Christianity and abortion

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Christians at the 2009 March for Life (Washington, D.C. in 2009)
An abortion-rights campaigner in Spain voicing disagreement with the Catholic view on abortion during the Pope's visit.

Christianity and abortion have a long and complex history, and there are a variety of positions taken by contemporary Christian denominations on the topic.

Quotes[edit]

  • Men should learn to love their children. We find this to be a normal sentiment among crows, who forma constant escort to their offspring in flight. Solicitous, too, lest perchance they may become weak because of their tender age, they strive to supply them with food. They continue to perform this function for a long time. On the other hand, the females of our species quickly give up nursing even those they love or, if they belong to the wealthier class, disdain the act of nursing. Those who are very poor expose their infants and refuse to lay claim to them when they are discovered. Even the wealthy, in order that their inheritance may not be divided among several, deny in the very womb their own progeny. By the use of parricidal mixtures they snuff out the fruit of their wombs in the genital organs themselves. In this way life is taken away before it is given.
  • Recognizing the different views on abortion among its members, the American Baptist Churches’ General Board encourages women and couples considering the procedure “to seek spiritual counsel as they prayerfully and conscientiously consider their decision.” Though the board opposes abortion “as a primary means of birth control,” it does not condemn abortion out-right.
  • As American Baptists, members of a covenant community of believers in Jesus Christ, we acknowledge life as a sacred and gracious gift of God. We affirm that God is the Creator of all life, that human beings are created in the image of God, and Christ is Lord of life. Recognizing this gift of life, we find ourselves struggling with the painful and difficult issue of abortion. Genuine diversity of opinion threatens the unity of our fellowship, but the nature of the covenant demands mutual love and respect. Together, we must seek the mind of Christ.
  • We grieve with all who struggle with the difficult circumstances that lead them to consider abortion. Recognizing that each person is ultimately responsible to God, we encourage men and women in these circumstances to seek spiritual counsel as they prayerfully and conscientiously consider their decision.
    We condemn violence and harassment directed against abortion clinics, their staff and clients, as well as sanctions and discrimination against medical professionals whose consciences prevent them from being involved in abortions.
  • We acknowledge the diversity of deeply held convictions within our fellowship even as we seek to interpret the Scriptures under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Many American Baptists believe that, biblically, human life begins at conception, that abortion is immoral and a destruction of a human being created in God's image (Job 31:15; Psalm 139:13-16; Jeremiah 1:5; Luke 1:44; Proverbs 31:8-9; Galatians 1:15). Many others believe that while abortion is a regrettable reality, it can be a morally acceptable action and they choose to act on the biblical principles of compassion and justice (John 8:1-11; Exodus 21:22-25; Matthew 7:1-5; James 2:2-13) and freedom of will (John 16:13; Roman 14:4-5, 10-13). Many gradations of opinion between these basic positions have been expressed within our fellowship.
  • Regarding women who become prostitutes and kill their babies, and who make it their business to concoct abortives, the former rule barred them for life from communion, and they are left without recourse. But, having found a more philanthropic alternative, we have fixed the penalty at ten years, in accordance with the fixed degrees.
  • Abortion is nothing new. It was a frequent practice 2,500 years ago when Hippocrates lived in Athens and 2,000 years ago when St. Paul traveled the Roman Empire. There were millions of abortions long before the infamous Roe v. Wade decision of the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court.
    As evangelical Christians who take the Bible seriously and believe in the sanctity of all human life created in the image of God, abortion is about life more than about politics. If Roe v. Wade were decided differently in 1973 or reversed in 2012, we would still work and pray to reduce the number of abortions in America and around the world. We are pro-life because of God and life, not because of politics or court decisions.
  • God, and not man, is the creator of human life. The unjustified taking of life is sinful. Therefore, all members and clergy are called to promote and respect the sanctity of every human life from conception to natural death.
    • Anglican Church of North America (2009), Constitution and Canons Archived January 3, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, Title II Canon 8 p.12.
  • That this Synod notes with concern the growing acceptance of abortion on demand and calls upon the Federal and State legislatures to uphold the rights of the unborn child, provide and support adequate programs of human relations education, pregnancy support and care of single parent families.
    • Bishop of Willochra, Anglican Church of Australia, 25-8-89; Archived August 31, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  • Other men and women shall stand above them, naked; and their children stand over against them in a place of delight, and sigh and cry unto God because of their parents, saying: These are they that have despised and cursed and transgressed thy commandments and delivered us unto death: they have cursed the angel that formed us, and have hanged us up, and withheld from us (or, begrudged us) the light which thou hast given unto all creatures. And the milk of their mothers flowing from their breasts shall congeal, and from it shall come beasts devouring flesh, which shall come forth and turn and torment them for ever with their husbands, because they forsook the commandments of God and slew their children. As for their children, they shall be delivered unto the angel Temlakos (i.e. a care-taking angel: see above, in the Fragments). And they that slew them shall be tormented eternally, for God willeth it so.
  • And hard by that place I saw another strait place wherein the discharge and the stench of them that were in torment ran down, and there was as it were a lake there. And there sat women up to their necks in that liquor, and over against them many children which were born out of due time sat crying: and from them went forth rays of fire and smote the women in the eyes: and these were they that conceived out of wedlock (?) and caused abortion.
    • ”The Apocalypse of Peter”, circa 135 CE, 26; from From "The Apocryphal New Testament", (translation by M, R. James), Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1924
  • “Thou shalt not slay the child by causing abortion, nor kill that which is begotten, for ‘everything that is shaped, and has received a soul from God, if it be slain, shall be avenged, as being unjustly destroyed.”
  • Those women who use drugs to bring about an abortion commit murder and will have to give an account to God for their abortion.
    • Athenagoras of Athens, letter to Marcus Aurelius in 177, Legatio pro Christianis ("Supplication for the Christians"), page 35; as quoted in Donovan, Colin B, [www.ewtn.com/expert/answers/abortio2.htm "Abortion - Exocommunication"], “Early Teachings of the Church”, Eternal Word Television Network, Retrieved 2007-06-24.
  • [B]ecause the great question about the soul is not to be hastily decided by unargued and rash judgment, the law does not provide that the act pertains to homicide, for there cannot yet be said to be a live soul in a body that lacks sensation when it is not formed in flesh and so not yet endowed with sense.
  • Sometimes this lustful cruelty or cruel lust goes so far as to seek to procure a baneful sterility, and if this fails the fetus conceived in the womb is in one way or another smothered or evacuated, in the desire to destroy the offspring before it has life, or if it already lives in the womb, to kill it before it is born. If both man and woman are party to such practices they are not spouses at all; and if from the first they have carried on thus they have come together not for honest wedlock, but for impure gratification; if both are not party to these deeds, I make bold to say that either the one makes herself a mistress of the husband, or the other simply the paramour of his wife.
    • St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo (354-430), De Nuptius et Concupiscus ("On Marriage and Concupiscence"), 1.17; as quoted in Donovan, Colin B, [www.ewtn.com/expert/answers/abortio2.htm "Abortion - Exocommunication"], “Early Teachings of the Church”, Eternal Word Television Network, Retrieved 2007-06-24.
  • Sometimes [Aliquando] this lustful cruelty or cruel lust comes to this that they even procure poisons of sterility, and if these do not work, they extinguish and destroy the fetus in some way in the womb, preferring that their offspring die before it lives, or if it was already alive in the womb, to kill it before it was born. Assuredly if both husband and wife are like this, they are not married, and if they were like this from the beginning, they come together not joined in matrimony but seduction. If both are not like this, I dare to say that either the wife is in a fashion the harlot of her husband, or he is an adulterer with his own wife.
  • Today, evangelicals make up the backbone of the pro-life movement, but it hasn’t always been so. Both before and for several years after Roe, evangelicals were overwhelmingly indiffer-ent to the subject, which they considered a “Catholic issue.” In 1968, for instance, a symposium sponsored by the Christian Medical Society and Christianity Today, the flagship magazine of evangelicalism, refused to characterize abortion as sinful, citing “individual health, family wel-fare, and social responsibility” as justifications for ending a pregnancy. In 1971, delegates to the Southern Baptist Convention in St. Louis, Missouri, passed a resolution encouraging “Southern Baptists to work for legislation that will allow the possibility of abortion under such conditions as rape, incest, clear evidence of severe fetal deformity, and carefully ascertained evidence of the likelihood of damage to the emotional, mental, and physical health of the mother.” The conven-tion, hardly a redoubt of liberal values, reaffirmed that position in 1974, one year after Roe, and again in 1976.
  • Thou shalt not destroy thy conceptions, before they are brought forth; nor kill them after they are born.
  • You shall love your neighbor more than your own life. You shall not slay the child by abortion.
    • Barnabas (c. 70-138), Epistle, Volume II, page 19; as quoted in Donovan, Colin B, [www.ewtn.com/expert/answers/abortio2.htm "Abortion - Exocommunication"], “Early Teachings of the Church”, Eternal Word Television Network, Retrieved 2007-06-24.
  • Until the end of the 16th Century with the reign of Pope Sixtus V, the Church did, indeed, permit the termination of pregnancies within 40 days of conception for a male and 80 days for a female the old Aristotelian concept ... But I believe that a case can be made and many intelligent Catholics have agreed with me that the church's attitudes towards abortion have varied in past history, are not always consistent and can, like other elements of Catholic dogma, be changed to meet man's increased enlightenment and changing social conditions.
    • Ruth Barnett. They Weep On My Doorstep. Beaverton, Oregon: Halo Publishers, 1969. Pages 106 and 107; as quoted in Donovan, Colin B, [www.ewtn.com/expert/answers/abortio2.htm "Abortion - Exocommunication"], Eternal Word Television Network, Retrieved 2007-06-24.
  • The hairsplitting difference between formed and unformed makes no difference to us. Whoever deliberately commits abortion is subject to the penalty for homicide.
    • St. Basil the Great, priest (c. 329-379), First Canonical Letter, from the work Three Canonical Letters. Loeb Classical Library, Volume III, pages 20 to 23; as quoted in Donovan, Colin B, [www.ewtn.com/expert/answers/abortio2.htm "Abortion - Exocommunication"], “Early Teachings of the Church”, Eternal Word Television Network, Retrieved 2007-06-24.
  • The woman who purposely destroys her unborn child is guilty of murder. With us there is no nice enquiry as to its being formed or unformed. In this case it is not only the being about to be born who is vindicated, but the woman in her attack upon herself; because in most cases women who make such attempts die. The destruction of the embryo is an additional crime, a second murder, at all events if we regard it as done with intent. The punishment, however, of these women should not be for life, but for the term of ten years. And let their treatment depend not on mere lapse of time, but on the character of their repentance.
    • St. Basil the Great, Letter 188:2, To Amphilochius, concerning the Canons.
  • All the religions have taken strong positions on abortion; they believe that the issue encompasses profound issues of life and death, right and wrong, human relationships and the nature of society, that make it a major religious concern.
    People involved in an abortion are usually affected very deeply not just emotionally, but often spiritually, as well. They often turn to their faith for advice and comfort, for explanation of their feelings, and to seek atonement and a way to deal with their feelings of guilt.
  • The Church believes that life begins at the moment of conception and regards a foetus as a living being who has the right to both life and dignity.
    The Church states that "once a pregnancy has occurred, than it is a sin to abort the baby, even if its age is only one hour". However, abortion can be allowed if it is the only way to save the mother's life.
  • [S]cientists who study embryos have made it pretty clear: “The beginning of a single human life is from a biological point of view a simple and straightforward matter—the beginning is conception.” Science has spoken: The unborn are fully human!
    The only thing that separates the unborn from us are things like their size, how developed they are, whether they are inside or outside the womb and how dependent they are. But these differences don’t make it right to take human lives, especially those who are not yet born.
  • Rape is profoundly evil. Victims of rape deserve our best spiritual, physical, financial and psy-chological care. But there’s more to it than that. Would it be okay for a mom to end the life of her two-year-old daughter who was born due to a rape because she was reminded of the event? Of course not! Why? Because that little girl is a human being. And that is the heart of the issue. Are the unborn, regardless of how they were conceived, human beings? If they aren’t, no justifi-cation for abortion is needed. But if they are, none is acceptable.
  • Speaking against the withdrawal, Becca Girrell of the New England Conference urged fellow delegates to keep the UMC’s voice at the reproductive health table and said remaining in the RCRC does not in any way affect the UMC’s position on abortion.
    “As a woman of faith, it deeply saddens me that every two minutes, some woman somewhere in the world dies of childbirth,” Girrell said. “As a maternal health advocate, I, too, want to reduce the number of abortions. I want healthy babies to be born. …”
    But we cannot do the work alone. It takes all of our faith voices working together.” Speaking for the withdrawal, delegate Katherine Rohrs from West Ohio, said she’s heard time and again about the need to stay at the table because the UMC’s voice matters, but nothing has changed.
    “RCRC refuses to talk about unborn children as just that,” Rohrs said. “They refuse to condemn abortion as a form of birth control or gender selection. They affirm abortion in any way.”
  • When a major United Nations conference on population policy opens next week in Cairo, Vati-can envoys are expected to lobby hard to keep all mention of abortion and artificial birth control out of official documents. Already the Vatican has accused the United States of trying to use the conference to impose contraception and abortion on poor countries and people of religious faith.
    But Brazil, with the world's largest Roman Catholic population, is a living study in the lim-its to the reach of Rome. In a country where Catholics account for 75 percent of the nation's 154 million people, every relevant statistic shows that most people ignore the Catholic Church's teachings on family planning methods.
    In a survey of 2,076 Brazilian adults in June, 88 percent of respondents said they "don't follow" church teachings on birth control and abortion. Among women from 25 to 44, the "don't follow" group expanded to 90 percent.
  • As late as the 1960s, abortion seems to have been a debated issue among the Christian right. According to an excellent article by Rob Shryock at Salon, a 1968 document produced at a conference co-sponsored by Christianity Today and the Christian Dental and Medical Association treated the question as unresolved: “Whether the performance of an induced abortion is sinful we are not agreed, but about the necessity of it and permissibility for it under certain circumstances we are in accord. … When principles conflict, the preservation of fetal life … may have to be abandoned to maintain full and secure family life.”
  • It would be the eventual turn by Evangelical Protestants to the pro-life position on abortion that would for some also reopen the contraception question. When in 1973 the US Supreme Court, in its ‘’Roe’’ and ‘’Doe’’ decisions, overturned the anti-abortion laws of all fifty states, relatively few Protestants voiced opposition. Indeed, some mainline denominations had already endorsed liberalized abortion.
    The prominent Southern Baptist Pastor W. A. Criswell openly welcomed the decision. Representing a position many Evangelicals then took, he claimed: “I have always felt that it was only after the child was born and had life separate from its mother that it became an individual person.” Others drew the line at some point before birth, but few rejected the decisions outright.
    The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) itself had in 1971 urged its members to work for legislation that will allow the possibility of abortion under such conditions as rape, incest, clear evidence of severe fetal deformity, and carefully ascertained evidence of the likelihood of damage to the emotional, mental, and physical health of the mother.
    However, reflecting the movement of Evangelicalism as a whole (though not mainline Protestantism), in 2003, the SBC declared that this and the 1974 resolution “accepted unbiblical premises of the abortion rights movement, forfeiting the opportunity to advocate the protection of defenseless women and children” and that “we lament and renounce statements and actions by previous Conventions and previous denominational leadership that offered support to the abortion culture.”
    An early sign of this shift occurred in 1975 when a young editor at Christianity Today, Harold O. J. Brown, authored a short anti-abortion editorial. From his home in L’Abri, Switzerland, the neo-Calvinist Francis Schaeffer mobilized Evangelicals against abortion with books such as How Should We Then Live?. This campaign grew through the founding of new Evangelical organizations with pro-life orientations, including Focus on the Family, the Family Research Council, and Concerned Women for America.
  • Although Catholic teaching on abortion has shifted through the centuries, the current position is clear: abortion is murder. This position has been fixed since 1869, when Pope Pius IX reinstituted the doctrine that the soul enters the body at the moment of conception; from that moment on, the fetus is therefore a person. Furthermore, because the fetus has a soul, it must be baptized in order to remove original sin. Catholics therefore believe that not only is abortion murder, but it also condemns the unborn person to Hell.
    • Michael Carrera. Sex: The Facts, The Acts, and Your Feelings. New York: Crown Books, 1981. Page 290; as quoted in Donovan, Colin B, [www.ewtn.com/expert/answers/abortio2.htm] "Abortion - Exocommunication"], Eternal Word Television Network, Retrieved 2007-06-24.
  • Accomplices, even though not mentioned in the law or precept, incur the same penalty [latae sententiae excommunication] if, without their assistance, the crime would not have been committed, and if the penalty is of such a nature as to be able to affect them; otherwise, they can be punished with ferendae sententiae [inflicted by clergy] penalties."
    • Section 2 of Canon Law 1329
  • Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable.
    Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law:
    You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish.
    God, the Lord of life, has entrusted to men the noble mission of safeguarding life, and men must carry it out in a manner worthy of themselves.
    Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes.
  • Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense.
    The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life.
    "A person who procures a completed abortion incurs excommunication latae sententiae,"76 "by the very commission of the offense,"77 and subject to the conditions provided by Canon Law.78
    The Church does not thereby intend to restrict the scope of mercy.
    Rather, she makes clear the gravity of the crime committed, the irreparable harm done to the innocent who is put to death, as well as to the parents and the whole of society.
  • A large number of Catholic theologians hold that even direct abortion, though tragic, can sometimes be a moral choice.
    • October 7, 1984 New York Times statement entitled "A Catholic Statement on Pluralism and Abortion," signed by 97 members of 'Catholics' for a Free Choice.
  • If you carefully examine your conscience and then decide that an abortion is the most moral act you can do at this time, you're not committing a sin. Therefore, you're not excommunicated. Nor need you tell it in confession since, in your case, abortion is not a sin.
    • 'Catholics' for a Free Choice brochure entitled "You Are Not Alone."
  • Most people believe that the Roman Catholic Church's position on abortion has remained unchanged for two thousand years. Not true. Church teaching on abortion has varied continually over the course of its history. There has been no unanimous opinion on abortion at any time. While there has been constant general agreement that abortion is almost always evil and sinful, the church has had difficulty in defining the nature of that evil. Members of the Catholic hierarchy have opposed abortion consistently as evidence of sexual sin, but they have not always seen early abortion as homicide. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the "right-to-life" argument is a relatively recent development in church teaching. The debate continues today.
    Also contrary to popular belief, no pope has proclaimed the prohibition of abortion an "infallible" teaching. This fact leaves much more room for discussion on abortion than is usually thought, with opinions among theologians and the laity differing widely. In any case, Catholic theology tells individuals to follow their personal conscience in moral matters, even when their conscience is in conflict with hierarchical views.
    The campaign by Pope John Paul II to make his position on abortion the defining one at the United Nations International Conference on Population and Development in 1994 was just one leg of a long journey of shifting views within the Catholic church. In the fifth century a.d., St. Augustine expressed the mainstream view that early abortion required penance only for sexual sin. Eight centuries later, St. Thomas Aquinas agreed, saying abortion was not homicide unless the fetus was "ensouled," and ensoulment, he was sure, occurred well after conception. The position that abortion is a serious sin akin to murder and is grounds for excommunication only became established 150 years ago.
  • The Catholic Church hierarchy today does not permit abortion in any instance, not even in case of rape or as a di-rect way of saving the life of a pregnant woman.
  • People on all sides of the abortion debate tend to share an assumption, regardless of their personal views on the issue: Catholicism allows only one attitude toward abortion, that it is among the worst sins, an unconscionable evil. Proponents of women’s rights over their own bodies often criticise anti-abortion legislation as “medieval”, with the Irish Constitution’s Eighth Amendment regularly characterised as such. And yet medieval biographies of multiple Irish Catholic saints, including beloved Brigid of Kildare, reverently record abortions among their miracles, and medi-eval Irish Catholic penitentialists, priestly authorities who prescribed penances for sins and were often celebrated as saints themselves, treated abortion as a relatively minor offence.
    Ire-land’s abortionist saints cannot be considered champions of choice, however. The only choice they seem to consider is their own (and implicitly God’s). The most detailed account is told of Ciarán of Saigir, after he rescued a nun named Bruinnech who had been abducted by a local king. “When the man of God returned to the monastery with the girl, she confessed that she was pregnant. Then the man of God, led by the zeal of justice, not wishing the serpent’s seed to quicken, pressed down on her womb with the sign of the cross and forced her womb to be emp-tied.” Bruinnech’s feelings about her rape, pregnancy, or abortion are not addressed, apart from her “confession”.
  • Saints were not the only Catholics performing abortions in medieval Ireland. The sixth-century Penitential of Vinnian, the seventh-century Irish Canons, and the eighth-century Old Irish Peni-tential include abortion among the many sins to be repented. Comparatively speaking, it’s a lesser one. In the Irish Canons, the penance of a woman who has had an abortion amounts to a quarter or half the time of the penance of a man who has committed fornication. In the Old Irish Peni-tential, the penance depends on the stage of pregnancy, divided into three, like trimesters: in the first, three and a half years of penance; in the second, seven years; in the third, 14 years. The Old Irish Penitential also stipulates that oral sex merits four or five years’ penance the first time, seven years if it is repeated.
    The Penitential of Vinnian (often attributed to Finnian of Clonard) takes an even more permissive attitude to abortion. His female reproductive penances seem aimed at nuns, though he refers simply to “a woman” (mulier). If she has an abortion, she is to fast on bread and water for six months and refrain from wine and meat for two years. “But if she bears a child and her sin is manifest, (she shall do penance) for six years, as is the judgement in the case of a cleric, and in the seventh year she shall be joined to the altar, and then we say her crown can be restored and she may don a white robe and be pronounced a virgin.” Presumably this restored virginity after six years of penance for childbirth applied specifically to nuns, not laywomen.
    Significantly, however, Vinnian treats religious men’s sexual and reproductive sins much more severely. If a cleric has sex only once and covertly, he is to fast a full year on bread and water and two years without wine and meat; if it’s habitual, three years on bread and water, three years without wine and meat, and loss of office. A cleric who begets a child and commits infanticide must fast for three years on bread and water, followed by three years without wine and meat for two-thirds of each year and one-third on bread and water as well as “exile from his own country, until a period of seven years is completed.” Only after all that is he eligible to be restored to office. Vinnian concludes that section by declaring, “If, however, he has not killed the child, the sin is less, but the penance is the same.” For abortion, the sin must have been significantly less, as the penance was nowhere near the same.
  • In the case of conservative Christians especially conservative evangelical Protestants and conservative Catholics a strict interpretation of the Bible or church dogma often drives their opposition to abortion. Many of these individuals have been influenced by the political messages of New Right strategists like Paul Weyrich , Richard Vigurie, Jerry Falwell, James Dobson and Beverly and Tim LaHaye, who frame the issue as one of morality. By using such a powerfully positive concept, anti-abortion strategists move people to act, whether through mainstream legislative work or more radical direct action. This device also places pro-choice activists -- their opponents -- outside the frame of morality, objectifying them as "other" in the eyes of anti-choice activists.
    The more militant sectors of the anti-abortion movement, such as Flip Benham's Operation Rescue, Mark Crutcher's Life Dynamics and Joseph Scheidler's Pro-Life Action League, reflect the influence of the ultra-conservative Christian belief that the United States should be governed by "biblical law." These theocratic Christians frame abortion as murder and justify civil disobedience and other law-breaking activities as answering to a higher moral code than the US judicial system. Their frame of the issue opens the door to a frightening range of demonizing and coercive actions in the name of saving lives.
  • Anti-abortion activists find fetal rights arguments useful tools in constructing an analysis that eliminates a woman's own right to choose. Abortion opponents who argue that fetuses have rights are attempting to blur the legal distinctions between a fetus and an already born baby. A fetus's status as a person, they argue, allows for litigation on its behalf. At the same time, by representing the fetus as vulnerable, fragile and unable to defend itself, these activists reinforce the rightness of people other than the mother to act on the fetus's behalf, if they see her as not acting in its best interests. One important strength of the argument is that it appears secular and legal rather than religious.
    But such an argument also appeals to fundamentalist Christians who, interpreting the Bible literally, often discount secular arguments and usually will reject scientific or legal arguments that are incompatible with their beliefs. Believing the fetus to have feelings and a personality -- in essence to be a person -- allows a spokesperson like James Dobson of Focus on the Family to condemn abortion as a sin, since it kills a creature of God.
  • Human Coalition is honored to announce the inauguration of a three-year initiative with the Church of God in Christ to advance their common mission of making abortion unthinkable and unavailable in America. Together, Human Coalition and the Church of God in Christ (COGIC), which is the oldest Pentecostal denomination in the country, will work to promote the culture of life in African-American communities.
    Bishop Charles Blake, Presiding Bishop of the Church of God in Christ, praised the initiative as a much-needed response to tragedy in the modern world. “We see an escalation in violence around the world that is troubling,” Bishop Blake said. “Terrorism, racial tension in America, and escalating crime. Indeed, this violence worsens daily as hundreds of thousands of children are snatched from their mothers’ wombs prematurely and killed through abortion.” Bishop Blake drew a poignant parallel between the life-saving ministry of pro-life Christians and Jesus’ command to let the little children to come unto me. “What we do for the preborn and the born children in our society is our way of showing the Love and Compassion of Jesus Christ.”
    Reverend Dean Nelson, Human Coalition’s National Director of Church Outreach, called the initiative an answer to prayer. “COGIC has churches in every major city in America,” said Rev. Nelson. “Over the next three years, we will work together to educate and activate the church as we move towards our goal of making abortion unthinkable in urban America.”
  • Since November 2015, COGIC has engaged in a “Family Life Campaign” challenging church members to take personal action in the fight for life. Bishop Vincent Mathews, Jr., President of the International Missions Department, encouraged members to adopt children from the foster care system and babies in danger of being aborted. “It’s about going home, rolling up your sleeves, and taking care of a child…” he told members. Bishop Mathews puts the harm done by abortion in perspective by comparing it to the Civil Rights violations of the last century. “Some 3,446 African-Americans were lynched in the U.S. between 1882 and 1986,” he said. “We lose more African-Americans to abortion in this country every three days. Our church does not be-lieve in abortion – we have to do something about it.”
    “Launching a joint initiative with the Church of God in Christ shows the power of collaboration and coalition as we rescue children and serve families across America,” said Human Coalition President and Co-Founder, Brian Fisher. “African-Americans are disproportionately impacted by abortion, and I deeply appreciate the Church of God in Christ’s leadership in stopping this injustice. I hope other major denominations will join us as we work together to make abortion unthinkable and unavailable. Christians can and should end the abortion holocaust in our country.”
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes in the sanctity of human life. Therefore, the Church opposes elective abortion for personal or social convenience, and counsels its members not to submit to, perform, encourage, pay for, or arrange for such abortions.
    The Church allows for possible exceptions for its members when:
    *Pregnancy results from rape or incest, or
    *A competent physician determines that the life or health of the mother is in serious jeopardy, or
    *A competent physician determines that the fetus has severe defects that will not allow the baby to survive beyond birth.
    The Church teaches its members that even these rare exceptions do not justify abortion automatically. Abortion is a most serious matter and should be considered only after the persons involved have consulted with their local church leaders and feel through personal prayer that their decision is correct.
    The Church has not favored or opposed legislative proposals or public demonstrations concerning abortion.
    • “Abortion”, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Temples
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches that “elective abortion for personal or social convenience is contrary to the will and the commandments of God.” Therefore, the church says, any facilitation of or support for this kind of abortion warrants excommunication from the church. However, the church believes that certain circumstances can justify abortion, such as a pregnancy that threatens the life of the mother or that has come about as the result of rape or in-cest.
  • In today’s society, abortion has become a common practice, defended by deceptive arguments. If you face questions about this matter, you can be secure in following the revealed will of the Lord. Latter-day prophets have denounced abortion, referring to the Lord’s declaration, “Thou shalt not … kill, nor do anything like unto it” (D&C 59:6). Their counsel on the matter is clear: Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints must not submit to, perform, encourage, pay for, or arrange for an abortion. If you encourage an abortion in any way, you may be subject to Church discipline.
    Church leaders have said that some exceptional circumstances may justify an abortion, such as when pregnancy is the result of incest or rape, when the life or health of the mother is judged by competent medical authority to be in serious jeopardy, or when the fetus is known by competent medical authority to have severe defects that will not allow the baby to survive beyond birth. But even these circumstances do not automatically justify an abortion. Those who face such circumstances should consider abortion only after consulting with their local Church leaders and receiving a confirmation through earnest prayer.
    When a child is conceived out of wedlock, the best option is for the mother and father of the child to marry and work toward establishing an eternal family relationship. If a successful marriage is unlikely, they should place the child for adoption, preferably through LDS Family Services (see “Adoption,” pages 7–8).
  • 1. We affirm our faith in God, and in the fellowship of the church, as the work of God among us and within us and the context within which decisions about abortion should be made.
    2. We affirm our shared humanity, and common need for redemption and reconciliation to God and to one another. We affirm that life is a gift from God and the steward-ship of life is a sacred trust.
    3. We affirm that parenthood is partnership with God in the creative processes of the universe.
    4. We affirm the necessity for parents to make responsible decisions regarding the conception and nurture of their children.
    5. We affirm a profound regard for the personhood of the woman in her emotional, mental, and physical health; we also affirm a profound regard and concern for the potential of the unborn fetus.
    6. We affirm that there is an inadequacy in simplistic answers that regard all abortions as murder, or, on the other hand, regard abortion only as a medical procedure without moral significance.
    7. We affirm the right of the woman to make her own decision regarding the continuation or termination of problem pregnancies. It is our recommendation that this decision be made with the support of family and in consultation with medical, ministerial, and professional counseling services.
    8. We affirm that jurisdictional leaders need to be cognizant of competent counseling resources and avail-able women’s health care services in the areas to which our members may be referred both during the process of decision and following. The church is aware that there are occasions which make it necessary, because of the conditions of the conception or pregnancy, to terminate a particular pregnancy. While we recognize a woman’s basic right to self-determination, we are also committed to placing a high value on the preservation of life as a principle of moral behavior. In its teaching and caring ministries, the church seeks to provide premarital preparation and to nurture faithful marriage relationships. There are, however, ethical choices in which the church, while emphasizing basic Christian principles, is called to support individuals in exercising their free moral agency as they engage in responsible decision.—Standing High Council (January 24, 1974; Revised March 19, 1998)
  • ... if we would not kill off the human race born and developing according to God's plan, then our whole lives would be lived according to nature. Women who make use of some sort of deadly abortion drug kill not only the embryo but, together with it, all human kindness.
    • Clement of Alexandria, Christ the Educator, Volume II, page 10. Also see Octavius, c.30, nn. 2-3; as quoted in Donovan, Colin B, [www.ewtn.com/expert/answers/abortio2.htm "Abortion - Exocommunication"], “Early Teachings of the Church”, Eternal Word Television Network, Retrieved 2007-06-24.
  • Our whole life can go on in observation of the laws of nature, if we gain dominion over our de-sires from the beginning and if we do not kill, by various means of a perverse art, the human off-spring, born according to the designs of divine providence; for these women who, if order to hide their immorality, use abortive drugs which expel the child completely dead, abort at the same time their own human feelings.
  • "Deliberately we have always used the expression 'direct attempt on the life of an innocent person,' 'direct killing.' Because if, for example, the saving of the life of the future mother, independently of her pregnant condition, should urgently require a surgical act or other therapeutic treatment which would have as an accessory consequence, in no way desired or intended, but inevitable, the death of the fetus, such an act could no longer be called a direct attempt on an innocent life. Under these conditions the operation can be lawful, like other similar medical interventions granted always that a good of high worth is concerned, such as life, and that it is not possible to postpone the operation until after the birth of the child, nor to have recourse to other efficacious remedies."
    • Article 14 of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith's Declaration on Procured Abortion (November 18, 1974)
  • Alongside methods of preventing pregnancy which are, properly speaking, contraceptive, that is, which prevent conception following from a sexual act, there are other technical means which act after fertilization, when the embryo is already constituted, either before or after implantation in the uterine wall. Such methods are ‘’interceptive’’ if they interfere with the embryo before implantation and ‘’contragestative’’ if they cause the elimination of the embryo once implanted.
    In order to promote wider use of interceptive methods, it is sometimes stated that the way in which they function is not sufficiently understood. It is true that there is not always complete knowledge of the way that different pharmaceuticals operate, but scientific studies indicate that the effect of inhibiting implantation is certainly present, even if this does not mean that such interceptives cause an abortion every time they are used, also because conception does not occur after every act of sexual intercourse. It must be noted, however, that anyone who seeks to prevent the implantation of an embryo which may possibly have been conceived and who therefore either requests or prescribes such a pharmaceutical, generally intends abortion.
    When there is a delay in menstruation, a contragestative is used, usually one or two weeks after the non-occurrence of the monthly period. The stated aim is to re-establish menstruation, but what takes place in reality is the abortion of an embryo which has just implanted.
    As is known, abortion is "the deliberate and direct killing, by whatever means it is carried out, of a human being in the initial phase of his or her existence, extending from conception to birth". Therefore, the use of means of interception and contragestation fall within the sin of abortion and are gravely immoral. Furthermore, when there is certainty that an abortion has resulted, there are serious penalties in canon law.
  • It needs to be remembered above all that the category of abortion "is to be applied also to the recent forms of ‘’intervention on human embryos’’ which, although carried out for purposes legitimate in themselves, inevitably involve the killing of those embryos. This is the case with experimentation on embryos, which is becoming increasingly widespread in the field of biomedical research and is legally permitted in some countries... [T]he use of human embryos or fetuses as an object of experimentation constitutes a crime against their dignity as human beings who have a right to the same respect owed to a child once born, just as to every person". These forms of experimentation always constitute a grave moral disorder.
  • The National Association of Evangelicals has passed a number of resolutions (most recently in 2010) stating its opposition to abortion. However, the organization recognizes that there might be situations in which terminating a pregnancy is warranted – such as protecting the life of a mother or in cases of rape or incest.
  • Many (e.g., Beverly Harrison) who advocate the morality of abortion in general recognize significant moral differences between abortion and contraception. Some attribute more value and worth to the fetus as it develops in the maternal womb. Consequently abortion (at least after the first few weeks) should not be used as the regular and ordinary method of fertility control for a number of possible reasons-the danger of some risk to the mother, the problems caused by multiple abortions, and the value that is attributed to the fetus. However, abortion could still be used in the case of contraceptive failure.
    Fertility control has always been significant for humankind, but contemporary scientific, social, philosophical, theological, and feminist developments have focused even more attention on this issue. The debate about fertility control within marriage continues to see much dissent by Catholics from the hierarchical teaching.
  • Scholars and laypeople have become concerned that American reli-gion and politics has increasingly divided between conservatives and liberals, resulting in a “culture war” that leaves little common ground on salient social issues. Drawing on archival and periodical sources and a comparative-historical research design, I seek to understand the causes and consequences of the shifting relationship between religion and politics by examining how large, moderate and mainstream Protestant institutions have struggled to maintain cohesion and prestige throughout the increasingly contentious politics of abortion. In the early-1960s, no Mainline Protestant institutions supported expanding abortion access. Over 1966-1972, all the same institutions released official pronouncements in support of expanding abortion access. Since this time, particularly from 1987-1992, all these institutions faced increased internal debate over the issue and shifted in conservative directions to varying degrees.
  • I find that the debate around abortion among Mainline Protestant institutions was not generally characterized by polarization around two sides but rather by much consensus, change over time, ambiguity, and often ambivalence toward the issue. These stances have often emerged not out of existing worldview and attitudes, but rather out of existing social networks, awareness of stances by others in the religious field, and institutional self-interest. Protestant clergy who put in significant time, energy and personal risk into expanding abortion access for women in the late-1960s and early-1970s were pulled into the movement through existing activist social networks, particularly from the Civil Rights Movement, and attitudes towards other issues such as civil rights, social injustice, and civil disobedience. During the 1960s and 1970s, Mainline Protestant institutions mobilized around support for expanding abortion rights as a way of challenging the political power of Catholic institutions, which were the primary opponent to expanding abortion access. Over the 1980s, as Evangelical Protestants became increasingly engaged in pro-life politics, Mainline Protestants began to see them as the primary opponent to expanding abortion access. Those denominations that sought to create greater ties with Evangelical Protestants backed away from their support of choice, while those denominations that sought to distinguish themselves from Evangelicals remained support of choice despite strong pro-life grass-roots movements within them.
  • Abortion is arguably the most contentious issue that has divided American religious groups since the 1960s. As the battle lines in abortion politics have grown increasingly concretized over time and Evangelical Protestants have played an increasingly prominent role in pro-life politics, it is often assumed that Protestants in general are predominantly mobilized against abortion and that they always have been. Despite the multitude of research on the history of abortion politics in the United States, no study has examined how large mainstream religious institutions engaged with the abortion debate. Research has mostly looked at activists and institutions on the extremes of the debate, generally overlooking how the large, moderate institutions were being torn apart in the middle. When religious institutions are mentioned, it is brief and their views are assumed to be static.
  • In 1994, the 71st General Convention of the Episcopal Church reaffirmed that all human life is sacred from its inception until death and that all abortion is regarded as having a tragic dimension. "While we acknowledge that in this country it is the legal right of every woman to have a medically safe abortion," the resolution stated, "as Christians we believe strongly that if this right is exercised, it should be used only in extreme situations. We emphatically oppose abortion as a means of birth control, family planning, sex selection, or any reason of mere convenience."
    “General Convention resolutions have expressed unequivocal opposition to any legislation a bridging a woman’s right to make an informed decision about the termination of pregnancy, as well as the pain and possible support that may be needed for those making difficult life decisions,” Rose said, adding that participating in the march shows that supporting women's rights is “essential to our call for justice.”
  • Access to abortion is an issue of faith. We believe God created each one of us in God’s own image and named us as good. We believe each one of us is a gift of God, and we are fearfully and wonderfully made into complex and sacred beings. We believe God created us with moral agency to choose what is best for ourselves and our families, and that choice includes the discernment of whether or not abortion is right for us. All of this is affirmed and re-affirmed by the General Synod of the United Church of Christ.
    In Ohio, a bill on the floor of the Senate proposes to ban abortion after six weeks past conception. Similar bills have been ruled unconstitutional already by judges in Arkansas, Iowa, Idaho, and more. Ohio is one in a series of state-level bills that seeks to escalate the challenge to the legality of abortion all the way to the Supreme Court, where the possibility of a federal overturn on Roe v. Wade is present At least twenty abortion cases in various stages of judicial review could cause such a result.
    As a Christian pastor, I speak out against the tightening restrictions on abortion because of my faith. Communities need access to every choice “to maintain personal bodily autonomy, have children, not have children, and parent the children we have in safe and sustainable communities” (SisterSong’s definition of reproductive justice). I witness that without access to comprehensive healthcare, we are not affirming the full humanity of people already marginalized among us. Without access to abortion, we send a message that only those with money and power can get the procedures that they need (whether legally or illegally). By restricting abortion, we ignore the lives and well-being of those already present among us, and hurting. We rob people of access to the healthcare that they need to make family choices in alignment with their own faith.
    I believe it’s our work to stand in the gap between the world where we are and the world God calls us into. Because of my faith, I serve on the board at Preterm where our mission of intersectional feminism and safe, compassionate sexual health care has led the way for journeying alongside people with love and compassion at some of the hardest choice points of their lives. Because of my faith, I support movements led by those they are most impacting, like the work of Sister Song, and locally, teams creatively raising money to directly support those who cannot afford the life-saving abortions they need. Because of my faith, I call us into conversation to affirm the work of access to abortions and to trust the moral agency of women and pregnant people to decide what is best for their own reproductive lives.
