While evangelical Millennials (ages 18-29) have strong opinions about the morality of sex outside marriage and what they would personally do if faced with an unexpected pregnancy, there is little consensus on what it will take to reduce the number of abortions in the United States, according to a new National Association of Evangelicals’ study.* 

Encouraging unmarried women to give the child up for adoption led the way with an average ranking of 3.06 on a ranking of 1 (most effective) to 7 (least effective). This reflects respondents’ perception of/belief about what would be most effective. Making adoption more affordable came in second place with an average ranking of 3.65.

While the distance between the most and least effective way to reduce abortions was not pronounced, access to contraceptives was named least effective with a ranking of 4.46. Yet 82 percent of evangelical Millennials indicated that couples who have sex outside of marriage should use contraceptives to prevent pregnancy, and 63 percent agreed that if more unmarried, sexually active Christians used contraceptives, it would reduce the number of abortions in the United States.

Answers about churches encouraging contraception were conflicted. When faced with the situation of a local Christian church taking the position: “The Bible teaches that sex outside of marriage is wrong. But if you are going to be sexually active outside of marriage, we encourage you to use contraceptives to prevent an unplanned pregnancy,” most evangelical Millennials (68 percent) say this would encourage more unmarried people to be sexually active. At the same time, the majority (70 percent) acknowledged that this could help reduce the number of abortions by reducing unexpected pregnancies.

Additional findings include:

  • Of the unmarried, sexually active evangelical Millennials, only half use contraception when sexually active. Another 17 percent usually do/did so, but 12 percent said they only sometimes used it, 6 percent rarely did, and 15 percent never did.
  • Evangelical Millennials named shame and fear of judgment as the top reason that young, unmarried Christian adults get abortions when they become pregnant. The perception that many unmarried Christians do not feel ready to raise a child ranked second.

These are among the key findings of “Sex and Unexpected Pregnancies: What Evangelical Millennials Think and Practice.” This is the fifth in a series of releases on the Sex and Unexpected Pregnancies study.

The report — including a FAQ section with comparisons to previous surveys of evangelicals on these issues — is available on the NAE’s website along with more information about the polling methodology and graphs of the study’s findings.

*Grey Matter Research conducted this national demographically representative online survey of 1,007 evangelical adults ages 18-29 in May 2012. Evangelicals were identified by Protestant church attendance of at least once a month, believing that they will go to heaven when they die because they have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior, and strongly agreeing that the Bible is the written word of God and is accurate in all that it teaches, that their personal commitment to Jesus Christ is still important to their lives today, that eternal salvation is possible only through Jesus Christ, and that they personally have a responsibility to tell others about their religious beliefs. The poll has an overall margin of error of ±2.9%. Figures may not add to 100% due to rounding.