What is considered morally acceptable around the world?

What is considered morally acceptable when it comes to various topics related to sex varies widely by country. A recent survey, “Global Views on Morality,” by the Pew Research Center asked adults in different countries to give their views on abortion, sex between unmarried adults and homosexuality.

When asked about abortion, the highest percentage of respondents in the United States said they considered it morally unacceptable, along with majorities in Egypt, Brazil and Indonesia and many in Russia and China. Most answering in Canada and France don’t consider it a moral issue and in Britain, it was a dead heat between those considering it not a moral issue and  morally acceptable. The only country among the 11 to find contraception morally unacceptable was Nigeria.

When asked about sex between unmarried adults, views were also contrasting. Large majorities in Egypt, Indonesia, Nigeria and China consider premarital sex unacceptable while those surveyed in the United States, Canada and Britain found it acceptable. Many respondents in France, Russia and Brazil did not consider it a moral issue at all. In Israel, it was close to a tie between acceptable and unacceptable.

The subject of homosexuality had large percentages considering it unacceptable in Egypt, Nigeria, Indonesia, Russia and China, and many concurring in Israel and the United States. In the U.S., those who don’t consider it a moral issue were a close second to those finding it unacceptable. Canada, Britain and France don’t consider it a moral issue and it is considered acceptable by most in Brazil.

Pam Tobey is the graphics editor of the Morning Mix Web team at The Washington Post and a member of the Presentation Desk’s Information Design graphics team.

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