  • As the abortion debate matures and involves more segments of the society, a growing library of sophisticated and in•depth studies is being published for special purposes. This book will be of invaluable use to those in the Pro•Life Movement who have made clerical motivation their special cause. Father Connery, with admirable scholarship, has traced the continuous thread of opposition to abortion back through centuries of Christian tradition. Those churchmen who have opted out of the anti-abortion battle because of a conviction that there was scant scriptural comment on abortion will find no comfort in Father Connery's formidable recruitment of evidence to show that Christian concern for the sanctity of life has always embraced unborn life. The reaction of the early Church to the practice of abortion, is shown to have been unequivocal. In one of the earliest of Christian documents, the" Didache," which dates from apostolic times, is found the categorical statement, "You shall not kill the fetus by abortion nor the child after birth by infanticide." This statement is found in that part of the "Didache" which was also used by the Jews in proselytizing the pagans. The condemnation, therefore, is derived from a truly Judeo-Christian perspective of great antiquity.
    Much is made in the current abortion debate about the uncertain status of the unborn child. It is certainly the keystone of the strategy of the pro-abortion lobby to deny humanhood to the fetus. The alleged uncertainty of the point when life begins, however, is entirely contrived for political purposes. The biological evidence for the beginning of human life at fertilization is as well established as any scientific evidence can be and enjoys almost universal acceptance in the genetic and obstetrical literature. It is incumbent on science to decide when life begins so that the theologians may then proceed to tell us how to value and protect life at the various stages of its continuum. The author points out how the Church has been influenced down through the centuries by the limitations of an uncertain biology. It was Aristotelian biology which led to the preoccupation with the physical formation of the fetus as a criterion for the infusion of the soul. The invention of the microscope obviously had a sweeping effect on cellular biology as have numerous other scientific advancements up to and including t h e discovery of the molecular structure of DNA. Surprisingly, as this book elucidates, the Church has never attempted to define the specific time of animation in light of new scientific breakthroughs . What is conspicuous in t h e historical insights developed by Father Connery, is an uncompromising Catholic defense of unborn life how-ever it was perceive d by the science of ancient, medieval and modern times.
    Those who have chided the Church for its "disproportionate emphasis on the abortion issue" must concede after reading this book, that Vatican II, when it spoke of abortion as "an unspeakable crime" was only echoing a constant and consistent Roman Catholic position. Those pastors and curates who lead their congregations in the implementation of the bishops' pastoral plan for pro-life activities will be following in a pathway prepared for them by the earliest Fathers of the Church.
    • Diamond, Eugene F. (1977) "Book Review ofAbortion: The Development of the Roman Catholic Perspective”], by John Connery, S.J., "The Linacre Quarterly: Vol. 44 : No. 4 , Article 12. p. 368
  • Thou shalt do no murder, thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not corrupt boys, thou shalt not commit fornication, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not deal in magic, thou shalt do no sorcery, thou shalt not murder a child by abortion nor kill them when born, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's goods, thou shalt not perjure thyself, thou shalt not bear false witness, thou shalt not speak evil, thou shalt not cherish a grudge, thou shalt not be double-minded nor double-tongued; for the double tongue is a snare of death.
    • "Didache", 2nd century CE; (2:2-3); (trans, and ed., J. B. Lightfoot)
  • But the way of death is this.
    First of all, it is evil and full of a curse murders, adulteries, lusts, fornications, thefts, idolatries, magical arts, witchcrafts, plunderings, false witnessings, hpocrisies, doubleness of heart, treachery, pride, malice, stubbornness, covetousness, foul-speaking, jealousy, boldness, exaltation, boastfulness;
    persecutors of good men, hating truth, loving a lie, not perceiving the reward of righteousness, not cleaving to the good nor to righteous judgment, wakeful not for that which is good but for that which is evil;
    from whom gentleness and for-bearance stand aloof;
    loving vain things, pursuing a recompense, not pitying the poor man, not toiling for him that is oppressed with toil, not recognizing Him that made them, murderers of children, corrupters of the creatures of God, turning away from him that is in want, oppressing him that is afflicted, advocates of the wealthy, unjust judges of the poor, altogether sinful.
    • "Didache", 2nd century CE; (5:1-5); (trans, and ed., J. B. Lightfoot)
  • “THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the General Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) meeting at Cincinnati, Ohio, October 26-31, 1973, strongly encourages individual congregations to give disciplined study to the matter of abortion, calling upon ethical resources of all God’s people, contemporary and historical, and upon those disciplines which bear upon it, such as medicine, psychology, and laws.
    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that persons who must decide whether or not to undergo an abortion shall have the informed supportive resources of the Christian community to help them make responsible choices, and that congregations and individuals give continued full support to each person who must make such a decision, knowing that whether or not an abortion is decided the person will need the supportive assurance of God’s grace and love which meaningfully can come with the Christian community.”
    • General Assembly Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Resolution No. 7332 (October 1973)
  • “THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the General Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) meeting at San Antonio, Texas, August 15-20, 1975. - Affirm the principle of individual liberty, freedom of individual conscience, and sacredness of life for all persons.
    • General Assembly Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Resolution No. 24, August 1975
  • WHEREAS, debates over abortion often reflect the division of North American society and of the contemporary church; and
    WHEREAS, such debates often fail to address the root causes of abortion; and
    WHEREAS, experience shows that it is possible to reduce the number of abortions, while still affirming a woman’s privilege to responsibly exercise her inherent freedom of conscience, through programs that provide better health care and community support for women during pregnancy; and
    WHEREAS, proactive prevention seeks to find common ground on the issue of abortion by focusing on the prevention of unwanted pregnancies and by supporting pregnant women rather than focusing on the divisive and polarizing debates between pro-choice and pro-life advocates; and
    WHEREAS, Christians are called to seek reconciliation within the church whenever possible in order that the church might model reconciliation to the wider society (2 Corinthians 5: 18-19); and
    WHEREAS, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is particularly called in our Mission Imperative statement “to engage in ministries of reconciliation, compassion, unity and justice” 2 (Ephesians 4:1-3); and
    WHEREAS, debates are often marked by caricature and, thus, fail to acknowledge that all Christians affirm the sanctity of life and the dignity of women;
    THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the General Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) meeting in Ft. Worth, Texas, July 21-25, 2007, encourage all manifestations of the church to participate in proactive prevention by:
    1. Repenting of the sin of vilifying one another based on our opinions on divisive topics such as abortion or of using such opinions as tests of Christian fellowship or faith. (Ephesians 4: 31-32)
    2.Engaging in age appropriate health and sexuality education paired with Christian spirituality for adults and youth
    3. Facilitating education for men as to their responsibilities in sexual relationships to ensure the safety and dignity of women and children.
    4. Supporting shelters for women and children in crisis pregnancy situations.
    5. Supporting women who have had abortions, or who face difficult decisions regarding pregnancy, by providing our churches as sanctuaries offering healing pastoral and congregational care through compassionate listening and the embodiment of God’s gracious presence.(Psalm 46 and 116)
    6. Advocating for pregnancy counseling and adequate healthcare for women and families.
    7. Advocating for and/or creating affordable daycare facilities in underserved neighborhoods, college campuses and other areas where children and families, have the greatest need.
    8. Being an available resource for others by embodying and offering “proactive prevention” as an alternative perspective and model of mission regarding abortion. 10. Witnessing from our doorsteps “to the ends of the earth”, to the power of God’s reconciling and renewing Spirit in the midst of divisive and polarizing issues confronting God’s world. (Acts 1:8).
  • [T]he Catholic Church has never "approved of" or "condoned" abortion in any part of its history. It has never taught that the time of 'ensoulment' of the unborn child depended on its sex, as stated above; this was merely the speculation of two theologians (who, by the way, both condemned abortion at all times).
    And the Catholic Church has never accepted the theory of delayed animation. The only time that the Church has ever addressed this question is when Pope Innocent XI officially condemned the theory that animation took place at birth.
    The teachings of the Catholic Church have been uniformly against abortion in any form, and have been stated and restated consistently through the centuries.
    • Donovan, Colin B, [www.ewtn.com/expert/answers/abortio2.htm "Abortion - Exocommunication"], “Summary of Rebuttal”, Eternal Word Television Network, Retrieved 2007-06-24.
  • The Catholic Church has always taught that abortion is murder. However, some confusion exists because the penalties for the murder of a preborn child have been changed several times in the history of the Church.
    In 1588, Pope Sixtus V tried to discourage abortion by reserving absolution to the Holy See alone. Because of the numbers of abortions taking place, it soon became evident that such an arrangement was impractical, and so in 1591, just three years later, Pope Gregory XIV returned absolution for abortion to the local ordinary (the local bishop).
    Paolo Zacchia, Physician-General of the Vatican, published a book in 1620 entitled Quaestiones Medico-Legales in which he argued that ensoulment takes place at conception and that development is a continuum.
    In 1679, Pope Innocent XI condemned the writings and teachings of two theologians, Thomas Sanchez and Joannis Marcus, who believed that abortion was lawful if the fetus was not yet animated or ensouled and the purpose of the abortion was to prevent shame to the woman. This act showed decisively that the Church did not tolerate abortion, and was willing to prosecute those who spread error regarding child-killing.
    The French Jesuit Theophile Raynaud (1582-1663) believed that indirect abortion of a viable baby to save the mother's life was allowable. This was notable because he was the first theologian to hold this view and his teachings were unique in the Church until about 1850.
    • Donovan, Colin B, [www.ewtn.com/expert/answers/abortio2.htm "Abortion - Exocommunication"], Eternal Word Television Network, “More Recent Teachings of the Church”, Retrieved 2007-06-24.
  • In 1869, Pope Pius IX took the action that 'Catholic' pro-abortionists deliberately misrepresent in order to buttress their heretical views. The abortophiles allege that, in this year, the Pope condemned abortion for the very first time.
    In reality, the Pope officially removed the distinction between the animated and unanimated fetus from the Code of Canon Law. This action dealt not with theology, but with discipline, and merely made the punishment for abortion at any stage uniform. The Pope removed the distinction in order to support the Church's stance that life and ensoulment both begin at conception.
    • Donovan, Colin B, [www.ewtn.com/expert/answers/abortio2.htm "Abortion - Exocommunication"], Eternal Word Television Network, “More Recent Teachings of the Church”, Retrieved 2007-06-24.
  • The Catholic Church has recently expanded its definition of abortion to include new drugs and surgical procedures. This expansion has not been necessary until recently because such drugs and procedures simply have not existed until this time, and their invention had created a new 'grey area' that needed to be clarified.
    The Pontifical Commission for the Authentic Interpretation of the Code of Canon Law, on November 24, 1988, stated that abortion is not only "the expulsion of the immature fetus," but is also "the killing of the same fetus in any way and at any time from the moment of conception."[10]
    • "Church Elaborates Definition of Abortion." National Catholic Register, December 11, 1988, page 3; as quoted in Donovan, Colin B, [www.ewtn.com/expert/answers/abortio2.htm "Abortion - Exocommunication"], “An Expanded Definition of 'Abortion.'”, Eternal Word Television Network, Retrieved 2007-06-24.
  • Canon 2350, promulgated in 1917, states that all who procure abortion shall be automatically excommunicated.
    Canon Law Number 1398 states, quite simply, in Latin and English;
    Qui abortum procurat, effectu secuto, in excommunicationem, latae sententiae, incurrat.
    Those who successfully abort a living human fetus bring on themselves instant excommunication.
    Abortum procurat means anyone who works to kill a human fetus in any manner at all. This may be the boyfriend or husband who drives the mother to the abortion mill, pays for the abortion in full or in part, or even advises that abortion may be an option in her case.
    Latae sententiae means that the person brings instant excommunication upon himself with his act. No solemn pronouncement need be made by the Church or a Bishop or priest, and no one else need even know about the abortion. For automatic excommunication to take place, the woman must know that she is pregnant and must freely choose abortion. At the moment the woman's child dies, she is cut off from all the Sacraments completely, and cannot return unless she sincerely repents and makes a good confession. This sanction also applies to the abortionist, attending nurse or counselor, and anyone else who assists in the abortion. This is why Mary Ann Sorrentino, a "Catholic" who administered a Planned Parenthood abortuary in Rhode Island, was publicly excommunicated. Keep in mind that Rome or the Bishop did not excommunicate her, nor did any priest; she excommunicated herself.
    It is important to note here that the woman must be fully knowledgeable of her act. She may using the birth control pill, intra-uterine device (IUD), NORPLANT, or some other abortifacient. Since many women are completely unaware of the abortifacient effects of these devices and drugs, they would not generally be liable to excommunication.
    Effectu secuto means that the excommunication takes place only if the abortion is completed.
    • Donovan, Colin B, [www.ewtn.com/expert/answers/abortio2.htm "Abortion - Exocommunication"], “Obtaining An Abortion.”, Eternal Word Television Network, Retrieved 2007-06-24.
  • The very rare cases of pregnancy that pose a real and immediate threat to the mother's life including uterine cancer and ectopic pregnancies are a source of great confusion, especially among Catholics.
    It is absolutely true that the Catholic Church bans abortion to save the life of the mother. However (and this is an extremely important point) the mother's life may be saved by a surgical procedure that does not directly attack the unborn baby's life.
    The most common dysfunctions that may set a mother's life against that of her unborn child's are the ectopic pregnancy, carcinoma of the uterine cervix, and cancer of the ovary. Occasionally, cancer of the vulva or vagina may indicate surgical intervention.
    In such cases, under the principle of the "double effect," attending physicians must do everything in their power to save both the mother and the child. If the physicians decide that, in the case of an ectopic pregnancy, the mother's life can only be saved by the removal of the Fallopian tube (and with it, the unborn baby), or by removal of some other tissue essential for the preborn baby's life, the baby will of course die. But this would not be categorized as an abortion. This is all the difference between deliberate murder (abortion) and unintentional natural death.
    • Donovan, Colin B, [www.ewtn.com/expert/answers/abortio2.htm "Abortion - Exocommunication"], “Source of Confusion.”, Eternal Word Television Network, Retrieved 2007-06-24.
  • Pro-abortion groups will go to laughable extremes in their attempts to prove 'inconsistency' in Church teachings. For example, they actually say with a straight face that the Catholic Church is not consistent because it does not insist on a funeral Mass for each miscarried baby.
    Can you believe it? This idiotic statement glaringly highlights the pervasive pro-abortion double standard. On the one hand, the pro-aborts insist that any mother who wants to kill her child should be able to define it out of existence with a mere thought, i.e., "This baby is unwanted, and therefore does not exist." She doesn't need the validation of Church or State or any other authority. All she needs, curiously enough, is an abortuary to eliminate this supposedly 'nonexistent' baby.
    On the other hand, a grieving pro-life mother who has miscarried has to jump all kinds of hurdles before the existence of her baby can be 'validated.' The pro-abortionists say that she must have a funeral Mass and the participation of the Catholic Church, a Catholic priest, and numerous other people before her opinions and feelings are legitimized.
    • Donovan, Colin B, [www.ewtn.com/expert/answers/abortio2.htm "Abortion - Exocommunication"], “Consistency at Any Ridiculous Cost?”, Eternal Word Television Network, Retrieved 2007-06-24.
  • The National Abortion Rights Action League even insisted in its June 1978 A Speakers and Debaters Notebook that every Catholic woman must have a formal funeral Mass and burial each time she menstruates, since the 'products of menstruation' just might include an unnoticed very early miscarriage! Population controller Garrett Hardin, always at the forefront of the abortion debate with a wide variety of silly statements, weighed in with the slightly differing (but still profoundly absurd) opinion that "Whenever a woman is late with her period, the menstrual products will have to be collected and given a proper burial."
    These and other pro-abortionists know that the Catholic Church is potentially their most dangerous enemy, and thus they are constantly trying to saddle it with obviously impossible missions in the name of 'consistency.' NARAL would just love to see Catholic priests spend 90 percent of their time saying funeral Masses for used Stayfree mini-pads!
    • "Interview: Garrett Hardin." Omni Magazine, June 1992, pages 56 to 63; as quoted in Donovan, Colin B, [www.ewtn.com/expert/answers/abortio2.htm "Abortion - Exocommunication"], “Consistency at Any Ridiculous Cost?”, Eternal Word Television Network, Retrieved 2007-06-24.
  • Catholic pro-life groups, including Catholics United for Life and the Shield of Roses, commonly pray the Rosary for the dying and the dead outside abortuaries. The purpose of these Rosaries, in part, is to request the baptism of desire for the unborn babies being slaughtered there that day. Even if the aborting mothers are atheists and couldn't care less about their babies' souls, Catholics believe that it is possible to request baptism for them. This is essentially the same understanding used by mothers who conditionally baptize their miscarried babies.
    • Donovan, Colin B, [www.ewtn.com/expert/answers/abortio2.htm "Abortion - Exocommunication"], “The Baptism of Desire.”, Eternal Word Television Network, Retrieved 2007-06-24.
  • Pro-abortion propagandists very commonly claim that the Catholic Church has, at one undefined time or another, tolerated abortion. Even if the Catholic Church had approved of abortion at one time (AND IT NEVER HAS), its position now is what is relevant. And that position is unyieldingly against abortion.
    • Donovan, Colin B, [www.ewtn.com/expert/answers/abortio2.htm "Abortion - Exocommunication"], “What "Diversity of Opinion? Introduction.”, Eternal Word Television Network, Retrieved 2007-06-24.
  • If a woman conceives in adultery and then has an abortion, she may not commune again, even as death approaches, because she has sinned twice.
  • Orthodox Christianity categorically condemns abortion. In this, it sustains condemnation of abortion reaching back to Christianity’s first century. For example, in the late 1st century r early 2nd century ‘’Didache’’ (II.2), there are lists of proscriptions, including “thou shalt not commit adultery thou shalt not commit sodomy; thou shalt not commit fornication; .. thou shalt not procure abortion, nor commit infanticide.” (Lake 1965, 1:311, 313). This condemnation is joined with numerous canons prohibiting abortion, including one from a council held in Ankara (A.D.315) (Council in Ancyra, 1983, p. 501), as well as canons from the Fathers (Basil 1983, Canon 2, p. 789; John the Faster, 1983, Canon 21, p. 944) and the Quinisext Council or Council in Trullo (A.D. 691-692), which articulated the canons for the Fifth and Sixth Ecumenical Cuncils (Quinisext Council, 1983, Canon 91, p.. 395). Unlike the Roman Catholic church, which has placed centrally the issue of ensoulment in its condemnation of abortion, Orthodox Christianity has prohibited abortion is an act having the spiritual impact to murder, whether or not the embryo is yet ensouled. As St. Basil notes, one is
    a murderer who kills an imperfect and unformed embryo, because this though not yet then a complete being was nevertheless destined to be perfected in the future, according to indispensable sequence of the laws of nature (Basil, 1983, p. 789).
    • H. Trisram Engelhardt, Jr., “Orthodox Christian Bioethics: Medical Morality in the Mind of the Fathers”; in Mark Cherry; John F. Peppin (2013). "Religious Perspectives in Bioethics”. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 9781317762416. III Bioethical Norms: Morality as Spiritual Therapy; pp. 26-27
  • In an age that endorses diversity, while considering real disparities of belief as threatening, Christian bioethics, or at least traditional Christian bioethics, presented differences that matter, and that are therefore threatening. The Western history of religious wars and inquisitorial coercion encumbered Christian bioethics with a past that made its contemporary undertaking suspect. In a world bloodied by its response to difference, Christian bioethics offered to divide Christian from non-Christian, and Christian from Christian, seeming to endanger the fabric of a peaceable society The particular content of Christian bioethics was a possible enemy off tolerance an a friend of conflict. Having engendered the religious wars of the past, Christianity of the mid 20th century was engendering the culture wars of the future. From the perspective of post-traditional Christians, and indeed in terms of many of the rights movements of the 1960s and 1970s, traditional Christianity was reactionary at best. It resisted progressive liberalism’s commitment to freeing persons and social structures from the constraining hands of the past. It saw in abortion and the emerging contraceptive ethos not avenues of liberation but roads to damnation. Rather than celebrating this ethos of choice as a liberation from the tyrant of biological forces, which has subjected women to men, traditional Christianity recognized in the secular revolutions affirmation of extramarital sex, the contraceptive ethos, and abortion, as only a further enslavement to the passions and chaos they bring. Disagreements about these matters within Christianity itself heightened the moral confusion of the time. Christian bioethics, rather than providing a means to resolve bioethical controversies and to achieve a general consensus concerning health care policy, fueled further controversy.
  • From the early Church, intentionally killing embryos has been acknowledged as a radical failure of love, as one of the worst of actions, whether or not the embryo is yet a person”
    • Engelhardt, “Abortion, Miscarriage, and Birth”, (2000), p.275
  • [T]he evil of abortion [is] not dependent on having taken the life of a person.
    • Engelhardt, “Abortion, Miscarriage, and Birth”, (2000), p.281
  • While the Episcopal Church recognizes a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy, the church condones abortion only in cases of rape or incest, cases in which a mother’s physical or mental health is at risk, or cases involving fetal abnormalities. The church forbids “abortion as a means of birth control, family planning, sex selection or any reason of mere convenience.”
  • Resolved, That the following principles and guidelines reflect the mind of the Church meeting in this 65th General Convention:
    1. That the beginning of new human life, because it is a gift of the power of God's love for his people, and thereby sacred, should not and must not be undertaken unadvisedly or lightly but in full accordance of the understanding for which this power to conceive and give birth is bestowed by God.
    2. Such understanding includes the responsibility for Christians to limit the size of their families and to practice responsible birth control. Such means for moral limitations do not include abortions for convenience.
    3. That the position of this Church, stated at the 62nd General Convention of the Church in Seattle in 1967 which declared support for the "termination of pregnancy" particularly in those cases where "the physical or mental health of the mother is threatened seriously, or where there is substantial reason to believe that the child would be born badly deformed in mind or body, or where the pregnancy has resulted from rape or incest" is reaffirmed. Termination of pregnancy for these reasons is permissible.
    4. That in those cases where it is firmly and deeply believed by the person or persons concerned that pregnancy should be terminated for causes other than the above, members of this Church are urged to seek the advice and counsel of a Priest of this Church, and, where appropriate, Penance.
    5. That whenever members of this Church are consulted with regard to proposed termination of pregnancy, they are to explore with the person or persons seeking advice and counsel other preferable courses of action.
    6. That the Episcopal Church express its unequivocal opposition to any legislation on the part of the national or state governments which would abridge or deny the right of individuals to reach informed decisions in this matter and to act upon them.
  • Resolved, That the following principles and guidelines adopted by the 65th General Convention (1976) and reaffirmed by the 66th General Convention (1979) be reaffirmed by this 67th General Convention:
    1. The beginning of new human life, because it is a gift of the power of God's love for his people, and thereby sacred, should not and must not be undertaken unadvisedly or lightly but in full accordance of the understanding for which this power to conceive and give birth is bestowed by God.
    2. Such understanding includes the responsibility for Christians to limit the size of their families and to practice responsible birth control. Such means for moral limitations do not include abortion for convenience.
    3. The position of this Church, stated at the 62nd General Convention of the Church in Seattle in 1967, which declared support for the "termination of pregnancy" particularly in those cases where "the physical or mental health of the mother is threatened seriously, or where there is substantial reason to believe that the child would be born badly deformed in mind or body, or where the pregnancy has resulted from rape or incest" is reaffirmed. Termination of pregnancy for these reasons is permissible.
    4. In those cases where it is firmly and deeply believed by the person or persons concerned that pregnancy should be terminated for causes other than the above, members of this Church are urged to seek the advice and counsel of a Priest of this Church, and, where appropriate, penance.
    5. Whenever members of this Church are consulted with regard to proposed termination of pregnancy, they are to explore, with the person or persons seeking advice and counsel, other preferable courses of action.
    6. The Episcopal Church expresses its unequivocal opposition to any legislation on the part of the national or state governments which would abridge or deny the right of individuals to reach informed decisions in this matter and to act upon them.
  • Resolved, That the 67th General Convention of the Episcopal Church strongly condemns the act of abortion when the sole purpose of such action is the selection of the sex of the child; and be it further
    Resolved, That this new ability to diagnose serious abnormalities in the fetus before birth is a welcome gift to reduce pain and sorrow in the parents and suffering in the newborn, but that abortion after the diagnosis of non-serious or trivial abnormalities, or abortion in a case where purely cosmetic abnormalities are discovered, is also strongly condemned.
  • Resolved, That this 68th General Convention request the several dioceses to initiate studies to consider the pastoral, personal, sociological and theological implications of abortion. We suggest appointing appropriately representative diocesan commissions to oversee a process of study which includes those local congregations willing to be involved. We commend to all a study of the official position of this Church as expressed in the resolutions on abortion adopted by the General Conventions of 1976, 1979 and 1982. We suggest to all a study of the paper of the House of Bishops Committee on Theology: "Theological Reflection Paper on Abortion." Finally we direct the Standing Commission on Human Affairs and Health to receive all information arising from these diocesan studies.
  • Resolved, That the 69th General Convention adopt the following statement on childbirth and abortion:
    All human life is sacred. Hence, it is sacred from its inception until death. The Church takes seriously its obligation to help form the consciences of its members concerning this sacredness. Human life, therefore, should be initiated only advisedly and in full accord with this understanding of the power to conceive and give birth which is bestowed by God.
    It is the responsibility of our congregations to assist their members in becoming informed concerning the spiritual, physiological and psychological aspects of sex and sexuality.
    The Book of Common Prayer affirms that "the birth of a child is a joyous and solemn occasion in the life of a family. It is also an occasion for rejoicing in the Christian community" (p 440). As Christians we also affirm responsible family planning.
    We regard all abortion as having a tragic dimension, calling for the concern and compassion of all the Christian community.
    While we acknowledge that in this country it is the legal right of every woman to have a medically safe abortion, as Christians we believe strongly that if this right is exercised, it should be used only in extreme situations. We emphatically oppose abortion as a means of birth control, family planning, sex selection, or any reason of mere convenience.
    In those cases where an abortion is being considered, members of this Church are urged to seek the dictates of their consciences in prayer, to seek the advice and counsel of members of the Christian community and where appropriate the sacramental life of this Church.
    Whenever members of this Church are consulted with regard to a problem pregnancy, they are to explore, with grave seriousness, with the person or persons seeking advice and counsel, as alternatives to abortion, other positive courses of action, including, but not limited to, the following possibilities: the parents raising the child; another family member raising the child; making the child available for adoption.
    It is the responsibility of members of this Church, especially the clergy, to become aware of local agencies and resources which will assist those faced with problem pregnancies.
    We believe that legislation concerning abortions will not address the root of the problem. We therefore express our deep conviction that any proposed legislation on the part of national or state governments regarding abortions must take special care to see that individual conscience is respected, and that the responsibility of individuals to reach informed decisions in this matter is acknowledged and honored.
  • Resolved, That, in the matter of requiring parental notification or consent when minor women seek safe means of acting on their decisions to seek termination of pregnancy, this 70th General Convention go on record as opposing efforts to legislate requiring such notification or consent, unless such notification or consent laws allow non-judicial bypass, in the event of the inability to notify parents or where family dysfunction may put such minors at serious physical, psychological or emotional risk, whereby such minors can make an informed decision with the notification or consent of some other responsible adult with experience and/or expertise, such as a clergy per-son, teacher, guidance counselor, mental health professional or other family member.
  • Resolved, That the 70th General Convention rejects conception for the purpose of providing fetal tissues for therapeutic or medical research usages; and be it further
    Resolved, That this 70th General Convention rejects the use of fetal tissues aborted for financial profit for use in therapy and medical research, and be it further
    Resolved, That the discussion concerning the use for therapeutic or medical research purposes of tissues from healthy fetuses, aborted to save the life of the mother, be continued during the next triennium.
  • Resolved, That the 71st General Convention of the Episcopal Church deplore the practice of forced abortions and forced sterilization in the families of the People's Republic of China; and be it further
    Resolved, That the Episcopal Church of the United States urge the U.S. government to consider all requests for political asylum by pregnant Chinese citizens and their families in the U. S. subject to forced abortion laws upon return to China; and be it further
    Resolved, That this 71st General Convention request the Secretary to communicate immediately the intention of this resolution to Vice President Gore who will head the U.S. delegation to the U.N. sponsored International Conference on Population and Development to be held in Cairo beginning September 5, 1994, and to the U.S. Secretary of State, and to Anglican Bishop Ding of the China Christian Council.
  • Resolved, That this 71st General Convention of the Episcopal Church reaffirms resolution C047 from the 69th General Convention, which states:
    All human life is sacred from its inception until death. The Church takes seriously its obligation to help form the consciences of its members concerning this sacredness. Human life, therefore, should be initiated only advisedly and in full accord with this understanding of the power to conceive and give birth which is bestowed by God. It is the responsibility of our congregations to assist their members in becoming informed concerning the spiritual and physiological aspects of sex and sexuality.
    The Book of Common Prayer affirms that "the birth of a child is a joyous and solemn occasion in the life of a family. It is also an occasion for rejoicing in the Christian community" (p. 440). As Christians we also affirm responsible family planning.
    We regard all abortion as having a tragic dimension, calling for the concern and compassion of all the Christian community.
    While we acknowledge that in this country it is the legal right of every woman to have a medically safe abortion, as Christians we believe strongly that if this right is exercised, it should be used only in extreme situations. We emphatically oppose abortion as a means of birth control, family planning, sex selection, or any reason of mere convenience.
    In those cases where an abortion is being considered, members of this Church are urged to seek the dictates of their conscience in prayer, to seek the advice and counsel of members of the Christian community and where appropriate, the sacramental life of this Church.
    Whenever members of this Church are consulted with regard to a problem pregnancy, they are to explore, with grave seriousness, with the person or persons seeking advice and counsel, as alternatives to abortion, other positive courses of action, including, but not limited to, the following possibilities: the parents raising the child; another family member raising the child; making the child available for adoption.
    It is the responsibility of members of this Church, especially the clergy, to become aware of local agencies and resources which will assist those faced with problem pregnancies.
    We believe that legislation concerning abortions will not address the root of the problem. We therefore express our deep conviction that any proposed legislation on the part of national or state governments regarding abortions must take special care to see that the individual conscience is respected, and that the responsibility of individuals to reach informed decisions in this matter is acknowledged and honored as the position of this Church; and be it further
    Resolved, That this 71st General Convention of the Episcopal Church express its unequivocal opposition to any legislative, executive or judicial action on the part of local, state or national governments that abridges the right of a woman to reach an informed decision about the termination of pregnancy or that would limit the access of a woman to safe means of acting on her decision.
  • Resolved, That this 72nd General Convention of the Episcopal Church express grave concern about the use in the third trimester of pregnancy of the procedure known as intact dilation and extraction (commonly called "partial birth abortion") except in extreme situations; and be it further
    Resolved, That the 72nd General Convention of the Episcopal Church continue to encourage its Dioceses and Congregations to give necessary aid and support to all pregnant women.
  • Resolved, That the 73rd General Convention commend the Standing Commission on National Concerns for the work of its End of Life Task Force in the last triennium, and ask the Standing Commission on National Concerns to address in the next triennium beginning of life concerns, such as the issue of babies born alive during induced abortions.
  • Resolved, That the 73rd General Convention of the Episcopal Church acknowledge that some men and women suffer from post-abortion stress; and be it further
    Resolved, That the General Convention of the Episcopal Church call for the Church to embrace and minister to men and women who have participated in an abortion and who may feel the need for pastoral and sacramental ministries of this church; and be it further
    Resolved, That the General Convention of the Episcopal Church urge parishes to become safe communities for women and men to talk about their abortion experience and to receive pastoral care directed at the healing process; and be it further
    Resolved, That the General Convention of the Episcopal Church encourage its clergy to become informed about the symptoms and behaviors associated with post-abortion stress; and be it further
    Resolved, That the General Convention of the Episcopal Church direct parishes to make available contact information for counseling agencies that offer programs to address post-abortion stress for all seeking help.
  • The official position of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America states that “abortion prior to viability [of a fetus] should not be prohibited by law or by lack of public funding” but that abortion after the point of fetal viability should be prohibited except when the life of a mother is threatened or when fetal abnormalities pose a fatal threat to a newborn.
  • The ELCA’s social statement entitled Abortion is grounded in the conviction that “Christians are united in Christ through faith with both the freedom and obligation to engage in serious moral deliberation.” (page 1) As ELCA social teaching it draws upon this community’s faith tradition that understands God’s life-giving purposes as pressing “beyond the usual ‘pro-life’ versus ‘pro-choice’ language.” (page 2)
  • A woman should not be morally obligated to carry the resulting pregnancy to term if the pregnancy occurs when both parties do not participate willingly in sexual inter-course. This is especially true in cases of rape and incest. This can also be the case in some situations in which women are so dominated and op-pressed that they have no choice regarding sexual intercourse and little access to contraceptives. Some conceptions occur under dehumanizing conditions that are contrary to God’s purposes.
    There are circumstances of extreme fetal abnormality, which will result in severe suffering and very early death of an infant. In such cases, after competent medical consultations, the parent(s) may responsibly choose to terminate the pregnancy. Whether they choose to continue or to end such pregnancies, this church supports the parent(s) with compassion, recognizing the struggle involved in the decision.
    Although abortion raises significant moral issues at any stage of fetal development, the closer the life in the womb comes to full term the more serious such issues become. When a child can survive outside a womb, it becomes possible for other people, and not only the mother, to nourish and care for the child. This church op-poses ending intrauterine life when a fetus is developed enough to live outside a uterus with the aid of reasonable and necessary technology. If a pregnancy needs to be interrupted after this point, every reasonable and necessary effort should be made to support this life, unless there are lethal fetal abnormalities indicating that the prospective newborn will die very soon.
  • It is among you that I see newly-begotten sons at times exposed to wild beasts and birds, or dispatched by the violent death of strangulation; and there are women who, by the use of medicinal potions, destroy the unborn life in their wombs, and murder the child before they bring it forth. These practices undoubtedly are derived from a custom established by your gods; Saturn, though he did not expose his sons, certainly devoured them.
    • Minucius Felix, "Octavius", p. 30; as quoted in Donovan, Colin B, [www.ewtn.com/expert/answers/abortio2.htm] "Abortion - Exocommunication"], “Early Teachings of the Church”, ‘’Eternal Word Television Network’’, Retrieved 2007-06-24.
  • I should like to meet the man who says or believes that initiation into Christianity is accompanied by the murder of an infant and the drinking of its blood. Do you think it possible that so tender, so small a body could receive such fatal wounds, that any one could have the heart to kill one just born, hardly entered upon life, and shed and drink its fresh young blood ? No one can believe this unless he himself were capable of doing so. I see your newly born sons exposed by you to wild beasts and birds of prey, or cruelly strangled to death. There are also women among you who, by taking certain drugs, destroy the beginnings of the future human being while it is still in the womb and are guilty of infanticide before they are mothers.
  • Locals describe Asheville as "half Christian, half New Age," a town where Baptists preach about Jesus' saving grace while mystics talk about the vortex entrance panels tucked in the mountains. There are a great many churches and Presbyterian summer camps here in Billy Graham's backyard, but there is also a lively population of retirees and artists and entrepreneurs opening craft shops and microbreweries. It thinks of itself as a tolerant town--to the point that the only facility in all of western North Carolina that publicly offers abortions is the city's Femcare clinic. It has a fence around it, cameras, alarms and a security guard because it was bombed in 1999 and had its windows shot out in 2003. "It really tested me," says Lorrie, the clinic's sole abortion provider, who, given past threats, prefers that her full name not be used. "If I didn't continue, the place would close. No one wants to go into abortion providing. But it's so important. I know that I'm providing a service to women that no one else will."
    Certainly not a crisis pregnancy center, she adds, and her voice takes on a tighter edge. Two days ago, she had a woman come into the clinic who was a wreck. She had seen an ad for a women's health center in Charlotte, which is two hours away, and called saying she wanted an abortion. "They said sure, we can help you," Lorrie says. "They told her she could even come in after hours so she wouldn't miss a day at work. She drove all the way to Charlotte." But when she got there, she realized her mistake. "They showed her pictures of aborted fetuses," Lorrie goes on. "She was a basket case when she got here. They had told her that if she had an abortion, she'd probably never be able to have a child." Now Lorrie is plainly furious. "These [pregnant] women are scared out of their minds," she says. "It doesn't change their minds--it just scares them. It's cruel and un-Christian to lie to patients."
  • The pregnancy-center movement may promote "loving support," but there are still other activists fighting a holy war. She had to call in a fire-department haz-mat team after an envelope arrived claiming to contain anthrax. Her neighbors were sent a newsletter with her picture: "It said, 'This woman is a killer and she lives in your neighborhood,'" Lorrie recalls. Her nurse-midwife Bonnie Frontino discovered her picture on what looked like WANTED posters all around her neighborhood; sheriffs began patrolling the area of her house. "I was really angry, but I was scared also," Frontino says. "You never know who's going to see this and think it's their moral duty to kill us."
    That was in the fall of 2002, and given the climate, it's hard to imagine the two sides of the abortion war having anything to say to each other. But Lorrie needed to do something and ended up calling Jeff Hutchinson, senior pastor of Trinity Presbyterian, a theologically conservative church that she knew the lead protester attended. "I said, 'I don't think you know what this member of your congregation is doing, but it's not Christian.'" Hutchinson and some church members agreed to meet Lorrie and her clinic colleagues at the Blue Moon café to have a conversation they thought might happen "only once in a blue moon."
  • U.S. Catholic voters are split on the issues of abortion and same-sex marriage between those who attend church at least twice a month and those who attend church less often, according to a survey released Tuesday (Oct. 14) by the Knights of Columbus.
    The survey found that both Catholics (73 percent) and non-Catholics (71 percent) agreed that America needs a "moral makeover." Non-practicing Catholics — defined as those who attend church less than twice a month — were more likely to support abortion rights and same-sex marriage than the American population at large.
    "Catholics should not be viewed as undifferentiated," said Carl Anderson, head of the Knights of Columbus. He said labeling Catholics as a monolithic voting block ignores the disparity between practicing Catholics, who lean more conservative, and non-practicing Catholics, who tend to be more liberal.
    Seventy-five percent of practicing Catholics oppose same-sex marriage, compared to 54% of non-practicing Catholics. Sixty-five percent of non-practicing Catholics identified themselves as "pro-choice" on abortion, compared to 36% of practicing Catholics.
    The survey revealed that 76% of pro-choice non-practicing Catholics said abortion should be significantly restricted. Anderson said the pro-choice label "needlessly polarizes the discussion of abortion."
    "The term 'pro-choice' is obsolete," he said.
  • Abortion is a direct attack on life that also wounds the woman and undermines the family. It is not only a private matter, it raises troubling and fundamental questions of fraternity, solidarity and inclusion in the human community. It is also a matter of social justice. We cannot ignore the reality that abortion rates are much higher among the poor and minorities, and that the procedure is regularly used to eliminate children who would be born with disabilities.
  • In his “Prophetic Eclogues”, Clement also quotes an anonymous writer of the mid second century, perhaps a Christian Platonist, who argues that the fetus has a soul and is a living person. His argument is based on the unusual idea that angels place the soul in the womb at the time of conception and the new embryo has a soul immediately. The main significance of this text, however, is not in its philosophical and theological speculation but in its connection of questions about the life of the fetus to the New Testament. Clement records that this writer’s proofs that the embryo is alive are the references in Luke 1 to John the Baptist and Jesus in their mothers’ wombs. He makes particular use of Luke 1:41: “And when Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb.” Though the writer focuses on the Baptist and does not even mention abortion, he laid the ground work for subsequent theological links between abortion and the Incarnation.
  • If anyone for the sake of fulfilling lust or in meditated hatred does something to a man or a woman, or gives them to drink, so that he cannot generate, or she conceive, or offspring be born, let it be held as homicide.
  • It often happens, Gregory states, that the Apostlic See seeks to discourage the audacity of the obstinate faithful with severe punishments.” However, he continues, the Church will forgive the-se same people if they are truly remorseful. Experience showed Gregory that the bull was too harsh and could not deliver its “hoped for fruit.” Not only had Sixtus’s bull “not diverted” the practice of abortion, but it had even provided the opportunity “for very many sacrileges and for the most grave sins and crimes: people went on aborting, and because travelling to Rome was not an option, they accepted or ignored their excommunication. Judging that the sword of ecclesiastical discipline should be wielded so that it “tends to the treatment and not the ruin of souls,” Gregory found it necessary to modify Sixtus’s bull, which “block[ed] the way of salvation”-something Gregory believed the Holy See could not allow, “no matter how gravely and enormously one sinned.” When abortion was neither “an issue of homicide or of an animate fetus,” Gregory thought it “more useful” to return to the less-harsh penalties of the holy canons and profane laws: those who abort an “inanimatus” will not be guilty of true homicide because they have not killed a human being in actuality ; clerics involved in abortions will have committed mortal sin but will not incur irregularity. Prelates and officials who are confronted with these cases are to act “as if [Sixtus’s] constitution ha never been published.” Confessors were once again given “full and free means” of absolving those who confessed to procuring abortion. By reinvesting confessors with this power, Gregory rejected a central tenet of Sixtus’s bull, and its strongest deterrent. However, regarding the abortion of an animated unborn and the corresponding penal-ties for clergy, Gregory believed that Sixtus’s bull ought to “endure entirely in its own strength.” Clergy were still be to be severely punished, but Gregory did not say how or to what extent.
