Religion and Attitudes Towards Abortion and Euthanasia Among Young People in Poland and Norway

  • Pål Ketil BotvarEmail author
  • Claudia Sarti
  • Katarzyna Zielińska
  • Marcin K. Zwierżdżyński
Part of the Religion and Human Rights book series (REHU, volume 4)


This article compares attitudes towards abortion and euthanasia in two countries with different Christian traditions. Poland is a former communist country with a strong Catholic tradition. Norway is a highly secularized Scandinavian country with a dominating Lutheran Church. The two countries have different legal frameworks regarding abortion and euthanasia. We aim here to investigate the connection between religion and attitudes towards abortion and euthanasia. Our methodological approach is “most different systems design”. If one finds similar patterns in countries with different religious and political cultures, there is reason to believe that the findings will also apply to other countries. Though the two countries differ with respect to political and religious culture, we find interesting similarities between them. In both countries, religiosity has a negative impact on attitudes towards abortion and euthanasia; this means that the most religious people also have the most negative attitudes regarding these issues. Views regarding the role religion should perform in society are also strong predictors of attitudes. In both countries, those who think that church and religion should actively influence society have negative attitudes towards abortion and euthanasia while those who think church and religion should adapt to trends in society support both abortion and euthanasia as a right.


Human rights Abortion Euthanasia Protestant Catholic Role of religion Religiosity Poland Norway Youth 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pål Ketil Botvar
    • 1
    Email author
  • Claudia Sarti
    • 2
  • Katarzyna Zielińska
    • 3
  • Marcin K. Zwierżdżyński
    • 4
  1. 1.KIFO Institute for Church, Religion, and Worldview ResearchOsloNorway
  2. 2.Independent ResearcherNijmeganThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Jagiellonian UniversityKrakówPoland
  4. 4.AGH University of Science and TechnologyKrakówPoland

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