What Are Some Common Moral Issues?

Attitudes toward moral issues change as time progresses, but in 2014 a poll found Americans were most concerned about extramarital affairs, cloning of humans, polygamy and suicide. The Gallup poll reveals growing, but still limited, acceptance of abortion and doctor-assisted suicide.

Americans largely accepted 11 of 19 behaviors considered moral issues that Gallup questioned people about in May 2014. Seventy percent of Americans questioned for the poll found cloning, polygamy, suicide and cheating on a spouse highly unacceptable. More than 60 percent of respondents accepted sex between unmarried adult heterosexuals, divorce, research on stem cells from human embryos, gambling and the death penalty.

There are differences between Republicans and Democrats on moral issues. For example, 72 percent of Democrats said having a baby outside of marriage is OK, but only 40 percent of Republicans agree. About 73 percent of Republicans support the death penalty, while only 52 percent of Democrats do. Fifty-nine percent of Democrats and just 28 percent of Republicans say abortion is morally acceptable.

Moral issues may be examined in the broader context of freedom and some basic rights: the right to the truth when making decisions, to privacy and to say and do as one wants as long as one doesn't hurt others, not to be injured, and to receive what parties agree to in contracts or other arrangements.