    Sixtus’s bull “Against those who Procure Abortion” was in fore for less than three years. Abortion was again no longer unequivocally homicide, and absolution could be unproblematially given by confessors within the secrecy of the confessional. At the turn of the seventeenth century, authors of vernacular works on penance ignored Sixtus’s bull and Gregorys moderation in their discussions of abortion.
  • Women of all different ages, educational levels, racial and ethnic groups, social and economic classes and religions find it necessary to have an abortion when faced with accidental pregnancy, shows a new survey of nearly 10,000 abortion patients conducted by The Alan Guttmacher Institute in 1994-1995. About half of all U.S. women will have an abortion at some point in their lives. While abortion rates among young, unmarried, poor and minority women are the highest, rates among those of religious, racial and ethnic groups thought to oppose abortion are high as well. Key findings include:
    *two-thirds of women having abortions intend to have children in the future;
    *Catholic women have an abortion rate 29% higher than Protestant women;
    *one in five women having abortions are born-again or Evangelical Christians;
    *single women who live with their partner or have no religious affiliation are about four times as likely as other women their age to have an abortion;
    *nonwhites, women aged 18-24, Hispanics, separated and never-married women and those who have an annual income of less than $15,000 or have Medicaid are twice as likely as women in the general population to do so; and,
    *Hispanic women have a much higher abortion rate than white women, but their rate is not so high as that of black women.
  • Among unprogrammed Friends, a majority probably take a pro-choice stance. Even some who believe that life begins at conception believe that abortion should ultimately be an individual decision. A few FGC Friends are outspokenly pro-life, like one in New York who argued that nothing – rape, incest, danger to the life of the mother – justified abortion: “any of these situations can be transformed and healed by god.” Rachel MacNair,, a Missouri Friend, has served as president of Feminists for Life. Such Friends have prevented some yearly meetings from reaching unity on statements on abortion. But probably most unprogrammed Friends even some who are personally opposed, see abortion as an individual matter and any attempt at legal restriction as another example of patriarchal oppression of women or a violation of individual conscience. Thus when the Supreme Court’s 1989 ‘’Webster’’ decision, which sanctioned limits on abortion rights, coincided with FGC’s Annual Gathering protests were vociferous. When a group of pro-life Friends tried to meeting during the gathering, pro-choice activists disrupted them. Others began to talk of resurrecting the Underground Railroad to assist women seeking soon-to-be-illegal abortions. Such rhetoric had faded in the last few years, but support for abortion rights remains strong among unprogrammed Friends.
  • It may be that issues such as abortion are finally not susceptible to intellectual 'solution.'
    I do not mean to suggest that we cease trying to formulate the problem in the most responsible manner possible, but rather that our best recourse may be to watch how good men and women handle the tragic alternatives we often confront in abortion situations...
    For no amount of ethical reflection will ever change the basic fact that tragedy is a reality of our lives. A point is reached where we must have the wisdom to cease ethical reflection and affirm that certain issues indicate a reality more profound than the ethical.
  • The absolute prohibition of craniotomy by the Christian law succeeded so efficiently in checking the contrary practice of pagan ages that, according to Rodriguez de Castro the Arabian physicians were the only ones who advocated it.-Till our own time, Catholic theologians had been unanimous in teaching that it is never allowed to ill the living child in the interest of the mother. Sanchez in his standard work on marriage condemns it as an enormous crime: “nefas capital,” and a practice essentially bad: “intrinsice malum est.” St. Alhpnsus Liguori is no less decided in proscribing this disorder: “Si remedium directe tendat ad occisionem foetus…. Haex quidem nunquam licent.” The late Archbishop P.R. Kenrick declares emphatically that, without doubt, “pro re explorata haberi debet” it is ever allowed to destroy the living foetus for the sake of the mother, this being a murder and essentially bad: “nunquam licere pharmacum dare quod ad abortum dirigatur…, nec licere instrumentis fetus excidere ut per partes extrahatur: haex est enim hominis occisio, quae per se mala est; ideoque nequidem ad vitam matris servadam potest licere.”-The Fathers of the Tenth Provincial Council of Baltimore solemnly warn Catholic mothers against craniotomy; “no mother is allowed, under any circumstances, to permit the death of her unborn infant, not even for the sake of preserving her own life, because the end never justifies the means; and we must not do evil that good may come from it.” This charge of the Catholic Bishops was a reasonable one; for whilst formerly the deliberate destruction of the living foetus, preliminary to the extraction of its mutilated body was, under Christian civilization, a rare exception, it had, for the last fifty years, gradually become a regular operation very frequently practiced, especially in Anglo-Saxon countries, supported by the authority of eminent obstetricians.
  • Abortion is an ugly thing, a debasing thing, a thing which inevitably brings remorse and sorrow and regret.
    • Gordon B. Hinckley; as quoted in “Abortion“, Churchofjesuschrist.org.
  • “While we denounce it, we make allowance in such circumstances as when pregnancy is the result of incest or rape, when the life or health of the mother is judged by competent medical authority to be in serious jeopardy, or when the fetus is known by competent medical authority to have serious defects that will not allow the baby to survive beyond birth.
    But such instances are rare, and there is only a negligible probability of their occurring. In these circumstances, those who face the question are asked to consult with their local ecclesiastical leaders and to pray in great earnestness, receiving a confirmation through prayer before proceeding.
    There is a far better way.
    If there is no prospect of marriage to the man involved, leaving the mother alone, there remains the very welcome option of placing the child for adoption by parents who will love it and care for it. There are many such couples in good homes who long for a child and cannot have one”
    • Gordon B. Hinckley, Conference Report, Oct. 1998, 91–92; or Ensign, Nov. 1998, 71.
  • Abortions were known and practiced in biblical times, although the methods differed significantly from modern ones. The second-century Greek physician Soranus, for example, recommended fasting, bloodletting, vigorous jumping and carrying heavy loads as ways to end a pregnancy.
    Soranus’ treatise on gynecology acknowledged different schools of thought on the topic. Some medical practitioners forbade the use of any abortive methods. Others permitted them, but not in cases in which they were intended to cover up an adulterous liaison or simply to preserve the mother’s good looks.
    In other words, the Bible was written in a world in which abortion was practiced and viewed with nuance. Yet the Hebrew and Greek equivalents of the word “abortion” do not appear in either the Old or New Testament of the Bible. That is, the topic simply is not directly mentioned.
  • The absence of an explicit reference to abortion, however, has not stopped its opponents or proponents from looking to the Bible for support of their positions.
    Abortion opponents turn to several biblical texts that, taken together, seem to suggest that human life has value before birth. For example, the Bible opens by describing the creation of humans “in the image of God”: a way to explain the value of human life, presumably even before people are born. Likewise, the Bible describes several important figures, including the prophets Jeremiah and Isaiah and the Christian Apostle Paul, as having being called to their sacred tasks since their time in the womb. Psalm 139 asserts that God “knit me together in my mother’s womb.”
    However, abortion opponents are not the only ones who can appeal to the Bible for support. Supporters can point to other biblical texts that would seem to count as evidence in their favor.
    Exodus 21, for example, suggests that a pregnant woman’s life is more valuable than the fetus’s. This text describes a scenario in which men who are fighting strike a pregnant woman and cause her to miscarry. A monetary fine is imposed if the woman suffers no other harm beyond the miscarriage. However, if the woman suffers additional harm, the perpetrator’s punishment is to suffer reciprocal harm, up to life for life.
  • In the response to the Supreme Court’s decision, Christians on both sides of the partisan divide have appealed to any number of texts to assert that their particular brand of politics is biblically backed. However, if they claim the Bible specifically condemns or approves of abortion, they are skewing the textual evidence to fit their position.
    Of course, Christians can develop their own faith-based arguments about modern political issues, whether or not the Bible speaks directly to them. But it is important to recognize that although the Bible was written at a time when abortion was practiced, it never directly addresses the issue.
  • You who are wives and mothers are the anchors of the family. You bear the children. What an enormous and sacred responsibility that is. I am told that between 1972 and 1990 there were 27 million abortions in the United States alone. What is happening to our appreciation of the sanctity of human life? Abortion is an evil, stark and real and repugnant, which is sweeping over the earth. I plead with the women of this Church to shun it, to stand above it, to stay away from those compromising situations which make it appear desirable. There may be some few circumstances under which it can occur, but they are extremely limited and for the most part improbable. You are the mothers of the sons and daughters of God, whose lives are sacred. Safeguarding them is a divinely given responsibility which cannot be lightly brushed aside”
    • Gordon B. Hinckley, “Walking in the Light of the Lord,” Ensign, Nov. 1998, 99.
  • Christian women with male concubines, on account of their prominent ancestry and great property, the so-called faithful want no children from slaves or lowborn commoners, they use drugs of sterility [oral contraceptives] or bind themselves tightly in order to expel a fetus which has already been engendered [abortion].
  • He [Pope Callistus] permitted females, if they were unwedded and burned with passion at an age at all events unbecoming, or if they were not disposed to overturn their own dignity througha legal marriage, that they might have whomsoever they would choose as a bed-fellow, whether slave or free, and that a woman, though not legally married, might consider such a companion as a husband. Whence women, reputed believers, began to resort to drugs for producing sterility, and to grid themselves round, so as to expel what was being conceived on account of their not wishing to have a child either by a slave or by a paltry fellow, for the sake of their family and excessive wealth. Behold, into how great impiety that lawless one has proceeded, in inculating adultery and murder at the same time! And withal, after such audacious acts, they, lost to all shame, attempt to call themselves a Catholic Church.” (Quasten, 1953, p. 206)
  • Outside Catholicism, within Christianity as with other religions, abortion is seen as (reluctantly) per-missible for a range of reasons, generally in the first three months of pregnancy. This includes the Protestant churches, Judaism and Islam. In spite of this, it is extreme elements in the Catholic Church and, particularly in the US, fundamentalist Protestantism which have dominated public debate on this issue, often employing tactics and language which amount to incitement. Last month in a local newspa-per the Bishop of Rockford, Illinois, Dr Thomas Doran, wrote: "We know, for instance, that adherents of one political party [ Democratic Party] would place us squarely on the road to suicide as a people ... The seven 'sacraments' of their secular culture are abortion, buggery, contraception, divorce, euthanasia, feminism of the radical type, and genetic experimentation and mutilation ... Since the mid-1940s we have been accustomed to look askance at Germans. They were protagonists of the Second World War and so responsible for 50 million deaths. We say, 'How awful,' and yet in our country we have, for the most part, allowed the party of death and the court system it has produced to eliminate, since 1973, upwards of 40 million of our fellow citizens without allowing them to see the light of day. They have done their best to make ours a true culture of death. No doubt, we shall soon outstrip the Nazis in doing human beings to death."
  • The expulsion of an embryo or fetus before it can live on its own. Common use often distinguished between abortion and miscarriage, the former being defined as the deliberate and induced emptying of a pregnancy uterus, the latter being considered as the accidental and unavoidable interruption of pregnancy. The distinction between abortion and miscarriage is not made in the Bible; there the terms are used in a broader and interchangeable sense. The Hebrew sha-khal, meaning, “suffer an abortion” (Ex 23:26), is also rendered “bereave” (De 32:25), ‘bereave of children’ (Le 26:22), ‘miscarry’ (Ho 9:14), and “prove fruitless” (Mal 3:11). The Hebrew word ‘’yoh-tse’th, rendered abortion in Psalm 144:14 is from a root meaning “come out.” (Compare Ge 27: 30.) The expressions “miscarriage” and “one prematurely born” (Ps 58:8; Ec 6:3) render the Hebrew word ‘’ne’phel’’, which comes from the root ‘’na-phal’’, meaning “fall”.-Compare Isa 26:18.
    Unavoidable abortion or miscarriage may be caused by accident, infectious disease, mental or physical stress and strain, or because of a general organic weakness on the part of the mother. The waters near Jericho were death dealing, causing miscarriages, until Jehovah’s prophet Elisha healed them. -2Ki 2:19-22
    Deliberateely to induce abortion or miscarriage by artificial means, by the use of drugs, or by medical operation, the sole purpose of which is to avoid the birth of an unwanted child, is an act of high crime in the sight of God. Life as a precious gift from God is sacred. Hence God’s law to Moses protected the life of an unborn baby against more than criminal abortion, for if in a fracas between men a pregnant woman suffered an accident fatal to her or the child, “then you must give soul for soul.” (Ex 21:22-25) Of course, before applying that penalty, the circumstances and degree of deliberateness were taken into consideration by the judges. (Compare Nu 35:22-24, 31). But emphasizing the seriousness of any deliberate attempt to cause injury, Dr. J Glenn comments: “The viable embryo is in the uterus IS a human individual, and therefore destroying it, is a violation of the sixth commandment.”
    The Bible and Modern Medicine, 1963, p. 176.
    Properly viewed, the fruitage of the womb is a blessing of Jehovah. (Le 26:9 Ps 127:3) Hence in promising to prosper Israel, God gave assurance of successful culmination of pregnancy and the bringing forth of children, saying: “Neither a woman suffering an abortion nor a barren woman will exist in your land.” (Ex 23:26) As indicated in the prayer of the righteous, on the other hand, evidence of God’s disfavor to his enemies would be their having miscarrying wombs and their becoming like miscarriages that never see the sun. –Ps 58:8; Ho 9:14.
    Job in his misery contemplated that it would have been better had he been “a hidden miscarriage.” “Why from the womb did I proceed to die?” this tormented man cried out. (Job 3:11-16) Solomon, too, reasoned that a prematurely expelled fetus is better off than the person who lives a long time but who never comes to enjoy life. – Ec 6:3.
    Contagious abortion, a disease characterized by premature birth, may occur among animals such as cattle, horses, sheep, and goats. Accidental abortion due to neglect or disease of domestic animals had also been known since the days of the patriarchs Jacob and Job. – Ge31:38; Job 21:10.
  • I cannot bring myself to speak of the many virgins who daily fall and are lost to the bosom of the church, their mother: stars over which the proud foe sets up his throne, Isaiah 14:13 and rocks hollowed by the serpent that he may dwell in their fissures. You may see many women widows before wedded, who try to conceal their miserable fall by a lying garb. Unless they are betrayed by swelling wombs or by the crying of their infants, they walk abroad with tripping feet and heads in the air. Some go so far as to take potions, that they may insure barrenness, and thus murder human beings almost before their conception. Some, when they find themselves with child through their sin, use drugs to procure abortion, and when (as often happens) they die with their offspring, they enter the lower world laden with the guilt not only of adultery against Christ but also of suicide and child murder. Yet it is these who say: 'Unto the pure all things are pure;' Titus 1:15 my conscience is sufficient guide for me. A pure heart is what God looks for. Why should I abstain from meats which God has created to be received with thanksgiving? 1 Timothy 4:3 And when they wish to appear agreeable and entertaining they first drench themselves with wine, and then joining the grossest profanity to intoxication, they say Far be it from me to abstain from the blood of Christ. And when they see another pale or sad they call her wretch or Manichæan; quite logically, indeed, for on their principles fasting involves heresy. When they go out they do their best to attract notice, and with nods and winks encourage troops of young fellows to follow them. Of each and all of these the prophet's words are true: You have a whore's forehead; you refuse to be ashamed. Jeremiah 3:3 Their robes have but a narrow purple stripe, it is true; and their head-dress is somewhat loose, so as to leave the hair free. From their shoulders flutters the lilac mantle which they call ma-forte; they have their feet in cheap slippers and their arms tucked up tight-fitting sleeves. Add to these marks of their profession an easy gait, and you have all the virginity that they possess. Such may have eulogizers of their own, and may fetch a higher price in the market of perdition, merely because they are called virgins. But to such virgins as these I prefer to be displeasing.
  • The seed gradually takes shape in the uterus, and it [abortion] does not count as killing until the individual elements have acquired their external appearance and their limbs.
  • I do not hesitate to proclaim before you and before the world that all human life from the moment of conception and through all subsequent stages is sacred, because human life is created in the image and likeness of God. Nothing surpasses the greatness or dignity of a human person. Human life is not just an idea or an abstraction; human life is the concrete reality of a being that lives, that acts, that grown and develops; human life is the concrete reality of a being that is capable of love, and of service to humanity.
    If a person's right to life is violated at the moment in which he is first conceived in his mother's womb, an indirect blow is struck also at the whole of the moral order ... Human life is precious because it is the gift of God, a God whose love is infinite; and when God gives life, it is forever.
    • Pope John Paul II's homily at the Capitol Mall in Washington, D.C., on October 7, 1979. quoted in "Human Life is the Gift of God." The Wanderer, October 18, 1979, pages 1 and 9.
  • The unborn human being's right to live is one of the inalienable human rights. God, the Lord of Life, has given man the exalted task of preserving life, and this must be carried out in a way which is worthy of mankind. From the conception, therefore, life must be protected with the greatest care. Abortion is the taking of a child's life and is a repulsive crime.
    • Pope John Paul II, September 9, 1985, Knight's Hall, Vaduz, Liechtenstein.
  • If you want equal justice for all, and true freedom and lasting peace, then, America, defend life! All the great causes that are yours today will have meaning only to the extent that you guarantee the right to life and protect the human person.
    Every human person no matter how vulnerable or helpless, no matter how young or how old, no matter how healthy, handicapped, or sick, no matter how useful or productive for society is a being of inestimable worth created in the image and likeness of God. This is the dignity of America, the reason she exists, the condition for her survival yes, the ultimate test of her greatness: To respect every human person, especially the weakest and defenseless ones, those as yet unborn.
    • Pope John Paul II, September 19, 1987, Detroit, Michigan. Quoted by Gary Potter. "Pope's Farewell Message ... "America, Defend Life!"" The Wanderer, October 1, 1987, page 4.
  • The moral gravity of procured abortion is apparent in all its truth if we recognize that we are dealing with murder and, in particular when we consider the specific elements involved. The one eliminated is a human being at the very beginning of life. No one more absolutely innocent could be imagined"
    • Pope John Paul II, Enc. Evangelium Vitae, March 25, 1995, n. 58.
  • Early Christians condemned abortion before ‘’’ensoulment’’, the beginning of life in the womb. Like Aristotle, St. Augustine (AD 354-430) believed that the emergence of the fetus came 40 days after conception for a boy and 80 days afterward for a girl. The first reference to abortion as a homicide is contained in the authoritative collection of canon law accepted by the Church in 1140. At the beginning of the thirteenth century, Pope Innocent II wrote that quickening was when a woman first fees the fetus move within her. This moment was when abortion became a homicide; prior to quickening it was a less serious sin. In 1670 an English judge, Sir Matthew Hale, determined that an abortionist was guilty of murder if a woman died as a result of an abortion; no mention was made of the fetus.
  • Abortion is a growing evil that we speak against. Certainly the terrible sin of premeditated abortion would be hard to justify. It is almost inconceivable that an abortion would ever be committed to save face or embarrassment, to save trouble or inconvenience, or to escape responsibility. How could one submit to such an operation or be party in any way by financing or encouraging? If special rare cases could be justified, certainly they would be rare indeed. We place it high on the list of sins against which we strongly warn the people.
    • Spencer W. Kimball as quoted in “Abortion“, Churchofjesuschrist.org.
  • There is much in the Catholic tradition that supports the pro-choice position. There is a mistaken belief that the Catholic Church has spoken definitively and unchangingly on abortion. However, a careful reading of church documents shows that while the prohibition of abortion is a serious teaching, room remains for Catholics to support the legalization of abortion and even its morality in a wide range of circumstances. And an examination of core principles of Catholic theology reveals a tradition that respects the capacity of individuals to make moral decisions.
    In the case of legality, a Catholic can point to no less an authority than Thomas Aquinas, who held that it was not necessary for the church to seek laws that conform to all its moral teachings. Aquinas points out that where a law against an evil is not likely to be enforced, greater evil would ensue if it were passed—the overall disrespect for authority that occurs when laws are not enforced. Moreover, at the second Vatican Council the church accepted the principle that laws must not prevent people of other faiths from practicing their faith. Since many religions support a woman’s right to choose, laws against abortion would violate their rights.
    Yet the church continues to turn a blind eye to its own texts and history in insisting that its current position on abortion leaves no room for dissent or individual choice.
    • Frances Kissling, [1], Catholics for a Free Choice, Written in 1999, Posted May 26, 2006
  • Abortion must be considered one of the most revolting and sinful practices in this day, when we are witnessing the frightful evidence of permissiveness leading to sexual immorality.
    • Spencer W. Kimball; (Priesthood Bulletin, February 1973, p. 1.)” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1974, 8; or Ensign, May 1974, 7); as quoted in “Abortion“, Churchofjesuschrist.org.
  • IRD president Diane Knippers, an Episcopalian, said that “the church’s proper role in this issue is to offer godly counsel and ministry to persons involved in crisis pregnancies. But in this case some...are adopting the strident arguments of the secular culture.”
  • Until just over 100 years ago, the Vatican's attitude towards abortion was relatively tolerant.
    • Penney Kome. "Woman's Place." Homemaker's Magazine, April 1976. Page 21; as quoted in Donovan, Colin B, [www.ewtn.com/expert/answers/abortio2.htm "Abortion - Exocommunication"], Eternal Word Television Network, Retrieved 2007-06-24.
  • When it came to another topic still central to contemporary bioethical debate – that of abortion – the historical position of the Church has been somewhat ambiguous. While the practice was standardly condemned in the early Christian literature, its wrongness was often regarded as a matter of degree. Following Aristotle, various thinkers –including Thomas Aquinas – thought that only the abortion of an animated fetus constituted homicide. Animation was presumed to occur at 40 days for male fetuses, and 90 days for female fetuses. By and large, this view remained dominant until 1869, when Pius IX declared all direct abortions homicide, regardless of the fetal stage of development.
    • “A companion to bioethics”, edited by Helga Kushe and Peter Singer, “Blackwell Publishing Company”, (2009), “What is Bioethics? A Historical Introduction”, p.5.
  • How do children of light respond to the “shadow of death” brought about by Roe v. Wade? The writer to the Hebrews offers two ways. “Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated” (10:32-33). Children of light are to “stand against” and “stand with.”
  • How we define pregnancy and life – and what types of behaviors or actions can be taken to prevent or end said life/not life – remains one of the most important feminist struggles of our time.
    Luckily, the recently released book Sex and Herbs and Birth Control, written by Ann Hibner Koblitz, is available for anyone interested in gaining a better understanding of the rich and complex history surrounding women’s reproductive agency and choices. Although we like to imagine that people in the past were more conservative in their views on reproduction than our so-called progressive and “liberal” views, Koblitz illustrates historical (and religious) precedents for abortion –or at the very least, a much more relaxed acceptance of “restoring menses” for women before mid-20th century. This book, which attests to the ingenuity of women in controlling their fertility, represents a brilliant interdisciplinary approach to women’s history and the history of reproductive regulation in the U.S. and Western Europe. The author offers a nuanced critique of the ways in which women have been and continue to be silenced by victimization narratives from anti-abortion, pro-choice activists, medical practitioners, and politicians alike in the fight to control women’s reproductive behaviors. Koblitz moves the debate beyond the discursive woman / dead fetus binary and shows how women historically had many effective means of reproductive control, at least until those knowledge systems and methods were lost, hidden, or legislated away due to shifting politics and cultural beliefs.
    In general, the author lays out how cultures (historically and contemporarily) vary in their beliefs about the precise definition of pregnancy. The idea that “life” and pregnancy begin at the moment of conception is a rather recent belief, and before the mid-20th century women might not have considered themselves pregnant until sometime in the second trimester. According to Koblitz, the variation in pregnancy definitions allowed ample moral and ethical ‘wiggle’ room for women to take matters into their own hands, so to speak. Regardless of the legality of what was deemed abortion at the time, many women did have access to a number of resources to restore menses (i.e., to abort a fetus) or otherwise control their fertility (with pre-conception methods) available to them. Such resources included (now lost) herbal knowledge passed down from generations of women before them, to midwives with pessaries and uterine sounds, to (less effective) patent medications and douches. This book examines each of these methods and portrays women as active agents controlling their fertility rather than helpless victims of back alley abortionists or ignorant dupes to patent medicine hucksters.
  • The idea that there is variation in the definition of pregnancy between cultures and historical periods stands out as an extremely valuable fact considering that women’s abilities to control their fertility are consistently part of a larger national public debate, espeically in the U.S. In fact, the recent Supreme Court ruling on Burwell v. Hobby Lobby (2014) effectively allowed for “closely-held” corporations to claim exemption from the birth control mandate of the ACA due to so-called religious beliefs. The idea that a Christian-run corporation can “believe” that “morning after” birth control pills and intrauterine devices (IUDs) work as abortifacients reveals just some of the variations in beliefs about what counts as the beginning of pregnancy and what this means for pre- and post-conception regulation. The current belief being adopted by the political Right and Evangelical Christians is that pregnancy begins at the exact moment a sperm cell has joined with an egg cell; therefore, many believe that anything that interferes with any process after that moment is ostensibly an abortifacient. Koblitz’s book provides a detailed history of how these ideas have developed and shifted over the years and who has constantly lost-out. (Here’s a hint, it’s women!)
    Some of the most fascinating passages in this book include the author’s critiques of medical science, specifically the rise of forensic pathology as a field and its disastrous consequences for women’s reproductive choices. For example, Koblitz writes that “late 19th-and early 20th-century forensic pathologists and gynecologists often claimed far more certainty about their ability to detect criminal interference with pregnancy than was warranted” and used this “knowledge” to legitimate their field and carve out a space for themselves as “experts” in legal proceedings (page 156). Koblitz also takes issue with the field of demography, arguing that demographers have erased women’s roles as agents of demographic change (page 202). Koblitz’s most thought-provoking point, in my opinion, is her critique of Margaret Sanger. Coming in stark contrast to many feminists who view Sanger as a champion for women’s reproductive choice, Koblitz speculates that “it is possible that the choices she made and tactics she employed contributed to the deteriorating conditions under which abortions (other than therapeutic ones) were performed in those years” (page 183).
  • Those who have strived to kill or have assaulted in mothers’ wombs by any potions what was wrongly conceived [and] made in adultery, communion is to be granted to adulterers of either se after a period of seven years, provided that they persist in lamentation and humility for all their life, it is not allowed for them to recover the office of ministry, but from the moment of receiving communion they must number among the chorus of penitents. For the poisoners themselves communion may only be granted at death, if they have lamented their crimes for their entire life.
  • Since 1987, the Life Chain has equipped the local Church to lead our nation in prayer for the unborn. Our fight is life, our weapon is prayer, and our leaders are pastors, priests, and disciples of Jesus nationwide.
    From its small beginnings as a local witness in Southern California, Life Chains have spread to more than 2,000 cities across North America. Although Life Chains occur year-round, the first Sunday of each October is National Life Chain Sunday.
  • In the Roman Empire, abortion was so frequent and widespread that it was remarked upon by a number of authors. Ovid, Juvenal, and Seneca all noted the existence of abortion, and the natural historian Pliny listed prescriptions for drugs that would accomplish it. Legal regulation of abortion in the Roman Empire, however, was virtually nonexistent. Roman law explicitly held that the: child in the belly of its mother” was not a person, and hence abortion was not murder. After the beginning of the Christian era, such legal regulation of abortion as existed in the Roman Empire was designed primarily to protect the rights of fathers rather than the rights of embryos.
    Similarly, although early Christians were actively pro-natalist and their denounced abortion, contraception, homosexuality, and castration as all being morally equivalent to murder, the legal and moral treatment of these acts-and particularly the treatment of abortion-was never consistent with the rhetoric. For instance, induced abortion is ignored in the most central Judeo-Christian writings: it is not mentioned in the Christian or the Jewish Bible, or in the Jewish Mishnah or Talmud. Abortion, it is true, was denounced in early Christian writings such as the Didache and by early Christian authors such as Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, and St Basil. But church councils, such as those of Elvira and Ancrya, which were called to specify the legal groundwork for Christian communities, outlined penalties only for those women who committed abortion after a sexual crime such as adultery or prostitution. Most importantly, perhaps, from the third century A.D. onward, Christian thought was divided as to whether early abortion-the abortion of an “unformed” embryo-was in fact murder. Different sources of church teachings and laws simply did not agree on the penalties for abortion or on whether early abortion is wrong.
  • Ivo of Chartre, a prominent church scholar, condemned abortion but held that abortion of the “unformed” embryo was not homicide, and his work was the beginning of a new consensus. Fifty years later Gratian, in a work which became the basis of canon law for the next seven hundred years, reiterated this stand.
    The “formation” of an embryo (sometimes known as “animation” or “vivifation”) was held to happen at forty days for a male embryo and at eighty days for a female embryo; the canonist roger Huster argues that in questions of ambiguity the embryo was considered female. In this connection is it important to remember an intriguing fact of human embryology: ‘’all’’ embryos start off morphologically female and remain so until the sixth week of pregnancy: and they continue to appear female to the naked eye until at least the fourth month of pregnancy. In practice, then, Gratian’s rulings, which remained intact until the nineteenth century, meant that even Catholic moral theology and canon law-which were, in effect, the moral and legal standard for the Western world until the coming of the Reformation and secular courts-did not treat what we would now call first trimester abortions as murder. (And given the difficulty in ascertaining when pregnancy actually began, in practice this toleration must have included later abortions as well.)
    Nineteenth-century America, therefore, did not inherit an unqualified opposition to abortion, which John Noonan has called an “a most absolute value in history.” On the contrary, American legal and moral practice at the beginning of the nineteenth century was quite consistent with the preceding Catholic canon law: early abortions were legally ignored and only late abortions could be prosecuted. (In fact, there is some disagreement as to whether or not even late abortion were ever prosecuted under the common law tradition.)
    Ironically, then, the much-maligned 1973 Supreme Court decision on abortion, ‘’Roe v. Wade’’, which divided the legal regulation of abortion by trimesters, was much more in line with the traditional treatment of abortion than most Americans appreciate. But that in itself is an interesting fact. The brief history of abortion just outlined, as well as the Supreme Court decision, seems very much at odds with what many Americans-and not only those with pro-life sympathies-have believed: that until recently abortion as always treated both popularly and legally as the moral equivalent of murder.
  • Abortion was only declared illegal and condemned by the Roman Catholic Church in the 1800's. The Catholic Church condoned abortion until the fetus "quickened," meaning the time when a pregnant woman first feels the unborn child moving.
    • Ann Lukits. "The Agony of Abortion." The Kingston, Ontario Whig Standard, September 24, 1983, page 1; as quoted in Donovan, Colin B, [www.ewtn.com/expert/answers/abortio2.htm "Abortion - Exocommunication"], ‘’Eternal Word Television Network’’, Retrieved 2007-06-24.
  • The popes have taught that abortion is always forbidden, and the church hierarchy has held to a doctrine that strongly opposes it. Even so, grounds for permitting abortion exist in the Catholic tradition, and many Catholic theological authorities permit abortion in a variety of situations. There is even a pro-choice Catholic saint, the 15th century archbishop of Florence, St. Antoninus. He approved of early abortions when needed to save the life of the mother, a huge category in his day.
  • In the course of history, the Fathers of the Church, her Pastors and her Doctors have taught the same doctrine—the various opinions on the infusion of the spiritual soul did not introduce any doubt about the illicitness of abortion. It is true that in the Middle Ages, when the opinion was generally held that the spiritual soul was not present until after the first few weeks, a distinction was made in the evaluation of the sin and the gravity of penal sanctions. Excellent authors allowed for this first period more lenient case solutions which they rejected for following periods. But it was never denied at that time that procured abortion, even during the first days, was objectively grave fault.This condemnation was in fact unanimous. Among the many documents it is sufficient to recall certain ones. The first Council of Mainz in 847 reconsidered the penalties against abortion which had been established by preceding Councils. It decided that the most rigorous penance would be imposed "on women who procure the elimination of the fruit conceived in their womb."
    • Council of Mainz, Canon 21 (Mansi, 14, 909); as cited in Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, “Declaration on Procured Abortion” (Vatican City Liberia Editrice Vaticana, 1974), no 7.
  • If any woman has fornicated and killed the infant who was subsequently born, or has strived to have an abortion and kill what has been conceived, or indeed has taken apins so that she does not conceive, whether in adultery or legitimate marriage, earlier canons decreed that such women are to receive communion at death. Out of clemency, however, we judge that such women, or those women complicit in these same crimes, are to undertake ten years of penance.
  • I will argue, as Beverly Harrison has argued, that with the Reformation these European generated denominations set themselves upon a trajectory leading away from hierarchical forms of doctrinal control. By the implication of their theologies, and by the ongoing experience of history, this trajectory continues to lead toward the development of communities where theological discourse is grounded in the embodied experiences of all the community’s people, and others. This reading of the Protestant experience takes note of the impact on issues of contraception and abortion of admitting new voices: first, married men; later, women and ex-slaves. Today, the economically poor and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered persons add their struggle for inclusion to the as yet incomplete inclusion of white women and people of color. This reading of Protestant history argues that the clear movement of Protestantism has been in the direction of accepting the importance of family planning and the use of contraceptives, as well as, in the twentieth century, support for legal access to abortion, although with qualifications regarding the moral justification of specific acts of abortion. The hope of reformation is that our of inclusive communities of embodies discourse a shared discernment of a truth might arise that is more inclusive and more just and more akin to the will of God.
    • Maguire, Daniel C. (3 April 2003). "Sacred rights: the case for contraception and abortion in world religions". Oxford University Press. p. 83. ISBN 978-0-19-516001-7. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
  • Abortion, which has increased enormously, causes one to ask, ‘Have we strayed so far from God’s second great commandment—love thy neighbor—that a baby in a womb no longer qualifies to be loved—at least as a mother’s neighbor?’ Even so, violence to an unborn child does not justify other violence!” (
    • Neal A. Maxwell in Conference Report, Apr. 1993, 94–95; or Ensign, May 1993, 76).
  • From the vehement assertions of some on the “pro-life” side of the abortion debate, it could be assumed their views have always been Catholic teaching. It is not so.
    In fact some of the church’s greatest teachers and saints believed no homicide was involved if abortion took place before the foetus was infused with a soul, known as “ensoulment”. This was believed to occur at “quickening”, when the mother detected the child move for the first time in her womb. In 1591, Pope Gregory XIV determined it at 166 days of pregnancy, almost 24 weeks.
    The Catholic Church’s current position on abortion was established only 143 years ago, in 1869. Then Pope Pius IX outlawed abortion from the moment of conception.
    This is said to have been influenced by science’s discovery of the ovum in 1827 and the human fertilisation process in the 1830s, neither of which gave any indication as to when ensoulment took place.
  • What both sides can agree on is that human life begins at conception. Where there is disagreement is on whether that collection of chemical elements constitutes a person. It has been estimated that up to 55 per cent of fertilised ovums miscarry soon after conception. If it is held that the fertilised ovum is a person why were/are none of these “people” afforded any funeral rites?
    But to look at the issue from another perspective, in his 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae (the Gospel of Life) Pope John Paul II wrote that “no one can renounce the right to self-defence” and that “legitimate defence can be not only a right but a grave duty . . .”
    He continued “unfortunately it happens that the need to render the aggressor incapable of causing harm sometimes involves taking his life. In this case, the fatal outcome is attributable to the aggressor whose action brought it about, even though he may not be morally responsible because of a lack of the use of reason”.
    He is referring there to someone who, because insane, is morally innocent.
    A foetus is morally innocent and yet can be a direct threat to the life of its mother. Has she “not only a right but a grave duty” to protect herself?
  • The study of the thinking and practice of the early church, though often neglected by modern Protestants, frequently provides the Christian today with valuable insights and information. For one thing, such study deepens one’s appreciation of the strength of religious convictions that enabled believers of that age to stand firmly against conforming to the ethics and more of the surrounding culture. Especially noteworthy in this respect was the opposition of the early church to contemporary practices of abortion. It is really remarkable how uniform and how pronounced was the early Christian opposition to abortion.
  • When does human life begin? What are the ethical, legal and medical issues about the unborn human material, from conception through to birth?
    There is no single definitive Christian answer.
  • There are many moral theories and contemporary understandings of what the unborn is, and what its status is. In particular, does an unborn human have rights? Current law makes it illegal for abortions to be carried out on a fetus over 24 weeks old.
    Does that mean a fetus that is 25 weeks is more significant than one of 23 weeks? Where does one say that the unborn human material becomes more significant?
    The stance of the report is that there is a gradual increase in the moral significance of a fetus, marked by milestones such as the development of the primitive streak. Those who take an absolutist view would disagree.
  • The beginning of life and the ending of life are the God-given boundaries of human existence. While individuals have always had some degree of control over when they would die, they now have the awesome power to determine when and even whether new individuals will be born.
    Our belief in the sanctity of unborn human life makes us reluctant to approve abortion. But we are equally bound to respect the sacredness of the life and well-being of the mother, for whom devastating damage may result from an unacceptable pregnancy. In continuity with past Christian teaching, we recognize tragic conflicts of life with life that may justify abortion, and in such cases we support the legal option of abortion under proper medical procedures. We cannot affirm abortion as an acceptable means of birth control, and we unconditionally reject it as a means of gender selection.
    We oppose the use of late-term abortion known as dilation and extraction (partial-birth abortion) and call for the end of this practice except when the physical life of the mother is in danger and no other medical procedure is available, or in the case of severe fetal anomalies incompatible with life. We call all Christians to a searching and prayerful inquiry into the sorts of conditions that may warrant abortion. We commit our Church to continue to provide nurturing ministries to those who terminate a pregnancy, to those in the midst of a crisis pregnancy, and to those who give birth. We particularly encourage the Church, the government, and social service agencies to support and facilitate the option of adoption. (See ¶ 161.K.)
    Governmental laws and regulations do not provide all the guidance required by the informed Christian conscience. Therefore, a decision concerning abortion should be made only after thoughtful and prayerful consideration by the parties involved, with medical, pastoral, and other appropriate counsel.
    • The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church – 2004; as qtd. in "Abortion". The United Methodist Church. Archived from the original on 2012-07-09. Retrieved 2007-06-08.
  • The Catholic Church is not consistent in its teaching. From 1211 to 1869, it recognised two types of foetus. It taught that the male foetus became animated at 40 days, and the female at 80 days. Furthermore, until 1869 the Church allowed abortion until quickening.
    • Diane Munday of the British pro-abortion group "Association for the Reform of the Abortion Law." Quoted in Colin Francome's Abortion Freedom: A Worldwide Movement. London: George Allen & Unwin Publishers, 1984, pages 89 and 90; as quoted in Donovan, Colin B, [www.ewtn.com/expert/answers/abortio2.htm "Abortion - Exocommunication"], Eternal Word Television Network, Retrieved 2007-06-24.
  • Abortion has been catapulted into the forefront of the ethical problems confronting evangelicals today. The issue has been nurtured in a general climate of moral relativism, a growing sexual permissiveness, and a threatening population explosion.
    The moral issue of abortion is more than a question of the freedom of a woman to control the reproductive functions of her body. It is rather a question of those circumstances under which a human being may be permitted to take the life of another. We believe that all life is a gift of God, so that neither the life of the unborn child nor the mother may be lightly taken. We believe that God, Himself, in Scripture, has conferred divine blessing upon unborn infants and has provided penalties for actions which result in the death of the unborn.
    Evangelicals, as much if not more than other citizens, must be involved in the decision making process as virtually every state legislature considers abortion legislation. The National Association of Evangelicals therefore affirms its conviction that abortion on demand for reasons of personal convenience, social adjustment or economic advantage is morally wrong, and expresses its firm opposition to any legislation designed to make abortion possible for these reasons.
    At the same time we recognize the necessity for therapeutic abortions to safe-guard the health or the life of the mother, as in the case of tubular pregnancies. Other pregnancies, such as those resulting from rape or incest may require deliberate termination, but the decision should be made only after there has been medical, psychological and religious counseling of the most sensitive kind.
    • “National Association of Evangelicals, Statement on Abortion (1971)”; as qtd. in “Before Roe v. Wade”, Linda Greenhouse and Reva B. Siegel, p.72
  • “We deplore in the strongest possible terms the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court which has made it legal to terminate a pregnancy for no better reason than personal convenience or sociological considerations. We reaffirm our conviction that abortion on demand for social adjustment or to solve economic problems is morally wrong. At the same time we recognize the necessity for therapeutic abortions to safeguard the health or the life of the mother, as in the case of tubular pregnancies. Other pregnancies, such as those resulting from rape or incest may require deliberate termination, but the decision should be made only after there has been medical, psychological and religious counseling of the most sensitive kind”.
  • Because God created human beings in his image, all people share in the divine dignity.And because the Bible reveals God’s calling and care of persons before they are born, the preborn share in this dignity (Ps. 139:13).
