Keywords: Embryos; Reproductive genetics; Religion

Type: Other

Coverage: United States


Advances in new reproductive genetic technologies have spawned a very polarized public and political debate. As with the abortion debate, most formal opposition to these technologies comes from religious organizations that are concerned about embryonic and fetal life. In this article we conduct an analysis of the first nationally representative opinion survey on religion and reproductive genetics. We find, as in the abortion debate, that evangelicals, fundamentalists, and traditionalist Catholics are more opposed than more liberal religious groups.

When we compare respondents with the same views on embryonic life, we find that differences remain in the level of approval for genetic technologies, suggesting that there is more to this debate than concern about embryos.

We also find that religious conservatives are more distinct from the religious nonattenders in their views of health objectives of reproductive genetic technologies and less distinct in their views of improvement objectives.

In Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, vol.46:4, 2007, p.565-581.