    We believe that abortion, euthanasia, and unethical human experimentation violate the God-given dignity of human beings. As these practices gain social approval and become legitimized in law, they undermine the legal and cultural protections that our society has provided for vulnerable persons. Human dignity is indivisible. A threat to the aged, to the very young, to the unborn, to those with disabilities, or to those with genetic diseases is a threat to all.
  • Protestant Christians are agreed in condemning abortion or any method which destroys human life except when the health or life of the mother is at stake. The destruction of life already begun cannot be condoned as a method of family limitation. The ethical complexities involved in the practice of abortion related to abnormal circumstances need additional study by Christian scholars.
  • While we continue to oppose abortion, in principle and in practice, we are likewise convinced that the responsibility for decisions in this regard resides primarily with those who are directly and personally involved.
    • National Coalition of American Nuns (NCAN), "Statement on Its Opposition to the Hatch Act"
  • The sweeping judgement of the U.S. Supreme Court in the Texas and Georgia abortion cases [the Roe and Doe cases] is a flagrant rejection of the unborn child's right to life ... Although as a result of the Court decision abortion may be legally permissible, it is still morally wrong, and no Court opinion can change the law of God prohibiting the taking of innocent human life.
    • National Conference of Catholic Bishops, January 24, 1973.
  • No Catholic can responsibly take a 'pro-choice' stand when the 'choice' involves the taking of innocent human life.
    • National Council of Catholic Bishops, Fall 1989 conference resolution of November 8, 1989.
  • Regrettable as is the loss of loved ones from war, these figures are dwarfed by the toll of a new war that annually claims more casualties than the total number of fatalities from all the wars of this nation.
    It is a war on the defenseless—and the voiceless. It is a war on the unborn.
    This war, labeled ‘abortion,’ is of epidemic proportion and is waged globally. Over 55 million abortions were reported worldwide in the year 1974 alone. Sixty-four percent of the world’s population now live in countries that legally sanction this practice. In the United States of America, over 1.5 million abortions are performed annually. About 25 to 30 percent of all pregnancies now end in abortion. In some metropolitan areas, there are more abortions performed than live births. Comparable data also come from other nations”
    • Russell M. Nelson in Conference Report, Apr. 1985, 13; or Ensign, May 1985, 11).
  • Abortion was declared a sin by the early Christians, and sin it remained thenceforth in Christianity. But as a sin, it received no special emphasis, falling among the sins of sex outside marriage, adultery, birth outside wedlock, wife abuse, gluttony, pride, and a good many other lapses. It is unlikely that abortion was dealt with in practice by the church differently from the varied other sins which communicants took to confession. After all, though a canon against marriage by priests had existed from the beginning, it was not until the eleventh century that the church began to take steps toward mandatory celibacy. Illegitimacy, contraception, abortion-whatever may be their status as sins, venial or cardinal-have tended to be widely indulged by ecclesiastical and civil governments in Western history.
  • The ultimate act of destruction is to take a life. That is why abortion is such a serious sin. Our attitude toward abortion is not based on revealed knowledge of when mortal life begins for legal purposes. It is fixed by our knowledge that according to an eternal plan, all of the spirit children of God must come to this earth for a glorious purpose, and that individual identity began long before conception and will continue for all the eternities to come. We rely on the prophets of God, who have told us that while there may be ‘rare’ exceptions, ‘the practice of elective abortion is fundamentally contrary to the Lord’s injunction, “Thou shalt not … kill, nor do anything like unto it”
    • Dallin H. Oaks, (Doctrine and Covenants 59:6)’ (1991 Supplement to the 1989 General Handbook of Instructions, p. 1)
  • Our knowledge of the great plan of happiness also gives us a unique perspective on the subject of marriage and the bearing of children. In this we also run counter to some strong current forces in custom, law, and economics”
    • Dallin H. Oaks in Conference Report, Oct. 1993, 99–100; or Ensign, Nov. 1993, 74
  • There is a church law, Canon 13.98, which states that if anyone commits an act of abortion and the abortion actually takes place, that person then falls ipso facto under the ban of excommunication.
  • The abortion of an unborn child is absolutely condemned in the Orthodox Church. Clinical abortion is no means of birth control, and those who practice it for any reason at all, both the practitioners and those who request it, are punished according to the canon law of the Church with the “penalty for murder” (Council of Trullo, 5th and 6th Ecumenical Councils).
    In ex-treme cases, as when the mother will surely die, if she bears the child, the decision for life or death of the child must be taken by the mother alone, in consultation with her family and her spiritual guides. Whatever the decision, unceasing prayers for God’s guidance and mercy must be its foundation. According to the Orthodox faith, a mother who gives her life for her child is a saint who will most certainly be greatly glorified by God; for there is no greater act of love than to give one’s life so that another might live (cf. Jn 15.13).
  • Unborn children are living creatures in the image of God, given by God as a blessing to their parents. Between conception and birth they are the objects of God's particular providence and care as they are being prepared by God for the responsibilities and privileges of postnatal life. Scripture obligates us to treat unborn children as human persons in all decisions and actions involving them. They should not, therefore, be destroyed by voluntary abortion in the absence of valid medical grounds demonstrating the necessity of such abortion to save the mother's life. . . . Presbyteries, sessions and congregations [are] encouraged by the assembly to carry on further study of these matters, so that Christians may be better instructed concerning the Scriptural principles involved, and so that they might be motivated to take appropriate action relative to pending civil legislation or other pertinent situations in their communities.
    • "Report of the Committee to Study the Matter of Abortion" (Philadelphia: Orthodox Presbyterian Church, 1971), pp. 21-22.
  • “Whatever the laws of man may come to tolerate, the misuse of the power of procreation, the destroying of innocent life through abortion, and the abuse of little children are transgressions of enormous proportion. For cradled therein rests the destiny of innocent, helpless children”
    • Boyd K. Packer in Conference Report, Oct. 1986, 21; or Ensign, Nov. 1986, 18).
  • Nowhere is the right of choice defended with more vigor than with abortion. Having chosen to act, and a conception having occurred, it cannot then be unchosen. But there are still choices; always a best one.
    Sometimes the covenant of marriage has been broken; more often none was made. In or out of marriage, abortion is not an individual choice. At a minimum, three lives are involved.
    The scriptures tell us, ‘Thou shalt not … kill, nor do anything like unto it’ (D&C 59:6; italics added).
    Except where the wicked crime of incest or rape was involved, or where competent medical authorities certify that the life of the mother is in jeopardy, or that a severely defective fetus cannot survive birth, abortion is clearly a ‘thou shalt not.’ Even in these very exceptional cases, much sober prayer is required to make the right choice.
    We face such sobering choices because we are the children of God”
    • Boyd K. Packer in Conference Report, Oct. 1990, 108; or Ensign, Nov. 1990, 85).
  • I know of no sins connected with the moral standard for which we cannot be forgiven. I do not exempt abortion”
    • Boyd K. Packer in Conference Report, Apr. 1992, 95; or Ensign, May 1992, 68).
  • In conformity with these landmarks in the human and Christian vision of marriage, We must once again declare that the direct interruption of the generative process already begun, and, above all, directly willed and procured abortion, even if for therapeutic reasons, are to be absolutely excluded as licit means of regulating birth.
    Equally to be excluded, as the teaching authority of the Church has frequently declared, is direct sterilization, whether perpetual or temporary, whether of the man or of the woman. Similarly excluded is every action which, either in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, purposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible.
    • Pope Paul VI, Humanae Vitae, July 25, 1968, Paragraph 14.
  • Disregard for the sacred character of life in the womb weakens the very fabric of civilization; it prepares a mentality, and even a public attitude, that can lead to the acceptance of other practices that are against the fundamental rights of the individual. This mentality can, for example, completely undermine concern for those in want, manifesting itself in insensitivity to social needs; it can produce contempt for the elderly, to the point of advocating euthanasia; it can prepare the way for those forms of genetic engineering that go against life, the dangers of which are not yet fully known to the general public.
    • Pope Paul VI, September 11, 1968.
  • Should graphic photos of babies who have been killed by abortion be used by pro-lifers who demonstrate on public sidewalks?
    Even among those who oppose abortion, answers to this question vary. The dispute was recently brought to my attention again by a news article describing the concern of residents of a certain area that the graphic photos used by local pro-lifers disturbed the children.
    I have demonstrated against abortion on the public sidewalks of almost every major city in America. I have used graphic images and have watched their effect. I am convinced they should be used, and here are some of the reasons.
    1) The word abortion has lost practically all its meaning. Not even the most vivid description, in words alone, can adequately convey the horror of this act of violence. Abortion is sugar-coated by rhetoric which hides its gruesome nature. The procedure is never shown in the media. Too many people remain either in ignorance or denial about it, and hence too few are moved to do something to stop it. Graphic images are needed. A picture is worth a thousand words -- and in this battle, it can be worth many lives as well.
  • It seems to me, furthermore, that if we find it difficult to explain images of abortion to our children we will find it even more difficult to explain why we didn't do more to stop abortion itself. The bottom line is that if graphic images of abortion are too terrible to look at, then the abortions themselves are too terrible to tolerate. We need to expose the injustice, and then direct our displeasure toward those allow the injustice to continue, not toward those who speak against it.
  • Social evils cannot be addressed unless they are faced. Denial gets us nowhere. "These photographs show what happened to these two people," Mr. Kelberg correctly stated. It's time more people saw the photos and films of what has happened to some 30 million babies by abortion. Anyone willing to defend abortion ought to be willing to see one, and those who fight abortion ought to be willing to expose it. Only then will enough people feel the appropriate sense of outrage needed to make the sacrifices necessary to end this injustice. Prudence must be used in all things, but prudence also involves enduring discomfort in order to root out evil.
  • Opinions on the morality of abortion differ widely among religious groups. Fully three-quarters of white evangelical Protestants consider having an abortion morally wrong, as do about two-thirds of Hispanic Catholics (64%). A majority of black Protestants (58%) and about half of white Catholics (53%) say the same. Fewer white mainline Protestants (38%) and religiously unaffiliated adults (25%) hold this view.
    Relatively small percentages of people in all religious groups consider it morally acceptable to have an abortion. However, among the unaffiliated, roughly equal shares say having an abortion is morally acceptable (28%) and morally wrong (25%).
    Those who attend religious services at least once a week are much more inclined to say that having an abortion is morally wrong than those who seldom or never attend (70% vs. 32%). This pattern holds for nearly all major religious groups.
  • But another very grave crime is to be noted, Venerable Brethren, which regards the taking of the life of the offspring hidden in the mother's womb. Some wish it to be allowed and left to the will of the father or the mother; others say it is unlawful unless there are weighty reasons which they call by the name of medical, social, or eugenic "indication." Because this matter falls under the penal laws of the State by which the destruction of the offspring begotten but unborn is forbidden, these people demand that the "indication," which in one form or another they defend, be recognized as such by the public law and in no way penalized. There are those, moreover, who ask that the public authorities provide aid for these death-dealing operations, a thing, which, sad to say, everyone knows is of very frequent occurrence in some places.
    As to the "medical and therapeutic indication" to which, using their own words, we have made reference, Venerable Brethren, however much we may pity the mother whose health and even life is imperiled in the performance of the duty allotted to her by nature, nevertheless, what could ever be a sufficient reason for excusing in any way the direct murder of the innocent? This is precisely what we are dealing with here. Whether inflicted upon the mother or upon the child, it is against the precept of God and the law of nature: "Thou shalt not kill." The life of each is equally sacred, and no one has the power, not even the public authority, to destroy it. It is of no use to appeal to the right of taking away life, for here it is a question of the innocent, whereas that right has regard only to the guilty; nor is there here question of defense of bloodshed against an unjust aggressor (for who would call an innocent child an unjust aggressor?); again there is no question here of what is called the "law of extreme necessity" which could even extend to the direct killing of the innocent. Upright and skillful doctors strive most praiseworthily to guard and to preserve the lives of both mother and child; on the contrary, those show themselves most unworthy of the noble medical profession who encompass the death of one or the other, through a pretense at practicing medicine or through motives of misguided pity.
  • Those who hold the reins of government should not forget that it is the duty of public authority by appropriate laws and sanctions to defend the lives of the innocent, and this all the more so since those whose lives are endangered and assailed cannot defend themselves. Among whom we must mention in the first place infants hidden in the mother's womb. And if the public magistrates not only do not defend them, but by their laws and ordinances betray them to death at the hands of doctors or of others, let them remember that God is the Judge and Avenger of innocent blood which cries from earth to Heaven for vengeance.
  • Every human being, even the child in the womb, has the right to life directly from God and not from his parents, not from any society or human authority. Therefore, there is no man, no society, no human authority, no science, no "indication" at all whether it be medical, eugenic, social, economic, or moral that may offer or give a valid judicial title for a direct deliberate disposal of an innocent human life, that is, a disposal that aims at its destruction, whether as an end in itself or as a means to achieve the end, perhaps in no way at all illicit. The direct destruction of so-called "useless lives," already born or still in the womb, practiced extensively a few years ago, can in no wise be justified ... The life of an innocent person is sacrosanct, and any direct attempt or aggression against it is a violation of one of the fundamental laws without which secure human society is impossible ... [N]ever forget this: There rises above every human law and above every "indication" the faultless law of God [emphasis in original].
    • Pope Pius XII, Allocution to Midwives, October 29, 1951.
  • No matter what the distinction between those different moments in the development of life, already born or still to be born, for profane and ecclesiastical law and for certain civil and penal consequences according to the moral law, in all these cases it is a matter of a grave and illicit attempt on inviolable human life.
    This principle holds good both for the mother as well as the child. Never and in no case has the Church taught that the life of the child must be preferred to that of the mother. It is erroneous to place the question with this alternative: Either the life of the child or that of the mother. No; neither the life of the mother nor of the child may be submitted to an act of suppression. Both for the one and the other the demand cannot be but this: To use every means to save the life of both the mother and the child.
    • Pope Pius XII, Address to the Family Front Congress, November 27, 1951.
  • Leaders from many different faith traditions and denominations have long-affirmed a person's right to make their own decisions about their body and their future. The clergy below represent many different religions and faith traditions, but they all agree that:
    *Abortion is a moral choice.
    *Having an abortion will not change God’s relationship with you.
    *No one can make this choice but you.
    *You have their love, affirmation and support.
    * They are here for you. If you would find it helpful to talk to a faith leader, minister or rabbi, the list below includes supportive friends from many different faith traditions and denominations who affirm your decision.
  • More than four decades after Roe v. Wade legalized abortion nationwide, most Americans (57%) are supportive of legal abortion, according to a 2017 Pew Research Center survey. But a substantial minority (40%) says abortion should be illegal in all or most cases, and within some U.S. denominations and religious groups, this figure is much higher.
    For instance, most Jehovah’s Witnesses (75%) and Mormons (70%) say abortion should be illegal in all or most cases, according to the 2014 Religious Landscape Study, a survey of more than 35,000 Americans in all 50 states. The same holds true for members of some evangelical churches, including the Pentecostal denominations Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee) (77%) and Assemblies of God (71%), as well as America’s largest evangelical denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention (66%). Indeed, among all those who are part of the evangelical tradition, nearly twice as many say they oppose legal abortion as support it (63% to 33%).
    By comparison, only 35% of those who are part of the mainline Protestant tradition say abortion should be illegal in all or most cases, with 60% in support of keeping abortion legal. Members of the Episcopal Church (79%) and the United Church of Christ (72%) are especially likely to support legal abortion, while most members of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the mainline Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (65%) also take this position.
    • David Masci, "American religious groups vary widely in their views of abortion". Pew Research Center. January 22, 2018, Retrieved August 29, 2020.
  • The artificial or induced termination of a pregnancy is a matter of careful ethical decision of the patient . . . and therefore should not be restricted by law . . .
    • Minutes of the 182nd General Assembly (1970), United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., p. 891
  • There is [both] agreement and disagreement on the basic issue of abortion. The committee [on problem pregnancies and abortion] agreed that there are no biblical texts that speak expressly to the topic of abortion, but that taken in their totality the Holy Scriptures are filled with messages that advocate respect for the woman and child before and after birth. Therefore the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) encourages an atmosphere of open debate and mutual respect for a variety of opinions concerning the issues related to problem pregnancies and abortion.
    • Minutes of the 204th General Assembly (1992), Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), pp. 367-368, 372-374
  • Problem pregnancies are the result of, and influenced by, so many complicated and insolvable circumstances that we have neither the wisdom nor the authority to address or decide each situation.
    We affirm the ability and responsibility of women, guided by the Scriptures and the Holy Spirit, in the context of their communities of faith, to make good moral choices in regard to problem pregnancies.
    We call upon Presbyterians to work for a decrease in the number of problem pregnancies, thereby decreasing the number of abortions.
    The considered decision of a woman to terminate a pregnancy can be a morally acceptable, though certainly not the only or required, decision. Possible justifying circumstances would include medical indications of severe physical or mental deformity, conception as a result of rape or incest, or conditions under which the physical or mental health of either woman or child would be gravely threatened.
    We are disturbed by abortions that seem to be elected only as a convenience or ease embarrassment. We affirm that abortion should not be used as a method of birth control.
    Abortion is not morally acceptable for gender selection only or solely to obtain fetal parts for transplantation.
    We reject the use of violence and/or abusive language either in protest of or in support of abortion.
    The strong Christian presumption is that since all life is precious to God, we are to preserve and protect it. Abortion ought to be an option of last resort.
    The Christian community must be concerned about and address the circumstances that bring a woman to consider abortion as the best available option. Poverty, unjust societal realities, sexism, racism, and inadequate supportive relationships may render a woman virtually powerless to choose freely.
    • Minutes of the 204th General Assembly (1992), Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), pp. 367-368, 372-374
  • When an individual woman faces the decision whether to terminate a pregnancy, the issue is intensely personal, and may manifest itself in ways that do not reflect public rhetoric, or do not fit neatly into medical, legal or policy guidelines. Humans are empowered by the spirit prayerfully to make significant moral choices, including the choice to continue or end a pregnancy. Human choices should not be made in a moral vacuum, but must be based on Scripture, faith and Christian ethics. For any choice, we are accountable to God; however, even when we err, God offers to forgive us.
    • Minutes of the 217th General Assembly (2006), Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), p. 905
  • The church has a responsibility to provide public witness and to offer guidance, counsel and support to those who make or interpret laws and public policies about abortion and problem pregnancies. Pastors have a duty to counsel with and pray for those who face decisions about problem pregnancies. Congregations have a duty to pray for and support those who face these choices, to offer support for women and families to help make unwanted pregnancies less likely to occur, and to provide practical support for those facing the birth of a child with medical anomalies, birth after rape or incest, or those who face health, economic, or other stresses.
    • Minutes of the 217th General Assembly (2006), Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), p. 905
  • “In life and death, we belong to God.” Life is a gift from God. We may not know exactly when human life begins, and have but an imperfect understanding of God as the giver of life and of our own human existence, yet we recognize that life is precious to God, and we should preserve and protect it. We derive our understanding of human life from Scripture and the Reformed Tradition in light of science, human experience and reason guided by the Holy Spirit. Because we are made in the image of God, human beings are moral agents, endowed by the Creator with the capacity to make choices. Our Reformed Tradition recognizes that people do not always make moral choices, and forgiveness is central to our faith. In the Reformed Tradition, we affirm that God is the only Lord of conscience — not the state or the church. As a community, the church challenges the faithful to exercise their moral agency responsibly.(5)
    • Minutes of the 217th General Assembly (2006), Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), p. 905
  • We affirm that the lives of viable unborn babies — those well-developed enough to survive outside the womb if delivered — ought to be preserved and cared for and not aborted. In cases where problems of life or health of the mother arise in a pregnancy, the church supports efforts to protect the life and health of both the mother and the baby. When late-term pregnancies must be terminated, we urge decisions intended to deliver the baby alive. We look to our churches to provide pastoral and tangible support to women in problem pregnancies and to surround these families with a community of care. We affirm adoption as a provision for women who deliver children they are not able to care for, and ask our churches to assist in seeking loving, Christian, adoptive families.(6)
    • Minutes of the 217th General Assembly (2006), Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), p. 905
  • PARO welcomes those who support the full range of reproductive options that ensure that every child is loved and wanted. They are committed to ensuring that the policy of the PC(USA) is articulated, understood, and preserved for future generations.
    • Presbyterians Affirming Reproductive Options Archived August 8, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  • Whereas the Word of God affirms the sanctity of human life from conception and prohibits the unjust taking of any human life in the Sixth Commandment,
    Whereas Deuteron-omy 30:15, 19-20 says, “See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruc-tion. . . .Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.”
    Whereas the Westminster Larger Catechism Q & A #135 declares, Q. What are the duties required in the sixth com-mandment? A. The duties required in the sixth commandment are: all careful studies, and lawful endeavors, to preserve the life of ourselves and others, by resisting all thought and purposes, subduing all passions, and avoiding all occasions, temptations, and practices which tend to the unjust taking away the life of any; by just defense thereof against violence; . . .comforting and succoring the distressed, and protecting and defending the innocent.”
    Whereas the PCA at its Sixth General Assembly affirmed the statement, “We condemn the intentional killing of unborn children.” And, the Eighth General Assembly adopted the following: “Whereas, the General Assembly, as a Court of Jesus Christ, should speak with a united voice in affirming the sanctity of human life under the protection of the Sixth Commandment. Therefore be it resolved, that the Eighth General Assembly clarifies the action of the Seventh General Assembly and reaffirms the statement of the Sixth General Assembly on abortion: ‘that because Scripture clearly affirms the sanctity of human life and condemns its arbitrary destruction, we affirm that the intentional killing of an unborn child between conception and birth, for any reason at any time, is clearly a violation of the Sixth Commandment.’”
    Whereas the Sixth General Assembly gave several recom-mendations to the Church including:
    2.That presbyteries, sessions, and congregations be encouraged to utilize available resources so that the cruelty and sinfulness of abortion may be fully understood;
    5. That we remind all Christians of their duty to show com-passionate love and understanding to families in distress as a result of pregnancies, and to offer these families sympathetic counsel and help for physical needs where required. This duty is especially incumbent upon us as we minister to persons contemplating abortion;
    6. That all members of the Presbyterian Church in America be encouraged to seek to bring about substantial changes in existing legislation so that the human life of an unborn child be recognized and protected, and that special attention be given to informing our elected representatives at all levels of government of God’s Word pertaining to abortion and to lift up in prayer these ministers of God in civil affairs
  • Given four choices on abortion:
    *15 percent of all voters, including 13 percent of Catholics and 10 percent of observant Catholics, say abortion should be legal in all cases;
    *37 percent of all voters, including 37 percent of Catholics and 19 percent of observant Catholics, say abortion should be legal in most cases;
    *27 percent of all voters, including 28 percent of Catholics and 40 percent of observant Catholics, say abortion should be illegal in most cases;
    *14 percent of all voters, including 16 percent of Catholics and 26 percent of observant Catholics, say abortion should be illegal in all cases.
    "What is interesting and often forgotten about the abortion issue is that despite church teachings, Roman Catholics' views on abortion are pretty much the same as all Americans on the issue," Brown added.
  • The abortion issue led to the creation of a new coalition of Christians. Evangelical and other conservative Protestants rallied to the support of the anti-abortion groups, allying themselves with largely conservative Catholic activists. These groups often agreed on other prominent social issues. They opposed passage of the Equal Rights Amendment, a proposed constitutional amendment specifying women’s equal rights. They also opposed the growing gay rights movement.
    By his own account, the Reverend Jerry Falwell, a leading television evangelist, was prompted by the Roe v. Wade decision to change his mind about the involvement of conservative Christians in political action. In 1979, he was a founder of the Moral Majority, which united anti-abortion supporters with other conservative crusaders and became a central component of a new coalition known as the Religious Right. The latter threw its support behind the presidential the presidential campaign of Ronald Reagan in 1980 and 1984, and became an influential force within the Republican Party.
  • Women who had abortions did so within a context of illegality and religious disapproval, but the prohibitions were ambiguous. Christian traditions had tabooed abortion since antiquity, but the acceptance of abortion in order to save the life of a pregnant woman had a long tradition as well. Until the mid-nineteenth century, the Catholic Church implicitly accepted early abortions prior to ensoulment. Not until 1869, at about the same time that abortion became politicized in this country, did the church condemn abortion; in 1895, it condemned therapeutic abortion. Protestant churches accepted abortion when pregnancy threatened a woman’s life, a view shared by the medical profession and written into the nation’s laws. Jewish tradition clearly viewed the woman’s life as primary. The Mishnah, a code of ancient Jewish law that guided later rabbinic thought, required abortion when childbirth threatened a woman’s life, for “her life takes precedence over its life.”
  • Catholic theology, which now regards the early fetus as a person, did not always do so. The Church first adopted the belief of Aristotle, St. Jerome, St. Augustine, and St. Thomas Aquinas that ensoulment occurs several weeks after conception. Pope Innocent III, who ruled at the turn of the 13th Century, made that belief part of Church doctrine, allowing abortion until fetal animation. It was not until 1869 that the Church prohibited abortion at any time and for any reason.
    • 'Religious' Coalition for Abortion Rights. June 1978 "ABORTION: Why Religious Organizations in the United States Want to Keep it Legal."; as quoted in Donovan, Colin B, [www.ewtn.com/expert/answers/abortio2.htm] "Abortion - Exocommunication"], Eternal Word Television Network, Retrieved 2007-06-24.
  • The Religious Coalition is a non-profit, non-partisan education and advocacy organization of religious and religiously affiliated groups working together to preserve the individual’s right to reproductive choice, free from government interference or coercion, and religious freedom for all Americans.
    While theologically diverse, Religious Coalition members are unified in their commitment to safeguarding reproductive choice as an element of religious liberty and appreciate the opportunity to consult and work together on issues of common interest.
    Coalition membership does not require or imply conformity to all the actions and initiatives of the Coalition. Each denomination and group is free to express its own opinions and beliefs on any topic. However, the member groups appreciate and support the value of working together for shared values of justice, tolerance, and religious freedom.
    • The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice Archived March 16, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  • 2001: The Alan Guttmacher Institute: They reported in 2001-JUL that 37.4% of all abortions are performed on Protestant women; 18% of all abortions are done on born-again Protestants. 2 Since "Born-again" believers constitute over 40% of the American adult population, they were thus very much under-represented among those women having abortions.
    2006: The Center for Reason: Responding to a claim by some conservative Christian leaders that abortion is an evil perpetrated by non-Christians, the Center -- a private research group -- decided to conduct a study to determine whether Christians have a fewer abortions per capita than do non-Christians. They determined that Christians have as many abortions per capita than do non-Christians. They ana-lyzed state-by-state data -- perhaps from the CDC -- and found that the rate of abortion is the same in the most Christian segments of the population as it is in the least-Christian. However, the most highly Catholic segments of the nation showed significantly higher abortion rates.
  • Though the New Testament (like the Hebrew Bible) is silent on abortion early Christians opposed abortion at any point during pregnancy, even if they distinguished between the aborting of formed and unformed fetuses. There was a general condemnation of abortion in the Didache’’ (also known as the The Teaching of the Twelve Apotles), which stemmed from the Jewish community but eventually becamea document of early Christianity. Other early church documents, such a the Epistle of the Pseudo-Barnabas and Athenagoras’s Plea for Christians, condemn all abortion as homicide. The Council of Elvira in Spain in 305 and the Council of Ancyra in Galatia in 314 both condemned abortion,, the former prescribing permanent excommunication, the latter allowing for penance and eventual reconciliation with the sinner The wholesale prohibition on abortion was moderated somewhat under the influence of the great theologians Saints Augustine (354-430) and Jerome (c. 340-420). Augustine distinguished abortion of an ‘’embryo in formatus’’ (a fetus prior to ensoulment) from that of an ‘’embryo formatus’’ (an ensouled fetus). He maintained that the first should be punished by a fine and the second by death. Jerome thought that abortion is not murder until the fetus has developed into recognizably human form, but nonetheless regarded abortion at any point (and contraception as well) as a grave sin.
    A greater acceptance of abortion began to characterize European society in the twelfth century. Medical schools began to teach physicians how to induce abortion by means of drugs or violent movements. Avicenna’s
    Canon of Medicine asserted that abortion could be resorted to if it was necessary to save the pregnant woman’s life. Recipes for abortifacient positions were commonly included in digests of European folk medicine.
  • Basil (c. 330-379), bishop of Caesarea, called feticide murder at any point in development.
    She who has deliberately destroyed a fetus had to pay the penalty of murder. And there is no exact inquiry among us as to whether the fetus was formed or unformed. For here is not only the child to be born that is vindicated, but also the woman herself who made the attempt against her own life because usually the wome die in such attempts. Furthermore, added to this is the destruction of the embryo, another murder, at least according to the intention of those who dare these things. Nevertheless, we should not prolong their penance until death, but should accept, a term of ten years, and we should determine the treatment not by time, but by the manner of repentance.
  • For medical reasons, it was evident to Hippocratic writers, Soranus, Oribasius, Paul of Aegina, and other medical writers that early abortion was preferable to late. Indeed, a woman who took an emmenagogue or abortifacient during the firsts month of pregnancy would not be able to observe whether there had been fertilization or delayed menstruation. After some months, the fetus’s form is observable and the danger of abortion to the mother is greater. The Mishnah says, “If the abortion was a foetus filled with water or filled with blood or filled with variegated matter, she need not take thought for it as for [human] young; but if its [human] parts were fashioned, she must continue [unclean the number of days prescribed] both for a male and for a female.” An inscription known as the Lex cathartica from Cyrene, dated 331-326 B.C., cites a woman who aborts a fetus whose features are distinct as incurring an impurity, but one who aborted a fetus with indistinct features did not incur pollution.
    Clearly Hebrew, Greek, and Roman law did not protect the fetus, but there was a religious distinction made at the point when the fetus had formed recognizable features. Before that point women could either contracept or abort without religious or legal sanction. There were cases where the father had some legal iterest in the decision and where a physician or pharmakos who gave pharmakeia (drugs, poisons) was denounced and, at times, legally punished (or so said the law) for a procedure that resulted in harm to the mother. Either convention nor the law protected the unborn and the unconceived According to convention and the law, ancient women could employ contraceptives and early stage abortifacients virtually without consequences. The same was true in medieval Islam and to some degree in Christian society during the Middle Ages. The question is whether they knew the agents to control fertility and how effective these agents were.
  • There were three main movements within early Christianity. Two did not succeed: Jewish Christianity -- centered in Jerusalem and founded by Jesus' disciples -- and Gnostic Christianity. The third, Pauline Christianity, flourished and evolved into the Christian Church. It was surrounded by a mosaic of other competing religions within the Roman Empire, including Judaism, the Greek state religion, Mithraism, the Roman state religion, and various Mystery religions. With the exception of Judaism, most or all of the competing religions allowed women to have abortions and allowed parents to kill new-born babies by strangulation or exposing them as methods of population control. There are many writings, letters and petitions of early Christian philosophers and Church Fathers which equated abortion with infanticide and condemned both as murder.
  • It must in any case be clearly understood that a Christian can never conform to a law which is in itself immoral, and such is the case of a law which would admit in principle the licitness of abortion. Nor can a Christian take part in a propaganda campaign in favor of such a law, or vote for it. Moreover, he may not collaborate in its application.
    • Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. "Declaration on Procured Abortion." November 18, 1974, Paragraph 22.
  • The Tannaim, then, enshrined within normative Juaism an attitude to fetal standing that was wholly divergent from the Jewish-Hellenistic (Alexandrian) and early Christian views. Never in doubt that the fetus was legally to be regarded as a part of its mother monetary compensation was the only possible penalty for the loss of a fetus at any stage of development. No objection was raised to the sacrifice of a pregnant animal, in contradistinction to Philo’s determined opposition. Decisive contrasts were also to be found in the fact that the death penalty for a pregnant woman as to be carried out immediately, that “formation” was not elevated to a legal turning point and no law prohibiting abortion was to be found anywhere within ‘’Tannatic’’ sources. As a result, by the end of the second century of the Common Era, Judaism and Christianity had embarked upon quite separate path which ultimately would result in wholly divergent responses to abortion.
    One of the challenges to which these two religious systems reacted with considerable variance concerned the inculcation and fate of the soul. As early as the time of Tertullian in the third century, Christianity had absorbed the Pythagorean Greek view that the soul was infused at the moment of conception. Though this view was confirmed by St. Gregory of Nyssa a century later, it would not be long before it would be rejected by Augustine in favor of the Septuagintal notion that only a formed fetus possessed a human soul. While Augustine speculated whether “animation” might be present prior to formation, he determined that abortion could only be defined a homicide once formation had occurred. Nevertheless, in common with all early Christian thought Augustine condemned abortion from conception onward.
  • Abortion was wrong to the early Christians, and this was what concerned them, not what penalty is deserved. They were not interested in comparing one abortion with another for penal purposes. Abortion was wrong whether the fetus was formed or not. One finds in the early Church, then, simple, clear condemnations of abortion without any attempt to distinguish or classify.
    During the greater part of Christian history this Augustinian approach was dominant, though there were periods when the earlier view prevailed. In 1869, however, Pope Pius I affirmed that abortion was murder from the moment of conception, since it was at that moment that the soul entered the body Pope Pius’ stance was the culmination of arguments put by two medical expert, Thomas Fienus and Paolo Zacchia in the early seventeenth century. Each of them was individually of the view that the soul was infused at or about conception. Over time their outlook came to be accepted, and formed the foundation of Pope Pius; position. It has remained catholic doctrine ever since. While Christian views can hardly be said to be unanimous either on the moment of ensoulment or on viewing abortion as murder from conception onward, it is reasonable to assert that the early Greek approach to ensoulment at conception not only became a central idea within Christianity, but later came to be widely understood as the definition of life’s onset.
    It was also during the rabbinic period that Christianity expanded the idea of original sin into the proposition that the soul was in need of cleansing baptism if it were to achieve eternal salvation. Already in Augustine’s day it was acknowledged that a fetus that died unbaptized would suffer eternal perdition. An unbaptized fetus, in effect, stood to be subjected to a double wrong: it would not only have its life taken away but it would also be condemned to an eternity without hope of salvation. Given this stance, it is easy to appreciate why-within traditional Christianity – abortion without baptism came to be regarded as a crime that was actually more heinous than the killing of the born, baptized human person.
  • Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception; abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes.
    • Second Vatican Council, Gaudium et Spes, IV, 51.
  • Seven out of 10 British Catholics believe that a woman should have the right to choose whether to have an abortion, according to a remarkable new poll that shows how far out of step the Vatican is with its congregation as Pope Benedict XVI completes his first visit to the UK.
    The poll conducted by YouGov, which also revealed that nine out of 10 Catholic worshippers support the wide availability of contraception, quizzed a sample of more than 1,600 practising Catholics about their views on the vexed issues of abortion and contraception.
    The research, the biggest survey of its kind, which also sampled a control group of non-Catholics, reveals that just one in 10 of the church's followers oppose an abortion when a woman has been raped. Just one in 14 opposes abortion if the health of a woman is in danger.
    The findings are likely to send a strong signal to the pontiff that the vast majority of Catholics in the UK do not share his views in the area of abortion and fertility control. In 2008, Pope Benedict renewed the position of the Catholic church against the use of birth control and contraception.
  • The biblical portrait of personhood begins not with an explanation of conception but with a portrayal of the creation of Adam and Eve. The biblical portrait of a person, therefore, is that of a complex, many-sided creature with godlike abilities and the moral responsibility to make choices. The woman unquestionably fits the biblical portrayal of person.
    The abortion question focuses on the personhood of the woman, who in turn considers the potential personhood of the fetus in terms of the multiple dimensions of her own history and future. Because the pregnancy is hers, the decision to continue the pregnancy is uniquely hers. She is aware that God wills health and happiness for her, for those she may bring into the world, and for the human race. Thus, she is engaged in reflection on her own well-being, the genetic health of the fetus, and the survival of the human race.
  • The absence of prohibitions against abortion in the Bible does not mean either that abortion was widely practiced or that there was a cavalier attitude about pregnancy termination. Then as now elective abortion posed substantive issues with which a woman or couple must come to terms. Respect for germinating life, one’s own beliefs, and one’s life plan all enter into the decision. Certainly reasons beyond mere convenience are needed to make the morally serious decision to terminate a germinal existence. Abortion is never to be taken lightly, but it is not a forbidden option.
  • Abortions were not unknown even in the Middle Ages, when Christianity held its greatest so-cial and political sway. “Artes muliebres” (women’s arts) were closely guarded secrets passed on from woman to woman and included mixtures that allow women to remain barren (Duby, 1983, p. 268).
  • Who will not detest such an abhorrent and evil act, by which are lost not only the bodies but also the souls? Who will not condemn to a most grave punishment the impiety of him who will exclude a soul created in the image of God and for which Our Lord Jesus Christ has shed His precious Blood, and which is capable of eternal happiness and is destined to be in the company of angels, from the blessed vision of God, and who has impeded as much as he could the filling up of heavenly mansions, and has taken away the service to God by His creature? who has deprived children of life before they could receive from nature their portion of light, or defend themselves from bestial cruelty through the protection of the mother’s body? Who will not abhor the cruelty and unrestrained debauchery of impious people who have arrived into such a state of mind that they procure poisons in order to extinguish the conceived fetuses within the viscera, and pour them out, trying to provoke by a nefarious crime a violent and untimely death and killing of their progeny? Finally, who will not condemn to a most grave punishment the crimes of those people who with poisons, potions and evil deeds sterilize women or impede that they conceive or give birth by evil medicines?
  • WHEREAS, Christians in the American society today are faced with difficult decisions about abortion; and
    WHEREAS, Some advocate that there be no abortion legislation, thus making the decision a purely private matter between a woman and her doctor; and
    WHEREAS, Others advocate no legal abortion, or would permit abortion only if the life of the mother is threatened;
    Therefore, be it RESOLVED, that this Convention express the belief that society has a responsibility to affirm through the laws of the state a high view of the sanctity of human life, including fetal life, in order to protect those who cannot protect themselves; and
    Be it further RESOLVED, That we call upon Southern Baptists to work for legislation that will allow the possibility of abortion under such conditions as rape, incest, clear evidence of severe fetal deformity, and carefully ascertained evidence of the likelihood of damage to the emotional, mental, and physical health of the mother.
  • The abortion resolution was basically a reaffirmation of a 1971 SBC stand recognizing “sanctity of life” and calling for legislation on the matter of abortion. It said abortion should be permitted under such conditions as rape, incest, clear evidence of severe fetal deformity, and carefully ascertained evidence of the likelihood of damage to the emotional, mental and physical health of the mother.”
    But it also stressed that “society has a responsibility to affirm through the laws of the state a high view of the sanctity of life, in order to protect those who cannot protect themselves.”
  • WHEREAS, Southern Baptists have historically affirmed the biblical teaching of the sanctity of all human life, and
    WHEREAS, All medical evidence indicates that abortion ends the life of a developing human being, and
    WHEREAS, Our national laws permit a policy commonly referred to as "abortion on demand,"
    Be it therefore RESOLVED, That the Southern Baptist Convention reaffirm the view of the Scriptures of the sacredness and dignity of all human life, born and unborn, and
    Be it further RESOLVED, That opposition be expressed toward all policies that allow "abortion on demand," and
    Be it further RESOLVED, That we abhor the use of tax money or public, tax-supported medical facilities for selfish, non-therapeutic abortion, and
    Be it finally RESOLVED, That we favor appropriate legislation and/or a constitutional amendment prohibiting abortion except to save the life of the mother.
  • WHEREAS, Christians in the American society today are faced with difficult decisions about abortion; and
    WHEREAS, Some advocate that there be no abortion legislation, thus making the decision a purely private matter between a woman and her doctor; and

WHEREAS, Others advocate no legal abortion, or would permit abortion only if the life of the mother is threatened;
Therefore, be it RESOLVED, that this Convention express the belief that society has a responsibility to affirm through the laws of the state a high view of the sanctity of human life, including fetal life, in order to protect those who cannot protect themselves; and
Be it further RESOLVED, That we call upon Southern Baptists to work for legislation that will allow the possibility of abortion under such conditions as rape, incest, clear evidence of severe fetal deformity, and carefully ascertained evidence of the likelihood of damage to the emotional, mental, and physical health of the mother.

    • Southern Baptist Convention Resolutions on Abortion, (June 1971); as qtd. in “The Johnston Archive”, SBC Resolutions. (Last updated 7 November 2010).
  • WHEREAS, Southern Baptists have historically held a high view of the sanctity of human life, and
    WHEREAS, The messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in St. Louis in 1971 adopted overwhelmingly a resolution on abortion, and
    WHEREAS, That resolution reflected a middle ground between the extreme of abortion on demand and the opposite extreme of all abortion as murder, and
    WHEREAS, That resolution dealt responsibly from a Christian perspective with complexities of abortion problems in contemporary society;
    Therefore, be it RESOLVED, that we reaffirm the resolution on the subject adopted by the messengers to the St. Louis Southern Baptist Convention meeting in 1971, and
    Be it further RESOLVED, that we continue to seek God's guidance through prayer and study in order to bring about solutions to continuing abortion problems in our society.
    • Resolution On Abortion And Sanctity Of Human Life, adopted at the SBC convention, June 1974: as qtd. in “The Johnston Archive”, SBC Resolutions. (Last updated 7 November 2010).
  • WHEREAS, Southern Baptists have historically held a biblical view of the sanctity of human life, and
    WHEREAS, Abortion is a very serious moral and spiritual problem of continuing concern to the American people, and
    WHEREAS, Christians have a responsibility to deal with all moral and spiritual issues which affect society, including the problems of abortion, and
    WHEREAS, The practice of abortion for selfish non-therapeutic reasons want-only destroys fetal life, dulls our society's moral sensitivity, and leads to a cheapening of all human life, and
    WHEREAS, Every decision for an abortion, for whatever reason must necessarily involve the decision to terminate the life of an innocent human being.
    Therefore be it RESOLVED, that the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Norfolk in June 1976 reaffirm the biblical sacredness and dignity of all human life, including fetal life, and
    Be it further RESOLVED, that we call on Southern Baptists and all citizens of the nation to work to change those attitudes and conditions which encourage many people to turn to abortion as a means of birth control, and
    Be it further RESOLVED, that in the best interest of our society, we reject any indiscriminate attitude toward abortion, as contrary to the biblical view, and
    Be it further RESOLVED, that we also affirm our conviction about the limited role of government in dealing with matters relating to abortion, and support the right of expectant mothers to the full range of medical services and personal counseling for the preservation of life and health.
    • Resolution On Abortion, adopted at the SBC convention, June 1976; as qtd. in “The Johnston Archive”, SBC Resolutions. (Last updated 7 November 2010).
  • RESOLVED that this Convention reaffirm the strong stand against abortion adopted by the 1976 Convention, and, in view of some confusion in interpreting part of this resolution we confirm our strong opposition to abortion on demand and all governmental policies and actions which permit this.
    The 1976 resolution on abortion is as follows:
    WHEREAS, Southern Baptists have historically held a biblical view of the sanctity of human life, and
    WHEREAS, Abortion is a very serious moral and spiritual problem of continuing concern to the American people, and
    WHEREAS, Christians have a responsibility to deal with all moral and spiritual issues which affect society, including the problems of abortion, and
    WHEREAS, The practice of abortion for selfish non-therapeutic reasons wantonly destroys fetal life, dulls our society's moral sensitivity, and leads to a cheapening of all human life.
    Therefore be it RESOLVED, that the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Norfolk in June, 1976 reaffirm the biblical sacredness and dignity of all human life, including fetal life, and
    Be it further RESOLVED, that we call on Southern Baptists and all citizens of the nation to work to change those attitudes and conditions which encourage many people to turn to abortion as a means of birth control, and
    Be it further RESOLVED, that in the best interest of our society, we reject any indiscriminate attitude toward abortion, as contrary to the biblical view, and
    Be it further RESOLVED, that we also affirm our conviction about the limited role of government in dealing with matters relating to abortion, and support the right of expectant mothers to the full range of medical services and personal counseling for the preservation of life and health.)
    • Resolution On Abortion, adopted by the SBC convention, June 1977; as qtd. in “The Johnston Archive”, SBC Resolutions. (Last updated 7 November 2010).
  • WHEREAS, Abortion is a matter of continuing moral concern to the American people, and
    WHEREAS, The Southern Baptist Convention in annual session in 1977 spoke clearly and forthrightly to this issue,
    Be it therefore RESOLVED, that we the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Atlanta in June 1978, reaffirm the resolution passed by the 1977 Kansas City Southern Baptist Convention.
    • Resolution On Abortion, adopted by the SBC convention, June 1978; as qtd. in “The Johnston Archive”, SBC Resolutions. (Last updated 7 November 2010).
  • WHEREAS, Abortion is a matter of serious concern to the American people in general and to Christians in particular, and
    WHEREAS, Messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention have spoken clearly to this issue in 1976 as follow:
    WHEREAS, Southern Baptists have historically held a biblical view of the sanctity of human life, and
    WHEREAS, Abortion is a very serious moral and spiritual problem of continuing concern to the American people, and
    WHEREAS, Christians have a responsibility to deal with all moral and spiritual issues which affect society, including the problems of abortion, and
    WHEREAS, The practice of abortion for selfish non-therapeutic reasons wantonly destroys fetal life, dulls our society's moral sensitivity, and leads to a cheapening of all human life, and Therefore be it RESOLVED, that the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Norfolk in June, 1976 reaffirm the biblical sacredness and dignity of all human life, including fetal life, and
    Be it further RESOLVED, that we call on Southern Baptists and all citizens of the nation to work to change those attitudes and conditions which encourage many people to turn to abortion as a means of birth control, and
    Be it further RESOLVED, that in the best interest of our society, we reject any indiscriminate attitude toward abortion, as contrary to the biblical view, and
    Be it further RESOLVED, that we also affirm our conviction about the limited role of government in dealing with matters relating to abortion, and support the right of expectant mothers to the full range of medical services and personal counseling for the preservation of life and health.
    • Resolution On Abortion, adopted at the SBC convention, June 1979; as qtd. in “The Johnston Archive”, SBC Resolutions. (Last updated 7 November 2010).
  • WHEREAS, Southern Baptists have historically affirmed the biblical teaching of the sanctity of all human life, and
    WHEREAS, All medical evidence indicates that abortion ends the life of a developing human being, and
    WHEREAS, Our national laws permit a policy commonly referred to as "abortion on demand,"
    Be it therefore RESOLVED, That the Southern Baptist Convention reaffirm the view of the Scriptures of the sacredness and dignity of all human life, born and unborn, and
    Be it further RESOLVED, That opposition be expressed toward all policies that allow "abortion on demand," and
    Be it further RESOLVED, That we abhor the use of tax money or public, tax-supported medical facilities for selfish, non-therapeutic abortion, and
    Be it finally RESOLVED, That we favor appropriate legislation and/or a constitutional amendment prohibiting abortion except to save the life of the mother.
    • Resolution On Abortion, adopted at the SBC convention, June 1980; as qtd. in “The Johnston Archive”, SBC Resolutions. (Last updated 7 November 2010).
  • WHEREAS, Both medical science and biblical references indicate that human life begins at conception, and
    WHEREAS, Southern Baptists have traditionally upheld the sanctity and worth of all human life, both born and pre-born, as being created in the image of God, and
    WHEREAS, Current judicial opinion gives no guarantee of protection of pre-born persons, thus permitting the widespread practice of abortion on demand, which has led to the killing of an estimated four thousand developing human beings daily in the United States, and
    WHEREAS, Social acceptance of abortion has begun to dull society's respect for all human life, leading to growing occurrences of infanticide, child abuse, and active euthanasia.
    Therefore, be it RESOLVED, That the messengers to the 1982 Southern Baptist Convention affirm that all human life, both born and pre-born, is sacred, bearing the image of God, and is not subject to personal judgments as to "quality of life" based on such subjective criteria as stage of development, abnormality, intelligence level, degree of dependency, cost of medical treatment, or inconvenience to parents.
    Be it further RESOLVED, That we abhor the use of federal, state or local tax money; public, tax-supported medical facilities; or Southern Baptist supported medical facilities for the practice of selfish, medically unnecessary abortions and/or the practice of withholding treatment from unwanted or defective newly born infants.
    Be it finally RESOLVED, That we support and will work for appropriate legislation and/or constitutional amendment which will prohibit abortions except to save the physical life of the mother, and that we also support and will work for legislation which will prohibit the practice of infanticide.
    • Resolution On Abortion And Infanticide, adopted at the SBC convention, May 1982; as qtd. in “The Johnston Archive”, SBC Resolutions. (Last updated 7 November 2010).
  • WHEREAS, The Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in New Orleans in June 1982, clearly stated its opposition to abortion and called upon Southern Baptists to work for appropriate legislation and/or constitutional amendment which will prohibit abortions except to save the physical life of the mother; and
    WHEREAS, In addition to legislative remedies for this national sin, it is incumbent that we encourage the woman who is considering abortion to think seriously about the grave significance of such action by presenting information to her about the unborn child in her womb, who is a living individual human being, and encourage her to consider alternatives to abortion; and
    WHEREAS, Christlike love requires that such alternatives be made available.
    Therefore, be it RESOLVED, That the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Kansas City, Missouri, June 12-14, 1984, encourage all of its institutions, cooperating churches, and members to work diligently to provide counseling, housing, and adoption placement services for unwed mothers with the specific intent of bringing them into a relationship with Jesus Christ and/or a sense of Christian responsibility; and
    Be it further RESOLVED, That we deplore the practice of performing abortions, as well as dispensing to minors without parental consent or even notification, contraceptive medications which have potentially dangerous side effects, and deplore also the use of tax funds for such activities; and
    Be it further RESOLVED, That we call upon all Southern Baptists to renew their commitment to support and work for legislation and/or constitutional amendment which will prohibit abortion except to save the physical life of the mother; and
    Be it further RESOLVED, That we encourage Southern Baptists to inquire whether or not their physicians perform abortions on demand or give referrals for abortions, and that we commend those of the medical profession who abstain from performing abortions or making abortion referrals; and
    Be it finally RESOLVED, That we urge our agencies and institutions to provide leadership for our cooperating churches and members, by preparing literature to take a clear and strong stand against abortion, and to inform and motivate our members to action to eliminate abortion on demand.
    • Resolution On Abortion, adopted at the SBC convention, 13 June 1984; as qtd. in “The Johnston Archive”, SBC Resolutions. (Last updated 7 November 2010).
  • WHEREAS, Southern Baptists have traditionally upheld the sanctity of all innocent human life and have opposed abortion on demand; and
    WHEREAS, 4,000 unborn children are being killed daily in America's abortuaries;
    Therefore, be it RESOLVED, That we, the messengers of the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in St. Louis, Missouri, June 16-18, 1987, encourage the Christian Life Commission to continue the expansion of program services related to the sanctity of human life and to actively lobby for legislation to protect the lives of the unborn; and
    Be it further RESOLVED, That we encourage the Christian Life Commission to continue to make the abortion issue a priority on its agenda; and
    Be it further RESOLVED, That we encourage the Home Mission Board to train churches for ministry in crisis pregnancy centers and residential care homes for pregnant women and children; and
    Be it further RESOLVED, That we encourage churches, associations, and state conventions to expand their children's homes ministry to include outpatient and residential care for unwed mothers; and
    Be it further RESOLVED, That we encourage all agencies and institutions of the SBC to use their resources and program ministries to promote the sanctity of human life; and
    Be it further RESOLVED, That we encourage individuals to minister to those who need physical, emotional, and spiritual support in the midst of a crisis pregnancy; and
    Be it finally RESOLVED, That we encourage all churches of the SBC to observe Sanctity of Human Life Sunday on the Convention's calendar, January 17, 1988.
    • Resolution On Abortion, adopted at the SBC convention, 17 June 1987; as qtd. in “The Johnston Archive”, SBC Resolutions. (Last updated 7 November 2010).
  • WHEREAS, Southern Baptists have traditionally opposed abortion; and
    WHEREAS, Title IX of the United States Code has been interpreted by federal regulatory agencies and federal courts to equate the failure or refusal to provide abortion services with "sex discrimination"; and
    WHEREAS, The Civil Rights Restoration Act (formerly known as the Grove City Bill) if passed as is, will vastly expand the enforcement powers of federal agencies with regard to "sex discrimination"; and
    WHEREAS, The Civil Rights Restoration Act, if passed as is, could be used in federal court to force pro-life hospitals to perform abortions; and


WHEREAS, The Danforth Abortion-Neutral Amendment which states, in part, that nothing in Title IX "shall be construed to grant to secure or deny any right relations to abortion or the funding thereof" will prevent the possibility that the Civil Rights Restoration Act could be used to require pro-life hospitals to perform abortions.
Therefore, be it RESOLVED, That we, the messengers of the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in St. Louis, Missouri, June 16-18, 1987, call upon the Senate of the United States to pass the Danforth Abortion-Neutral Amendment to the Civil Rights Restoration Act; and
Be it finally RESOLVED, That the messengers to the 1987 Southern Baptist Convention urge the Christian Life Commission to vigorously support the Danforth Amendment.

    • Resolution On Support Of The Danforth Amendment, adopted at the SBC convention, 17 June 1987; as qtd. in “The Johnston Archive”, SBC Resolutions. (Last updated 7 November 2010).
  • WHEREAS, Abortion on demand was legalized by the United States Supreme Court on January 22, 1973; and
    WHEREAS, Over 22 million innocent unborn American children have died by legalized abortion since that date; and
    WHEREAS, Most Southern Baptist church members are firmly opposed to the aforementioned Supreme Court decision, understanding that that which is legal in this case is not moral; and
    WHEREAS, The trustees of the Home Mission Board have created a staff position of Coordinator of Alternatives to Abortion Ministries to help Southern Baptists devleop ministries of Abortion Alternatives Outreach; and
    WHEREAS, The trustees of the Christian Life Commission have adopted a firm policy opposing abortion except to prevent the death of the mother, which policy states, in part, that "Human life, from fertilization until natural death, is sacred and should be protected, not destroyed"; and
    WHEREAS, The trustees of the Sunday School Board have adopted a plan to publish annual, dated lessons opposing abortion on Sanctity of Human Life Sunday.
    Therefore, be it RESOLVED, That we, the messengers of the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in San Antonio, Texas, June 14-16, 1988, express our appreciation to the trustees of the Home Mission Board, the Christian Life Commission, and the Sunday School Board; and Be it finally RESOLVED, That we call upon all Southern Baptists to take an active stand in support of the sanctity of human life.
    • Resolution On Pro-Life Actions Of SBC Agencies, adopted at the SBC convention, 15 June 1988; as qtd. in “The Johnston Archive”, SBC Resolutions. (Last updated 7 November 2010).
  • WHEREAS, Southern Baptists have historically upheld the sanctity and worth of all human life, both born and preborn, as being created in the image of God; and
    WHEREAS, the messengers to the annual meetings of the Southern Baptist Convention during the past decade have repeatedly reaffirmed their opposition to legalized abortion, except in cases where the mother's life is immediately threatened; and
    WHEREAS, the Supreme Court of the United States in the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, and its progeny, denied the right of the fifty state legislatures and the Congress to protect the preborn child by law; and
    WHEREAS, the Court may now be willing to permit the states and the Congress once again to enact legislation regulating and restricting abortion.
    Therefore, be it RESOLVED, That we, the messengers of the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in Las Vegas, June 13-15, 1989, do strongly urge the fifty state legislatures and the Congress to enact legislation to restrict the practice of induced abortion; and
    Be it further RESOLVED, That we urge the Christian Life Commission and the various state Baptist conventions, and their Christian Life Committees, affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention actively to promote the passage of such legislation; and
    Be it finally RESOLVED, That we do reaffirm our opposition to legalized abortion and our support of appropriate federal and state legislation and/or constitutional amendment which will prohibit abortion except to prevent the imminent death of the mother.
    • Resolution On Encouraging Laws Regulating Abortion, adopted at the SBC convention, 14 June 1989; as qtd. in “The Johnston Archive”, SBC Resolutions. (Last updated 7 November 2010).
  • WHEREAS, The Bible teaches that God holds human life to be sacred and created human beings in His own image; and
    WHEREAS, Southern Baptists have historically affirmed biblical teaching regarding the sanctity of human life by adopting numerous pro-life resolutions at the national, state, and local levels; and
    WHEREAS, Approximately 1.6 million unborn babies are killed each year in America as a result of the 1973 decision of the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade; and
    WHEREAS, In 1989 the Supreme Court began the dismantlement of the Roe decision by upholding a Missouri pro-life statute in Webster v. Reproductive Health Services; and
    WHEREAS, As a result of the Webster decision, states now have more flexibility to regulate and restrict the practice of abortion; and
    WHEREAS, The Supreme Court is likely to erode or overturn the Roe decision in the near future; and
    WHEREAS, Legislation has been introduced in the United States Congress which would codify and expand the Roe abortion rights and thereby restrict the rights of states to regulate abortions within their borders; and
    WHEREAS, Pro-abortion legislators in Congress are also attempting to repeal restrictions on federal abortion funding; and
    WHEREAS, New drugs and technologies, including RU-486, which will make the practice of abortion easier, are being researched and used in other nations and abortion advocates are attempting to bring these technologies to America; and
    WHEREAS, Some scientists in America are experimenting with the tissues of babies from induced abortions in order to find cures to certain diseases and are working to repeal the ban on federal government research on fetal tissue transplantation; Now, therefore,
    BE IT RESOLVED, That we the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, June 4-6, 1991, affirm the biblical prohibition against the taking of unborn human life except to save the life of the mother; and
    BE IT FUTHER RESOLVED, That we call on all Southern Baptists to work for the adoption of pro-life legislation in their respective states which would expand protection for unborn babies; and
    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That we call on all Southern Baptists to work with equal fervor to compassionately encourage and assist girls and women with unplanned or unwanted pregnancies to carry their children to term and to prepare for the best life possible for their children; and
    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That we oppose all efforts by the United States Congress to limit the rights of states to restrict abortion-on-demand and call upon Congress to maintain current pro-life policies which prohibit the use of federal funds to encourage, promote, or perform abortions except to save the life of the mother; and
    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That we oppose the testing, approval, distribution, and marketing in America of new drugs and technologies which will make the practice of abortion more convenient and more widespread; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That we support the current federal government ban on funding any transplantation of tissue from induced abortions for purposes of experimentation and research and call on the federal government to maintain the ban despite pressure from the scientific community and pro-abortion organizations.

    • Resolution On Sanctity Of Human Life, adopted at the SBC convention, 5 June 1991; as qtd. in “The Johnston Archive”, SBC Resolutions. (Last updated 7 November 2010).
  • WHEREAS, The Southern Baptist Convention has repeatedly affirmed the sanctity of human life and has strongly opposed abortion on demand; and
    WHEREAS, The United States Congress is considering legislation which would overturn the federal moratorium on the use of fetal tissue from induced abortions in federally funded transplantation research, thus allowing electively aborted babies to be exploited for scientific and commercial purposes.
    Therefore,
    Be it RESOLVED, That we, the messengers to the 135th session of the Southern Baptist Convention urge the United States Congress to sustain the President's federal moratorium; and
    Be it further RESOLVED, That we affirm Southern Baptist opposition to the unethical practice of using fetal tissue from induced abortions in experimental research, whether privately or publicly funded.
    • Resolution On Fetal Tissue Experimentation, adopted at the SBC convention, June 1992; as qtd. in “The Johnston Archive”, SBC Resolutions. (Last updated 7 November 2010).
  • WHEREAS, The Bible teaches that God holds human life to be sacred because He created human beings in His own image (Gen. 1:27, Gen. 9:6); and
    WHEREAS, Southern Baptists have historically affirmed biblical teaching regarding the sanctity of human life by adopting numerous pro-life resolutions at national, state, and associational meetings; and
    WHEREAS, Approximately 1.6 million unborn babies are now being killed each year in America, nearly 30 million in the past 20 years, as a result of the 1973 decision of the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade and
    WHEREAS, Last year in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, the Supreme Court reaffirmed the central holding of Roe and further entrenched abortion "rights" in the Constitution; and
    WHEREAS, Although Casey reaffirmed abortion rights, states still retain a limited ability to regulate and restrict abortion; and
    WHEREAS, The Freedom of Choice Act which is now poised for passage in the United States Congress, and would, if adopted, result in a national abortion-on-demand law prohibiting states from regulating and restricting abortions in any meaningful way, even during the last three months of pregnancy; and
    WHEREAS, President Clinton and pro-abortion legislators in Congress are also attempting to repeal the Hyde Amendment and other pro-life policies which prohibit taxpayer funding of abortion; and
    WHEREAS, Health care reform being considered by Congress and the Clinton Administration is likely to require taxpayers and private employers to pay for abortion in spite of their moral objections to this policy; and
    WHEREAS, Congress is currently considering legislation which would deny pro-lifers their First Amendment freedom of speech rights during responsible non-violent protests outside abortion clinics; and
    WHEREAS, President Clinton has instructed the Food and Drug Administration to make certain abortion pills available in the United States; and

WHEREAS, President Clinton has repealed the ban on federally-funded research using electively aborted fetal tissue in scientific experiments.
Therefore, Be it RESOLVED, That we, the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in Houston, Texas, June 15-17, 1993, affirm the biblical teaching that God is the author of life and that human life begins at conception (Psa. 51:5; 139:14-16, Jer. 1:5); and
Be it further RESOLVED, That we affirm the biblical prohibition on the taking of unborn human life except to save the life of the mother; and
Be it further RESOLVED, That we oppose all efforts by the United States Congress to pass the radical abortion on demand bill, the Freedom of Choice Act; and
Be it further RESOLVED, That we call upon Congress to maintain the Hyde Amendment and other pro-life policies which prohibit the use of federal funds to encourage, promote, or perform abortions except to save the life of the mother, thereby protecting the unborn and the consciences of millions of pro-life taxpayers; and
Be it further RESOLVED, That we oppose the inclusion of abortion in any health care plan which may be proposed by the President and adopted by Congress and urge policy makers to protect the consciences of millions of pro-life taxpayers and employers by not forcing them to pay for such a repugnant act; and
Be it further RESOLVED, That we oppose the passage of any legislation which would have the effect of denying First Amendment freedom of speech rights, especially as a means of responsible, non-violent protest at abortion clinics; and
Be it further RESOLVED, That we oppose the testing, approval, distribution, marketing and usage in the United States of any abortion pills and urge U.S. corporations which are considering such business ventures to refuse to do so; and
Be it finally RESOLVED, That we remain morally opposed to the use of electively aborted fetal tissue in all experiments conducted by the federal government and urge President Clinton to reconsider his decision to advance such reprehensible research.

    • Resolution On The Freedom Of Choice Act, Hyde Amendment, adopted at the SBC convention, 16 June 1993; as qtd. in “The Johnston Archive”, SBC Resolutions. (Last updated 7 November 2010).
  • WHEREAS, The Bible clearly teaches that human life is sacred and must be protected; and
    WHEREAS, Southern Baptists have consistently upheld the sanctity of human life by adopting numerous resolutions at the associational, state, and national venues, advocating public policies to protect the unborn and encouraging the development of crisis pregnancy centers; and
    WHEREAS, RU 486, the French abortion pill, is a direct assault on the sacredness and value of unborn human life in that this drug kills an unborn child whose heart has already started to beat; and
    WHEREAS, While RU 486 has often been called a "morning-after" pill, its only proven use is an abortifacient and is, therefore, not a true contraceptive; and
    WHEREAS, President Clinton signed on Executive Order on January 22, 1993 (the 20th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion on demand), ordering the Food and Drug Administration to facilitate the introduction of RU 486 into United States markets; and
    WHEREAS, On May 16, 1994, the French drug company Roussel Uclaf donated its U.S. patent rights for the RU 486 abortion technique to the Population Council, an American pro-abortion organization, for the purpose of bringing the drug to America; and
    WHEREAS, Roussel Uclaf acknowledged the pressure applied by the Clinton Administration to accomplish the transfer of the patent rights when Roussel's representative said on May 16, "It was only when President Clinton changed the governmental policy and specifically asked Roussel to make the procedure available here that our client (Roussel Uclaf), out of respect for the President of the United States, agreed to make every effort to comply with his request"; and
    WHEREAS, The stated purpose of the use of RU 486 according to its advocates is to make abortion more accessible to women by encouraging more physicians to become abortionists; and
    WHEREAS, Past experience has demonstrated that increasing the number of abortionists vastly expands the number of abortions, which currently stands at 1.6 million per year in America; and
    WHEREAS, The use of RU 486 has resulted in the injury and death of some women in nations where this abortion technique is currently available; and
    WHEREAS, The Clinton Administration's advocacy for RU 486 clearly belies the President's repeatedly stated goal for his abortion policy to make abortion "safe and legal, but rare"; and
    WHEREAS, Pro-life organizations, including the Southern Baptist Christian Life Commission, have announced the intention of initiating a boycott against Roussel Uclaf and its German parent company, Hoechst A G (including their American subsidiaries, Hoechst Celanese and Hoechst Roussel), for their corporate responsibility for making this drug available in America; and
    WHEREAS, Economic boycotts are a legitimate means for Christians to use to express their convictions about immoral products in the marketplace.
    Therefore, Be it RESOLVED, That we, the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in Orlando, Florida, June 14-16, 1994, condemn the blatant advocacy of RU 486 by the Clinton Administration, and oppose the testing, approval, manufacturing, marketing, and sale of the abortion pill in the United States; and
    Be it finally RESOLVED, That we urge Southern Baptists and their churches, associations, state conventions, and national agencies to support the impending boycott which will be waged against Roussel Uclaf and Hoechst A G, including their American subsidiaries.
    • Resolution On Ru 486, The French Abortion Pill, adopted at the SBC convention, 15 June 1994; as qtd. in “The Johnston Archive”, SBC Resolutions. (Last updated 7 November 2010).
  • WHEREAS, The Southern Baptist Convention has consistently and overwhelmingly adopted resolutions affirming the declarations of Scripture that all human life is a sacred gift from our sovereign God and therefore that all abortions, except in those very rare cases where the life of the mother is clearly in danger, are wrong; and
    WHEREAS, A specific technique known as partial-birth abortion is a particularly grisly procedure wherein a doctor uses forceps and hands to deliver an intact baby, feet first, until only the head remains in the birth canal, whereafter the doctor pierces the base of the baby’s skull with surgical scissors, whereafter he or she then inserts a canula into the incision and suctions out the brain of the baby so the head collapses; and
    WHEREAS, The Congress of the United States has passed legislation which would make this inhumane procedure, which the American Catholic cardinals have correctly characterized as More akin to infanticide than abortion illegal except to save the life of the mother; and
    WHEREAS, The President of the United States vetoed this legislation and offered as justification for his action that he had prayed about the matter and determined that he could not sign the legislation unless it contained an exception for cases where there might be Serious health consequences to the mother and
    WHEREAS, The mother’s health exception has been completely discredited as a catch-all loophole which has been demonstrated to include any reason the mother so desires; and
    WHEREAS, The Bible is the perfect revelation of God’s will, including His perfect moral will for those whom He has created in His very own image; and
    WHEREAS, It is impossible to conclude that God, who is perfect and unchanging in all His attributes, and whose laws are perfect and immutable, would reveal to any person, through prayer, that which is contrary to His Word; and
    WHEREAS, Abortion in general, and partial-birth abortion in particular, continues as a blight upon our culture and surely deserves God’s judgment; Now, therefore,
    BE IT RESOLVED, That we, the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in session June 11-13, 1996, in New Orleans, Louisiana, do commend those members of Congress who voted to support legislation which would have abolished partial-birth abortions; and
    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That we express our strong disapproval of the votes of those members of Congress who stood in opposition to this legislation; and
    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That we express our strong disapproval of President Clinton’s veto of this legislation; and
    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That we express our disapproval of the President’s suggestion that God would reveal to him in prayer that any abortion method, particularly one so barbarous in technique and so cruel in effect, would ever have God’s approval; and
    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That we, the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention, in a genuine spirit of love do admonish and encourage President Clinton, himself a Southern Baptist, to reverse his shameful decision to veto this legislation and sign it into law; or in the alternative of such failure to reverse his action, we call upon every member of Congress to vote to override the President’s veto; and
    BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, That we pray for our nation, upon whom the blight of abortion remains, that we might come to recognize the sanctity of innocent, unborn babies and that we might seek civil justice for these innocent victims of a cruelty so harsh that we are surely accountable for our failure to intervene on their behalf.
    • Resolution On The Partial-Birth Abortion Ban, adopted at the SBC convention, 12 June 1996; as qtd. in “The Johnston Archive”, SBC Resolutions. (Last updated 7 November 2010).
  • WHEREAS, Developments in human stem cell research have brought into fresh focus the dignity and status of the human embryo; and
    WHEREAS, The National Bioethics Advisory Commission has called for the removal of the ban on public funding of human embryo research; and
    WHEREAS, The Bible teaches that human beings are made in the image and likeness of God (Gen. 1:27; 9:6) and protectable human life begins at fertilization; and
    WHEREAS, Efforts to rescind the ban on public funding of human embryo research rely on a crass utilitarian ethic which would sacrifice the lives of the few for the benefits of the many; and
    WHEREAS, Current law against federal funding of research in which human embryos are harmed and/or destroyed reflects well-established national and international legal and ethical norms against misusing any human being for research purposes; and
    WHEREAS, The existing law forbidding public funding of human embryo research is built upon universally held principles governing experiments on human subjects, including principles contained in the Nuremberg Code, the World Medical Association's Declaration of Helsinki, the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, and other statements; and
    WHEREAS, The use of human embryos in research would likely lead to an increase in the number of abortions and create a market for aborted embryos and other fetal tissues; and
    WHEREAS, Some forms of human stem cell research require the destruction of human embryos in order to obtain the cells for such research and Southern Baptists are on record for their decades-long opposition to abortion except to save the physical life of the mother and their opposition to destructive human embryo research; and
    WHEREAS, Exciting advances in human stem cell research are on the horizon which do not require the destruction of embryos, leading the British Medical Journal to state that the use of human embryonic stem cells "may soon be eclipsed by the more readily available and less controversial adult stem cells;" and
    WHEREAS, Treatments for Alzheimer's, diabetes, Parkinson's disease, and a host of maladies may soon be within our reach without sacrificing human embryos.
    Be it RESOLVED, that we, the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, June 15-16, 1999, reaffirm our vigorous opposition to the destruction of innocent human life, including the destruction of human embryos; and
    Be it further RESOLVED, that we call upon the United States Congress to maintain the existing ban on the use of tax dollars to support research which requires the destruction of human embryos; and
    Be it further RESOLVED, that we call upon those private research centers which perform such experiments to cease and desist from research which destroys human embryos, the most vulnerable members of the human community; and
    Be it finally RESOLVED, that we encourage support for the development of alternative treatments which do not require human embryos to be killed.
    • Resolution #7: On Human Embryonic and Stem Cell Research, adopted at the SBC Convention, 16 June 1999; as qtd. in “The Johnston Archive”, SBC Resolutions. (Last updated 7 November 2010).
  • WHEREAS, Experiments are currently being performed using organs, tissues, and cells obtained from human embryos and fetuses; and
    WHEREAS, Most of these organs, tissues, and cells are harvested from embryos and fetuses destroyed through elective abortions; and
    WHEREAS, Companies such as the Anatomic Gift Foundation and Opening Lines have been found to traffic in human fetal body parts-buying, dissecting, and selling those tissues; and
    WHEREAS, Tax-funded research is being performed in Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, and other states using electively-aborted human fetal body parts; and
    WHEREAS, The growing industry of buying and selling human fetal organs, tissues, and cells represents a grisly practice that converts human body parts into a commodity to be bought and sold in the marketplace; and
    WHEREAS, Elective abortion is an act of violence against unborn human beings, and the sale of their tissues is an assault on the biblical truth that all human beings are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27; Psalm 139:13-16); and
    WHEREAS, The Southern Baptist Convention is on record for its enduring, consistent, and vigorous opposition to (1) elective abortion, (2) the use of fetal tissues harvested from elective abortions for research, and (3) experimentation using human embryonic stem cells obtained from electively-aborted embryos.
    Therefore, be it RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in Orlando, Florida, June 13-14, 2000, reaffirm our abhorrence of elective abortion, our repudiation of research using embryos and fetuses from elective abortions, and our repugnance toward the exploitation of unborn human beings through the sale of their body parts; and

Be it further RESOLVED, That we call upon our elected officials at every level to enforce existing laws against the sale of human fetal tissues and to take appropriate steps to stop the trafficking of baby body parts; and
Be it finally RESOLVED, That we urge the presidential, vice-presidential, and congressional candidates for the 2000 election to make known publicly their stance on the harvesting and selling of human tissues obtained through elective abortions.

    • Resolution #4: On Human Fetal Tissue Trafficking, adopted at the SBC convention, 14 June 2000; as qtd. in “The Johnston Archive”, SBC Resolutions. (Last updated 7 November 2010).
  • WHEREAS, Our Convention has a long history of affirming the sanctity of life; and
    WHEREAS, President George W. Bush has reiterated his agreement with us in our historical efforts to save children from their deaths by abortion, in his remarks to this convention on June 11, 2002; and
    WHEREAS, There seems to have been a diversion from this tragedy of abortion by the national tragedy of September 11, 2001; now, therefore, be it
    RESOLVED, That the messengers of the Southern Baptist Convention, in St. Louis, Missouri, June 11-12, 2002, respectfully request that the President make the passage of legislation banning partial-birth abortion a high priority in this administration. With the current and past support of such legislation and without the threat of a veto, we believe that now is the time to end this inhumane and horrendous practice.
    FURTHER, That this resolution be delivered to the President, Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate of the United States.
    • Resolution #10: On Partial Birth Abortion, adopted at the SBC convention, 12 June 2002; as qtd. in “The Johnston Archive”, SBC Resolutions. (Last updated 7 November 2010).
  • WHEREAS, Scripture reveals that all human life is created in the image of God, and therefore sacred to our Creator (Genesis 1:27; Genesis 9:6); and
    WHEREAS, The Bible affirms that the unborn baby is a person bearing the image of God from the moment of conception (Psalm 139:13Đ16; Luke 1:44); and
    WHEREAS, Scripture further commands the people of God to plead for protection for the innocent and justice for the fatherless (Psalm 72:12Đ14; Psalm 82:3; James 1:27); and
    WHEREAS, January 2003 marked thirty years since the 1973 United States Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion in all fifty states; and
    WHEREAS, Resolutions passed by the Southern Baptist Convention in 1971 and 1974 accepted unbiblical premises of the abortion rights movement, forfeiting the opportunity to advocate the protection of defenseless women and children; and
    WHEREAS, During the early years of the post-Roe era, some of those then in leadership positions within the denomination endorsed and furthered the "pro-choice" abortion rights agenda outlined in Roe v. Wade; and
    WHEREAS, Some political leaders have referenced 1970s-era Southern Baptist Convention resolutions and statements by former Southern Baptist Convention leaders to oppose legislative efforts to protect women and children from abortion; and
    WHEREAS, Southern Baptist churches have effected a renewal of biblical orthodoxy and confessional integrity in our denomination, beginning with the Southern Baptist Convention presidential election of 1979; and
    WHEREAS, The Southern Baptist Convention has maintained a robust commitment to the sanctity of all human life, including that of the unborn, beginning with a landmark pro-life resolution in 1982; and
    WHEREAS, Our confessional statement, The Baptist Faith and Message, affirms that children "from the moment of conception, are a blessing and heritage from the Lord"; and further affirms that Southern Baptists are mandated by Scripture to "speak on behalf of the unborn and contend for the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death"; and
    WHEREAS, The legacy of Roe v. Wade has grown to include ongoing assaults on human life such as euthanasia, the harvesting of human embryos for the purposes of medical experimentation, and an accelerating move toward human cloning; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, June 17Đ18, 2003, reiterate our conviction that the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision was based on a fundamentally flawed understanding of the United States Constitution, human embryology, and the basic principles of human rights; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we reaffirm our belief that the Roe v. Wade decision was an act of injustice against innocent unborn children as well as against vulnerable women in crisis pregnancy situations, both of which have been victimized by a "sexual revolution" that empowers predatory and irresponsible men and by a lucrative abortion industry that has fought against even the most minimal restrictions on abortion; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we offer our prayers, our love, and our advocacy for women and men who have been abused by abortion and the emotional, spiritual, and physical aftermath of this horrific practice; affirming that the gospel of Jesus Christ grants complete forgiveness for any sin, including that of abortion; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we lament and renounce statements and actions by previous Conventions and previous denominational leadership that offered support to the abortion culture; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we humbly confess that the initial blindness of many in our Convention to the enormity of Roe v. Wade should serve as a warning to contemporary Southern Baptists of the subtlety of the spirit of the age in obscuring a biblical worldview; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we urge our Southern Baptist churches to remain vigilant in the protection of human life by preaching the whole counsel of God on matters of human sexuality and the sanctity of life, by encouraging and empowering Southern Baptists to adopt unwanted children, by providing spiritual, emotional, and financial support for women in crisis pregnancies, and by calling on our government officials to take action to protect the lives of women and children; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we express our appreciation to both houses of Congress for their passage of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003, and we applaud President Bush for his commitment to sign this bill into law; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we urge Congress to act swiftly to deliver this bill to President Bush for his signature; and be it finally
RESOLVED, That we pray and work for the repeal of the Roe v. Wade decision and for the day when the act of abortion will be not only illegal, but also unthinkable.

    • Resolution #8: On Thirty Years of Roe V. Wade, adopted at the SBC convention, June 2003; as qtd. in “The Johnston Archive”, SBC Resolutions. (Last updated 7 November 2010).
  • WHEREAS, The Bible teaches that all human life is sacred (Genesis 1:26-27); and
    WHEREAS, Humans have a sacred trust to care for the most vulnerable among us (Matthew 25:31-46); and
    WHEREAS, Current trends in stem cell research promise great benefit to some and threaten great peril to others; and
    WHEREAS, Stem cell research using non-embryonic stem cells offers tremendous hope for millions of people and has already produced many successful results in humans, such as relieving the symptoms of juvenile diabetes, reversing Parkinson's disease symptoms, regenerating heart tissue, and restoring feeling and mobility to people with spinal cord injuries; and
    WHEREAS, Embryonic stem cell research currently requires the destruction of human embryos; and
    WHEREAS, Embryo-destructive research has not produced any positive results or cures; and
    WHEREAS, Even if it does, it is never morally acceptable to prey on some humans to benefit others; and
    WHEREAS, We do not believe that the issue of world competition in embryo-destructive research justifies our nation's entry into this barbaric activity; and
    WHEREAS, The United States House of Representatives has voted to provide federal funding for human-destructive research on embryos being stored at fertility clinics; and
    WHEREAS, The United States Senate is preparing to vote on this issue; now, therefore, be it RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Nashville, Tennessee, June 21-22, 2005, wholeheartedly support efforts to find cures and therapies for human maladies that respect the sanctity of all human life; and be it further
    RESOLVED, That we strongly support stem cell research that does not require the destruction of human embryos or put them at risk in obtaining human stem cells; and be it further
    RESOLVED, That we deplore embryo-destructive research, since it kills human beings in their earliest stages of development; and be it further
    RESOLVED, That we express our deep disappointment in those members of the United States House of Representatives who voted in favor of embryo-destructive research for their abject failure to protect the lives of these innocent human beings; and be it further
    RESOLVED, That we commend those members of the United States House of Representatives who voted against embryo-destructive research for their courageous stand on behalf of these voiceless human beings; and be it further
    RESOLVED, That we urge the United States Senate to reject any legislation that calls for embryo-destructive research, regardless of the origin of the embryos, beyond the cell lines which are currently approved for federally funded research; and be it further
    RESOLVED, That we commend the president for his commitment to veto any bills that call for federal funding of embryo-destructive research beyond the cell lines he has already approved; and be it finally
    RESOLVED, That we encourage Southern Baptists to consider ways they can become involved in life-affirming activities, including adopting embryos being stored at fertility clinics.
    • Resolution #2: On Stem Cell Research, adopted at the SBC convention, June 2005; as qtd. in “The Johnston Archive”, SBC Resolutions. (Last updated 7 November 2010).
  • WHEREAS, Scripture speaks to the sanctity of human life in the womb (Psalm 139:13-16) and God's abhorrence of those who murder the innocent (Proverbs 6:16-17; 24:11-12), which apply directly to Planned Parenthood, America’s largest abortion provider; and
    WHEREAS, Planned Parenthood is the offspring of Margaret Sanger, an early advocate of eugenics or the weeding out of "undesirable" people; and
    WHEREAS, Planned Parenthood markets its warped view of human intimacy and encourages promiscuity among underage girls through its Teenwire Web site; and
    WHEREAS, Planned Parenthood profits from helping underage girls abort their pregnancies without notice to their parents; and
    WHEREAS, Planned Parenthood has launched a massive campaign to mobilize voters this year, planning to raise at least $10 million to recruit people to lobby legislators and vote for candidates who support the Planned Parenthood agenda of unlimited abortion, sex outside of marriage, value-free sex education in public schools, and increased taxpayer subsidies for the organization; and
    WHEREAS, Planned Parenthood is already aided by huge federal subsidies, with over 300 million of our tax dollars funding the deaths of nearly 300 thousand innocent pre-born babies every year; now, therefore, be it
    RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana, June 10-11, 2008, decry the immoral actions of Planned Parenthood clinics across America; and be it further
    RESOLVED, That we encourage the evaluation of candidates for elected office based on their affiliation with Planned Parenthood; and be it further
    RESOLVED, That we call on both houses of the United States Congress to defund Planned Parenthood; and be it finally
    RESOLVED, That we urge President George W. Bush to veto any budget requests that include funding for this merchant of family disintegration and death.
    • Resolution #8: On Planned Parenthood, adopted at the SBC convention, June 2008; as qtd. in “The Johnston Archive”, SBC Resolutions. (Last updated 7 November 2010).
  • "[I]f he who destroys what is conceived in the womb by abortion is a murderer, how much more is he unable to excuse himself of murder who kills a child even one day old."
  • Abortion has long been a controversial issue in the United States. Rev. Arne Panula is a priest in Washington and a member of Opus Dei, a conservative Catholic organization. He says the church's teaching on abortion is very clear.
    "The principle that the church is upholding here is that it is never right to take an innocent life,” Panula said. “No matter how that life is conceived, once you have a human life here, once you have life, the church holds the sacredness of this life to be invaluable."
    The position of Catholics for Choice is that abortion is a private issue of conscience. It says a woman has a right to follow her conscience within church doctrine.
    "If a woman decides after really thinking and examining her conscience that having an abortion is moral and the right choice for her at that particular time, she is in Catholic teaching entitled to do it. It doesn't mean abortion is a good thing to do within the Catholic church.” O'Brien explained.
  • Every abortion kills two the child and the conscience of the mother. The latter will never forget she, herself, has killed her own child. If you don't want that child, I want it, give it to me!
    • Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Nobel Prize acceptance lecture, September 17, 1988, in Ottawa, Canada
  • For us [Christians], murder is once and for all forbidden; so even the child in the womb, while yet the mother's blood is still being drawn on to form the human being, it is not lawful for us to destroy. To forbid birth is only quicker murder. It makes no difference whether one takes away the life once born or destroys it as it comes to birth. He is a man, who is to be a man; the fruit is always present in the seed.
    • Tertullian, 197, Apologeticus, page 9:6; as quoted in Donovan, Colin B, [www.ewtn.com/expert/answers/abortio2.htm] "Abortion - Exocommunication"], “Early Teachings of the Church”, Eternal Word Television Network, Retrieved 2007-06-24.
  • For us [Christians] we may not destroy even the fetus in the womb, while as yet the human be-ing derives blood from other parts of the body for its sustenance. To hinder a birth is merely a speedier man-killing; nor does it matter when you take away a life that is born, or destroy one that is coming to birth. That is a man which is going to be one: you have the fruit already in the seed."
  • Accordingly, among surgeon's tools, there is a certain instrument, which is formed with a nicely-adjusted flexible frame for opening the uterus first of all, and keeping it open; it is further furnished with an annular blade, by means of which the limbs within the womb are dissected with anxious but unfaltering care; its last appendage being a blunted or covered hood, wherewith the entire foetus is extracted by a violent delivery. There is also a copper needle or spike, by which the actual death is managed in this furtive robbery of life: they give it, from its infanticide function, the name of enbruosphaktes, the slayer of the infant, which was of course alive ... life begins with conception, because we contend that the soul also begins from conception; life taking its commencement at the same moment and place that the soul does.
    • Tertullian, theologian (150-225), Treatise on the Soul, pages 25 and 27; as quoted in Donovan, Colin B, [www.ewtn.com/expert/answers/abortio2.htm] "Abortion - Exocommunication"], “Early Teachings of the Church”, Eternal Word Television Network, Retrieved 2007-06-24.
  • A woman who destroys her child (perdens partum), [will do penance] for one year, if [she did so] before forty days from conception (si ante XL dies conceptionis). But if after forty [days], she will do penance for three years.
  • Women who have abortions (abhortivum faciunt) before the [foetuses] have „soul‟ (eodem modo...antequam animam habent) [will do penance for] two years, and [if] after, that is forty days after conception of the seed (id est XL dies diebus post conceptionem seminis), [will add on] three lents as murderers (ut homicidae).
  • A woman who conceives and kills her child in the womb before forty days (concepit et occidit filium suum in utero ante XL dies), will do pen-ance for one year; if she kills after forty days, she ought to do penance as a murderer (quasi homicida debet penitere); if [the child] dies without baptism because of someone‟s bloodshed (moriatur si nece hominis si-ne baptimo), let her do penance for three years.
  • Women who have abortions before [the foetus] has „soul‟ (abortiuum faciunt antequam animam habeat), should do penance for one year or three lents or forty days according to the nature of her guilt (iuxta quali-tatem culpae). And [if] after, that is after forty days from the reception of the seed (post id est post XL dies accepti seminis), they should do pen-ance as murderers (ut homicidae) for three years on Wednesdays and Fridays and in the three lents. This is judged ten years according to the canons (Hoc secundum canones decennium iudicatur).
  • A woman who conceives and kills her infant in the womb before forty days (concepit et occidit infantem suum in utero ante XL dies) should do penance for one year. But if after forty days, she should do penance as a murderer (ut homicida peneteat).
  • Since the ancient time the Church has viewed deliberate abortion as a grave sin. The canons equate abortion with murder. This assessment is based on the conviction that the conception of a human being is a gift of God. Therefore, from the moment of conception any encroachment on the life of a future human being is criminal.
    The Psalmist describes the development of the foetus in a mother’s womb as God’s creative action: ‘’thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb… My substance was not hid from thee, them I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest part of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance» (Ps. 139:13, 15-16). Job testifies to the same in the words addressed to God: «thine hands have made me and fashioned me together round about… Hast thou not poured me out as milk, and curdled me like cheese? Thou hast clothed me with skin and flesh, and hast fenced me with bones and sinews. Thou hast granted me life and favour, and thy visitation hath preserved by spirit… Thou brought me forth out of the womb» (Job 10:8-12, 18). «I formed thee in the belly… and before thou comest out of the womb I sanctified thee», says the Lord to the Prophet Jeremiah. «Thou shalt not procure abortion, nor commit infanticide» — this order is placed among the most important commandments of God in the ‘’Teaching of the Twelve Apostles’’, one of the oldest Christian manuscripts. «A woman who brought on abortion is a murderer and will give an account to God», wrote Athenagoras, an apologist of the 2nd century. «One who will be man is already man», argued Tertullian at the turn of the 3rd century. «She who purposely destroys the foetus, shall suffer the punishment of murder… Those who give drugs for procuring abortion, and those who receive poisons to kill the foetus, are subjected to the same penalty as murder», read the 2nd and 8th rules of St. Basil the Great, included in the Book of Statutes of the Orthodox Church and confirmed by Canon 91 of the Sixth Ecumenical Council. At the same time, St. Basil clarifies: «And we pay no attention to the subtle distinction as to whether the foetus was formed or unformed». St. John Chrysostom described those who perform abortion as «being worse than murderers».
  • The Church sees the widely spread and justified abortion in contemporary society as a threat to the future of humanity and a clear sign of its moral degradation. It is incompatible to be faithful to the biblical and patristic teaching that human life is sacred and precious from its origin and to recognise woman’s «free choice» in disposing of the fate of the foetus. In addition, abortion present a serious threat to the physical and spiritual health of a mother. The Church has always considered it her duty to protect the most vulnerable and dependent human beings, namely, unborn children. Under no circumstances the Orthodox Church can bless abortion. Without rejecting the women who had an abortion, the Church calls upon them to repent and to overcome the destructive consequences of the sin through prayer and penance followed by participation in the salvific Sacraments. ‘’’In case of a direct [threat to the life of a mother if her pregnancy continues, especially if she has other children, it is recommended to be lenient in the pastoral practice. The woman who interrupted pregnancy in this situation shall not be excluded from the Eucharistic communion with the Church provided that she has fulfilled the canon of Penance assigned by the priest who takes her confession.’’’ The struggle with abortion, to which women sometimes have to resort because of abject poverty and helplessness, demands that the Church and society work out effective measures to protect motherhood and to create conditions for the adoption of the children whose mothers cannot raise them on their own for some reason.
    Responsibility for the sin of the murder of the unborn child should be borne, along with the mother, by the father if he gave his consent to the abortion. If a wife had an abortion without the consent of her husband, it may be grounds for divorce (see X. 3). Sin also lies with the doctor who performed the abortion. The Church calls upon the state to recognize the right of medics to refuse to procure abortion for the reasons of conscience. The situation cannot be considered normal where the legal responsibility of a doctor for the death of a mother is made incomparably higher than the responsibility for the destruction of the foetus — the situation that provokes medics and through them patients, too, to do abortions. The doctor should be utterly responsible in establishing a diagnosis that can prompt a woman to interrupt her pregnancy. In doing so, a believing medic should carefully correlate the clinic indications with the dictates of his Christian conscience.
  • In order to render the moral directives concerning responsible procreation concretely applicable, it is necessary that the precious work of confessors be completed by catechesis. Accurate illumination of consciences with regard to the sin of abortion certainly forms an integral part of this task.
    Regarding absolution for the sin of abortion, the obligation always exists to have regard for the canonical norms. If repentance is sincere and it is difficult to send the penitent to the competent authority to whom the absolution of the censure is reserved, every confessor can absolve according to can, suggesting an adequate penitential act, and indicating the necessity to have recourse, possibly offering to draft and forward it himself.
  • Those who give drugs for procuring abortion, and those who receive poisons to kill the fœtus, are subjected to the penalty of murder.
    • “Council of Trullo”, (692); translated by Henry Percival. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 14. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1900.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight.
  • After the Supreme Court decision in 1972, Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion in the U.S., the UCC has joined with other faith groups to protect women's equal and fair access to abortion and family planning which have been under attack consistently. The strategies of those seeking to overturn Roe have shifted to state legislation.
    There has not been much reproductive health legislation in the past year with any traction for movement at the federal level, but many states continues to pass more restrictive measures around access to abortion. Among these restrictions are: parental consent for minors, bans on specific types of abortion procedures, unusually stringent and burdensome regulations on abortion providers, and funding roadblocks.
  • Before the U.S. Supreme Court's historic decision in Roe v. Wade in 1973, women had to rely on inexperienced medical providers who were willing to perform abortions. The procedure was illegal in many parts of the country at that time, and they were also considerably risky. A network of clergy emerged to help connect women seeking an abortion with doctors who could safely provide them. Made up of Protestant ministers, Jewish rabbis, and dissident Catholic nuns and priests, the Clergy Consultation Service announced their services on May 22, 1967. Several UCC clergy were involved in launching the network, and several more joined it over the years.
  • Because human life is distorted when it is unwatned and unloved, parents seriously violate their re-sponsibility when they bring into the world children for whom they cannot provide love. To support the sacred dimensions of parenthood, all possible efforts should be made to insure that the infant enters the world with a healthy body, and isborn into an environment conducive to realization of his/her full potential. When, through contraceptive or human failure, an unacceptable pregnancy occurs, we believe that a profound regard for unborn human life must be weighed alongside an equally profound regard for fully formed personhood, particularly when the physical, mental and emotional health of the pregnant woman and her family show reason to be seriously threatened by the new life just forming. We reject the simplistic answers to the problem of abortion, which on the one hand regard all abortions as murders, or on the other hand, regard abortions as medical procedures without moral significance.
    • United Methodist Church Board of Church and Society Women’s Division, Board of Global Ministries, “Resolution on Responsible Parenthood”, 1972 General Conference United Methodist Church
  • When an unacceptable pregnancy occurs, a family, and most of all the pregnant woman, is confronted with the need to make a difficult decision. We believe that continuation of a pregnancy endangering the life of the mother is not a moral necessity. In such case, we believe that path of mature Christian judgment may indicate the a disability of abortion. Good social policy, it seems to us, calls for the ‘removal of abortion from the criminal code, so that women in counsel with husbands, doctors, and pastors are free to make their own responsible decisions concerning the personal and moral questions surrounding the issue of abortion.
    • United Methodist Church Board of Church and Society Women’s Division, Board of Global Ministries, “Resolution on Responsible Parenthood”, 1972 General Conference United Methodist Church
  • The Orthodox Church opposes the use of abortions as a contraceptive measure on the basis that it is a form of murder. Scripture and Tradition both testify to the fact that human life begins at the moment of conception. Abortions are accepted as a worst-case scenario when the pregnancy threatens the life of the mother and no other therapeutic options are available.
  • The nexus of fundamentalist politics and religion may be seen in a variety of social and political issues important to Christian conservatives. For example, fundamentalists generally, but not universally, take conservative views on issues involving abortion, homosexuality, and school prayer (see Chapter 3), as well as support for a strong military defense. Abortion is often seen as a violation of the sanctity of life, homosexuality as biblically prohibited, prayer in the public schools as central as central to inculcating appropriate values in children, and a strong national defense as necessary to protect the United States, a uniquely blessed nation (the “New Israel” or “City on a Hill”), from foreign threats.
    Fundamentalist Protestants are more likely to be pro-life and antiabortion than the mainline Protestants or than all others who answered the religion and abortion questions in the general Social Survey. Of the fundamentalists interviewed (see Table 4.1), 28 percent thought that it should not be possible to get a legal abortion even if there was a strong chance of serious birth defects, and only 9 percent of mainline Protestants opposed abortion in that circumstance. Seventy percent of the fundamentalists felt that not wanting any more children was not sufficient reason for an abortion, while mainline Protestants split almost down the middle on that aspect of abortion policy. Yet 86 percent of the interviewed fundamentalists would support a legal abortion in the case of a pregnancy that seriously endangered the woman’s health, and 95 percent of the mainline Protestants would agree (General Social Survey, 2002).
  • Nor can he [the politician] take part in a propaganda campaign in favor of such [an abortion] law, or vote for it.
    • Vatican's Declaration on Abortion, November 18, 1974; as quoted in Donovan, Colin B, [www.ewtn.com/expert/answers/abortio2.htm "Abortion - Exocommunication"], Eternal Word Television Network, “Recent Teachings of the Catholic Church Regarding Abortion”, Retrieved 2007-06-24.
  • The only biblical text that remotely relates to the question of abortion is one involving the accidental causing of a miscarriage. The text is found in the Jewish Torah, at Exodus 21: 22-24.
    When men fight, and one of them pushes a pregnant woman and a miscarriage results, but no other damage ensues, the one responsible shall be fined according as the woman’s husband shall extract from him, the payment to be based on reckoning.
    But if other damage ensues, the penalty shall be life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.
    Jewish Publication Society 1962:136-137).
    When this text was translated into Greek for the Septuagint, the translators replaced the distinction between ‘damage’ and ‘no damage’ with the distinction between an ‘unformed fetus’ and a ‘formed fetus’. In subsequent thinking about pregnancy and moral obligations during pregnancy , the formed-unformed distinction became centrally important (NoOnan 1970:6).
    Within the Jewish and Muslim religious traditions a developmental view of the fetus in utero became – and remains – the majority view. Abortion until a certain stage of pregnancy is ethically permitted because the fetus in utero is relatively unformed and has not acquired certain characteristics (Tendler 2000; Sachedina 2000; Zoloth 2000; Osman 2004; Zoloth 2004).
    In the early centuries of Christianity there was diversity of opinion on the question of abortion. In a Roman Empire where abortion was wudey practiced, some Christian theologians argued that every abortion was a homicide (Noonan 1970:7-14). On the other hand, the ‘formed-unformed’ distinction came to prevail in the mainstream, or most authoritative, Christian theological and penitential traditions. Augustine presaged the predominant view when he argued that an unformed fetus had no soul and no sentience (Noonan 1970:15-16). His view was accepted by Thomas Aquinas and by most theologians through at least the 18th century (Noonan 1970:34-36). There is a nuance here that I do now want to obscure. Both the abortion of an unformed (that is, unensouled) fetus and of a formed (ensouled) fetus were considered to be ‘’sins’’. However, terminating the life of an unformed fetus was morally equivalent to the sin of contraception. In contrast, terminating the life of a formed fetus was considered to be (unjustified) homicide (Noonan 1970:15-18).
    The predominant Christian view was increasingly called into question in the 18th and 19th centuries. Finally, in 1869, the authoritative Roman Catholic view came to be tat it was morally safer to assume that ensoulment occurs at the time of fertilization.
  • My medical students first hear from a family physician who describes himself as pro-life. He's Christian, and his faith is “a large part of the reason” he refuses to perform abortions. “Christ says things like do to others what you want them to do to you, or love your neighbour as yourself, and when I'm in the room with a pregnant patient I think I have two neighbours in there”, he tells the second years. Then they hear from an obstetrician who specialises in abortion care. She too is a Christian, and some students look surprised when she says her religious beliefs are one reason she sought fellowship training in abortion. “Do unto others as you want done to you, always take care of your fellow man. When a woman needs help, I want to help her. So I take those sayings and teachings to mean that God would be very proud of me”, she explains. These two physicians then take questions together, interacting in a friendly way as each commends the other's deep commitment to patient care. Once they leave, I use the case studies they provided to focus attention on the medical ethics of conscientious refusal and conscientious provision of health care.
  • [Prior to 1869], the Church had officially accepted the theory of delayed animation for 500 years ... Abortion before ensoulment was tolerated by the Catholic Church.
    • Wendell W. Watters. Compulsory Pregnancy: The Truth About Abortion. Toronto: McLelland & Steward, 1976. Page 90; as quoted in Donovan, Colin B, [www.ewtn.com/expert/answers/abortio2.htm "Abortion - Exocommunication"], Eternal Word Television Network, Retrieved 2007-06-24.
  • The Holy Scriptures clearly teach that the living, yet unborn, are persons in the sight of God (Job 10:9-11, Psalm 139:13, Psalm 51:5, Jeremiah 1:5, Luke 1:41-44) and are under the protection of his commandment against murder (Exodus 20:13, Matthew 5:21, Genesis 9:6).
    Therefore, abortion is a sin unless it is medically necessary in order to save the life of the mother. But even when a medical abortion appears needed to preserve a mother’s life, the Christian will always proceed with the intent to preserve all human life whenever possible.
    It is the degenerating result of sin in our world that creates such dilemmas in our lives. But these challenges spur us to search God’s Word and to make decisions consistent with his will. In the very sad circumstance of having to choose to preserve one life rather than lose two lives, the weight of Scripture’s message telling us to protect life compels us to try to preserve both lives, or at least one life, whichever is possible.
    All other reasons for abortion fail to reflect God’s high regard for human life and our responsibility to protect it.
    Since the majority of abortions currently performed show disregard for God’s gift of life, we as Christians want to express concern and compassion for distressed, pregnant women by supporting the development of God-pleasing alternatives to abortion programs.
  • Christianity is the historical source of the laws against abortion which existed prior to Roe v. Wade. When Christianity was born into the Roman empire, it made novel and severe moral demands on its converts, demands fundamentally at odds with pagan practices. The world governed by Rome used all sorts of birth control, from prophylactic to medicinal to magical, and accepted abortion (as well as infanticide, divorce, homosexuality, and suicide). Christianity rejected all of these, and as it evangelized society over the next millennium, all of these practices eventually became prohibited by law. That our society has until recently outlawed abortion (and the other practices mentioned) is intelligible only because Christianity was the historical source of our moral, and hence legal, fabric.
  • As we search the Scriptures for God's will concerning abortion, we find that the whole abortion issue can be reduced to one question: Is the fetus in the womb of the mother a human life? If the answer is yes, then abortion for the sake of convenience is murder, and the Christian church has the obligation to teach its members to protect and nourish the life of the unborn child. The sixth commandment gives an absolute prohibition against murder (Exodus 20:13), and so murder is never, under any circumstances, to be regarded as a moral option.
    Often supporters of abortion confuse the issue by pointing to the financial and emotional hardships that both mother and child will face if a pregnancy is carried to full term. Certainly, the pressing social hardships surrounding unwanted pregnancies are enormous, but if an unborn child is a human life, some way of treating the problem must be found other than licensing the hospitals and clinics of our nation to perform mass executions of unwanted children.
    • Wingard, Charles (December 1997). "The OPC and Abortion". New Horizons. Orthodox Presbyterian Church. Retrieved 2011-12-30.
  • The Bible treats human life, from conception to death, as a continuing experience. To willfully terminate it for reasons of convenience is murder. Faithfulness to the Word of God demands that this truth be taught in the church of Jesus Christ.
    • Wingard, Charles (December 1997). "The OPC and Abortion". New Horizons. Orthodox Presbyterian Church. Retrieved 2011-12-30.
  • "We certainly don't adopt the pro-choice perspective, that it's something women can do with their bodies like having their appendix removed," Archdeacon Taylor said. "We live in a broken world where appallingly difficult decisions have to be made."
    She said Victorian laws were ambiguous. Sometimes, it wasn't clear whether women or doctors were breaking the law, while some private clinics offered abortion on demand, including very late-term, to women who could pay the higher fees. These clinics did not operate like hospitals, with ethics committees and other safeguards.
    "If we are serious about reducing the number of abortions, paradoxically we shouldn't make it more difficult legally because we will go back to the days where poorer women resorted to underground means and corruption was rife through the police, medical practitioners and hospitals," she said.
    "The knee-jerk reaction is to make the legislation very restrictive, but the way you reduce abortions is with contraception and sex education. The other thing is to support families — we need to be a pro-child society with a pro-child government."

“World Church Executive Committee Considers Statement on Abortion" (10/18/2019)[edit]

"World Church Executive Committee Considers Statement on Abortion". Adventist News Network, Adventist.org. 18 Oct 2019. Retrieved 12 March 2020.

  • As defined by church practice, a voted Statement outlines the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s official position on a specific matter, while Guidelines offer direction for practical application on a specific subject.
    No previous statement about the sanctity of unborn life had been developed before this week’s document. The last time the denomination issued Guidelines on abortion was in 1992. According to Adventist world church president Ted N. C. Wilson, however, the 1992 Guidelines contained “a far more limited approach in terms of a comprehensive view of the Biblical approach to this precious subject.”
    Wilson went on to clarify the role of a voted Statement in the life of the 21-million-member church. “This is a Statement. It is not part of the Church Manual. It is not intended to be a Statement [by] which church boards and members will judge other people.”
  • Peter Landless, a physician who serves as the director of Health Ministries for the world church, addressed the fear that the Statement is “a nuclear weapon against the Adventist healthcare systems,” clarifying that “the answer is ‘no.’” During his presentation, Landless also displayed a chart showing that the total number of abortions performed by Adventist health care institutions during the past year. The statistics reveal that the number is very small, almost all of them relating to dramatic fetal abnormalities which would make life outside the womb impossible.
  • Doug Batchelor, speaker and director for Amazing Facts Ministries, an independent supporting ministry located in North America, was the first to speak in favor of the Statement. “I praise God because the church is addressing this issue; I wish we would have done it sooner. The Bible teaches that human life is a miracle, a gift of God’s creation and begins at conception.” Batchelor concluded, “Having a clear Biblical statement on abortion does not mean that we are going to attack people who disagree.”
  • Jiri Moskala, dean of the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University, while praising the document for its respect for life, and biblical principles, also offered suggestions for improvement. “This Statement is strangely silent about the most painful issue in regards to abortion, namely rape. I hope we will not send a false signal to our churches by omitting in this document the problem of violence and rape. I think rape should be included.”
    “I really like the fact that this is so centered in the Bible,” said Kathy Proffitt, a delegate from North America who spoke in favor of the document. “Jeremiah 1:5 was mentioned, before I formed you in your mother’s womb,” reminded Proffitt referencing the draft Statement. “God intentionally owns and forms each infant.”

“Statement on the Biblical View of Unborn Life and its Implications for Abortion" (10/18/2019)[edit]

Adventist.org, "Statement on the Biblical View of Unborn Life and its Implications for Abortion" (PDF). 18 Oct 2019. Retrieved 12 March 2020.

  • As the practice of abortion must be weighed in the light of Scripture, the following biblical principles and teachings provide guidance for the community of faith and individuals affected by such difficult choices:
    1. “God upholds the value and sacredness of human life”. Human life is of the greatest value to God. Having created humanity in His image (Genesis 1:27; 2:7), God has a personal interest in people. God loves them and communicates with them, and they in turn can love and communicate with Him.
    Life is a gift of God, and God is the Giver of life. In Jesus is life (John 1:4). He has life in Himself (John 5:26). He is the resurrection and the life (John 11:25; 14:6). He provides abundant life (John 10:10). Those who have the Son have life (1 John 5:12). He is also the Sustainer of life (Acts 17:25-28; Colossians 1:17; Hebrews 1:1-3), and the Holy Spirit is described as the Spirit of life (Romans 8:2). God cares deeply for His creation and especially for humankind.
    • pp.1-2
  • The Seventh-day Adventist Church considers abortion out of harmony with God’s plan for human life. It affects the unborn, the mother, the father, immediate and extended family members, the church family, and society with long-term consequences for all. Believers aim to trust God and follow His will for them, knowing He has their best interests in mind. While not condoning abortion, the Church and its members are called to follow the example of Jesus, being “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14), to (1) create an atmosphere of true love and provide grace-filled, biblical pastoral care and loving support to those facing difficult decisions regarding abortion; (2) enlist the help of well-functioning and committed families and educate them to provide care for struggling individuals, couples, and families; (3) encourage church members to open their homes to those in need, including single parents, parentless children, and adoptive or foster care children; (4) care deeply for and support in various ways pregnant women who decide to keep their unborn children; and (5) provide emotional and spiritual support to those who have aborted a child for various reasons or were forced to have an abortion and may be hurting physically, emotionally, and/or spiritually. The issue of abortion presents enormous challenges, but it gives individuals and the Church the opportunity to be what they aspire to be, the fellowship of brothers and sisters, the community of believers, the family of God, revealing His immeasurable and unfailing love.
    • p.4

"Submission to the Victorian Law Reform Commission Inquiry on the Law of Abortion from the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne" (2008/07/26)[edit]

Anglican Diocese of Melbourne (2007-11-09). "Submission to the Victorian Law Reform Commission Inquiry on the Law of Abortion from the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne". 9 November 2007; Archived from the original on 2008-07-26.

  • The Anglican Church has predominantly been silent about abortion. Yet it is something which impacts upon many families and which is extremely sensitive for many people. Many Anglicans have had very difficult experiences surrounding abortion or the decision as to whether or not to have an abortion. Beliefs and opinions tend to be quite polarised. I therefore ask you to exercise great discretion and sensitivity in discussing abortion, whether you are a member of the clergy or a pastoral minister, a chaplain, a lay person in a parish, or a staff member of an Anglican agency. I recommend that you invite people who have been directly affected by abortion to speak about it with someone they trust and to seek prayer. This is generally better than open unregulated debate, or even sermons on abortion, which can cause much unnecessary anguish.
    • p.1
  • The Anglican Church of Australia is part of the worldwide Anglican Communion of independent Anglican Churches, of which the Archbishop of Canterbury is the symbolic leader. On ethical and many other issues, Anglicans typically take a middle-ground approach based on our understanding of Scripture in the light of the teachings and history of the Church and of human reasoning. So our general position on abortion is not absolutist – we are not absolutely ‘anti abortion’ nor absolutely ‘pro-choice’. However, the Anglican Church is for life, in the sense that our religious faith teaches a profound respect for all of the life that God has created, and for his life-giving Spirit which is manifest in the love between people, families and communities. As we answer some of the specific questions you have posed, you will see what this means in detail. Historically, the wider Anglican Communion has said very little on abortion. The 10-yearly Lambeth Conference of Bishops last discussed abortion in 1930 when it passed a resolution which stated ‘The conference further records its abhorrence of the sinful practice of abortion’. (The same conference cautiously approved the use of contraception. In 1989, the Australian General Synod – the national decision-making body of our Church - passed a resolution which expressed some alarm at the number of abortions being performed in Australia. No formal resolutions on the topic have been passed since then.
    • p.2
  • We believe abortion is a serious moral issue, but we do not believe abortion should remain a matter for criminal law. The discrepancy between the law as it stands and the current interpretation of that law leaves an uncertainty for doctors and pregnant women which it would be better to resolve. In our view, public acceptance of the reality of abortion, including acceptance of the practice among women of diverse religious communities, indicates that a change in the law is timely. Our thinking is framed within the context of the Bible as the word of God, the Church’s teaching over the centuries, and the pastoral practice of Anglican clergy. Although there are no specific biblical texts addressing therapeutic or induced abortion, the Bible points us to a world in which both the unborn and their mothers are protected and nurtured.
    • p.3
  • [W]e recognise that the Bible is a collection of texts written in a world without our modern medical practices and so does not speak specifically to the ease and safety with which a pregnancy may be terminated today. There were methods in the ancient world for dealing with unwanted pregnancies, indicating that the issue is not a new or exclusively contemporary one.
    • p.3
  • While we believe that the destruction even of an early embryo is of moral significance, we believe the moral significance increases with the age and development of the foetus. The significance increases gradually over time, in parallel with its physical development. As a pregnancy advances, more powerful moral reasons are required to allow the destruction of the embryo/foetus. It is more serious to consider destroying a foetus at 28 weeks than at 10 weeks. We would want to see this distinction noted in any legislative provisions, though we would counsel against a legislated absolutist end-point after which an abortion could not proceed.
    • p.3
  • We recommend that the Commission consider the definitions of ‘severe’ and ‘profound’ ‘disability’ that are used by other government departments for the purposes of determining government assistance to families and individuals. These definitions could be adapted for the purposes of abortion legislation. However, we emphasise that many families are prepared to care for children whose disability would be categorised as ‘severe’ or ‘profound’ and no woman should feel under pressure to abort such a foetus. The Commission is referred to Point 4 under our Further Comments, below. ‘Serious handicap’ should not be able to be defined solely on the view of the mother or father. We absolutely reject minor disabilities such as simple cleft palate and simple club foot in a foetus as grounds for abortion.
    • p.4
  • We recognise that medical technology, and the knowledge of the development of the foetus, is changing rapidly. We are therefore reluctant to have enshrined in this legislation the period of gestation past which a decision to terminate must move beyond the woman and her doctor, and come before an ethics committee.
    • p.5
  • The Anglican Church wants abortion regarded as a serious moral issue, with acknowledgement of the moral status of the foetus.
  • The Anglican Church accepts that abortion is regarded as a health issue not a criminal issue. However, we urge the Commission to consider what sanctions should apply to ‘rogue’ medical practitioners performing late term abortionswithout adequate cause.
  • The Anglican Church wants clarity regarding the legal liability of medical practitioners involved in terminations.
  • The Anglican Church wants recognition of the gradualist approach, with later term abortions in exceptional circumstances only, needing to be considered case by case. We would encourage decisions being made in consultation between the woman (the father if he is playing an active role in the woman’s life) and her doctor, as well as the wider family, where possible, and with full awareness of the gravity of the moral issue. If an external body needed to be involved, we would advocate the formation of an expert panel, so that the matter does not have to be fought out in a court of law.
  • The Anglican Church wants some clarifying statements, such as: Abortion should not be treated as an acceptable means of birth control, or as a means of gender selection. While this would be very difficult to implement, we believe it needs to be strongly stated.
  • The Anglican Church rejects late term abortion because of certain minor birth defects such as simple cleft palate, unless there is a genuine risk to the mother’s life or serious risk to her health
    As well:
  • The Anglican Church would like a statement which reflects the difficulties facing some women in making this choice.
  • The Anglican Church would like something included which mandates that all women are given choice, and the option of counseling
  • The Anglican Church would like a statement which acknowledges that while the ultimate decision to terminate a pregnancy in the first or second trimester is the mother’s, she needs to take account of the fact that she lives within a community, which includes the rights of the foetus and the father.
    • pp.6-7

Anglicans for Life, "Abortion"[edit]

  • Abortion is an elective medical procedure that intentionally ends a pregnancy before the baby is born alive. < br> In the U.S. today, approximately 25% of all pregnancies end in abortion, which equals 1.1 million abortions every year. Worldwide approximately 42 million abortions occur annually.
    US Supreme Court cases Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton ruled that it’s legal in 1973, and can be performed any time during pregnancy, right up until the baby is delivered.
  • Abortions for cases of pregnancy from rape account for approximately 1% of the 1.1 million abortions occurring annually. AFL opposes abortion in cases of rape, as victims often report feeling more traumatized or violated by the abortion than the rape, and children who were conceived through rape should not be killed based on how they were conceived.
  • According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, 43% of US women under the age of 45 will have at least one abortion. Abortion often leads to a form of post-traumatic stress and many who have experienced abortion lost a child to abortion benefit from abortion after-care programs conducted worldwide. Abortion is the most common surgical procedure for women in the United States.
    The majority (57%) of women having abortions are in their 20s, fewer than 1% are younger than 15, while 16% are aged 15–19.
    African American women of child-bearing age make up about 12% of the U.S. population but have about 38% of all abortions. In the last 43 years, over 18 million African American babies have died by abortion.
    13% of abortion parents say they are “born-again or evangelical Christians” 43% are Protestant and 27% are Catholic.
  • 89% of all abortions are performed during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, 10% occur during the 13th week thru 20th. Approximately 13,310 abortions occur after the 21st week each year.
  • 1% of abortions are for Rape/Incest victims. 3% of abortions are because genetic testing has revealed that the unborn baby has a fetal anomaly. 3% of abortions are performed due to the health of the mother – the reason most often cited for needing legalized abortion. 93% of the abortions performed annually are considered ‘elective’.

Anglicans for Life, “After-Abortion”[edit]

  • Abortion is a serious medical procedure that ends one life and can cause physical, emotional, and spiritual harm to the mother of the aborted child and to the family, friends, and clinic workers involved.
    The most immediate complications of abortion are physical. In the US, approximately 10% of women experience complications from abortion. Some of these are physical problems like infection, uterine perforation, hemorrhaging, and cervical trauma, while many others experience emotional problems such as depression, nightmares, substance abuse, and numbing.
  • Abortion can also cause infertility, a long-term complication that often goes undetected for many years. Additionally, women who have had abortions have a higher risk of developing breast, cervical, ovarian, and rectal cancer.
  • One of the most documented physical complications of abortion is the risk of developing cancer, specifically breast cancer. A review of the National Cancer Institute data shows that invasive breast cancer incidence was 24 percent higher in 2007 than in 1976. Although not all incidents of breast cancer are connected to abortion, it’s important that women with past abortions have regular mammograms. For more information we recommend the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute.
  • Although women who have had abortions are obviously impacted, those closely associated with the abortion decision & procedure, such as grandparents, friends, abortion doctors, or pregnancy center workers, can also experience a variety of after-effects, triggering a series of powerful physical, emotional, & spiritual shockwaves. The Silent No More Awareness Campaign provides helpful resources & information for these groups in the Healing the Shockwaves of Abortion Initiative.
  • Abortion supporters have popularized the myth that abortion is much safer for women than pregnancy. However, beyond physical complications after the procedure, the emotional and spiritual harm caused by abortions is unmeasurable.
    Although women often feel relief immediately after the abortion, many women experience depression, suicidal thoughts, increased drug/alcohol use, anxiety, and guilt in the months and years after the abortion.
    A woman who undergoes an abortion has a suicide risk six times higher than women who have given birth to a child. Additionally, according to a 2011 study from Britain’s Royal College of Psychiatrists, women who have abortions are 81 percent more likely to experience subsequent mental health problems.
    Many women who have had abortions suffer spiritually, fearing both the judgement of friends, family, and God. They believe they cannot be forgiven and often suffer in silence. The women and men of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign have experienced many of these same effects and share their testimonies about the painful truth of abortion.
  • While they are often told they have no say in the abortion debate, men do suffer from abortion. It is not unusual for men to feel sadness, depression, suicidal thoughts, or anxiety after abortion or to mourn their lost fatherhood. These feelings can be complicated if he encouraged or even coerced the woman into having an abortion. Often these feelings are not temporary and can influence his family relationships and emotional and spiritual health.
  • Abortions after care programs were created to bring help and healing to women and men suffer-ing from abortion regret. Although there are many different programs, almost all programs guide women and men in acknowledging and grieving their aborted child and share with them the for-giveness given freely to them by God.

“Ethics in a Pandemic – Aborted Fetal Cells and the COVID-19 Vaccine” (May 11, 2020)[edit]

“Ethics in a Pandemic – Aborted Fetal Cells and the COVID-19 Vaccine”, Anglicans For Life, (May 11, 2020)

  • The utilization of embryonic and fetal cells from elective abortions in the pharmaceutical industry, including in the creation of vaccines, is unfortunately commonplace, and Christian people have sought an ethical response. The position of The National Catholic Bioethics Center (NCBC) is that individuals should, when possible, use vaccines not developed with the use of these strains. However, in the case where the only vaccine available against a particular disease was developed using fetal cells it states that: “One is morally free to use the vaccine regardless of its historical association with abortion. The reason is that the risk to public health, if one chooses not to vaccinate, outweighs the legitimate concern about the origins of the vaccine. This is especially important for parents, who have a moral obligation to protect the life and health of their children and those around them.” Examples of such vaccines are those protecting against rubella, chickenpox, and hepatitis A.
  • Although we have been focused specifically on the COVID-19 vaccine, the ethical implications of the use of aborted fetal cells are long-reaching. Each medical benefit or scientific advance gained through the use of fetal tissue desensitizes the beneficiaries, scientists, and doctors to the original evil act that produced these cells. Aborted fetal tissues used in laboratories are minimized and treated merely as “human cells,” and the human beings whose lives were taken to provide those cells become irrelevant. The greatest concern is that desensitization will erroneously validate elective abortions, so much so that they will be perceived in the scientific community as a societal “good.” Absent careful oversight, the unborn could become, like fetal tissue cell lines, merely cells, cultured within the uterus of a woman to be used for scientific exploration.
  • Anglicans for Life believes that every human being is created in the image of God and has value from the moment of conception. Abortion, and anything that fosters or encourages abortion, is morally illicit and must be resisted. Therefore, all people of good conscience, even during this pandemic, have the responsibility to voice opposition to the use of fetal tissue from elective abortions in the creation of a vaccine, in order to promote the development of ethical alternatives and to affirm the value of all human life.

“When Children Became People: the birth of childhood in early Christianity” (2005)[edit]

Odd Magne Bakke, “When Children Became People: the birth of childhood in early Christianity”, translated from Norwegian by Brian McNeil, Augsburg Fortress Minneapolis, MN, (2005)

  • Our sources do not allow us to demonstrate any direct link between the critical attitude toward abortion among the church’s main spokesmen and the first Roman laws that criminalized it, but it is not unreasonable to suppose that there was some connection. It is at any rate striking that the laws issued under Septimus Severus (193-211) and Antonius Caracaa (211-217) came so soon after the apologetic writings of Athenagoras and especially Tertullian, who had addressed their texts to Roman governors and emperors. These may not themselves have read the Christian apologists, but there is every reason to believe that they were familiar with Christian attitudes in this area. On the other hand, the need for recruits to the army and concern for the interests of the ‘’paterfamilias’’ may equally well have motivated this legislation.
    • p.128
  • Let us begin with the question of abortion. Our starting point is two councils. Ninety Spanish bishops gathered in Elvira in Southern Spain in the first decade of the fourth century to discuss the attitude the church should take toward those who had fallen away from the faith during persecution or who had committed other grave sins, and to lay down the penalty for the individual transgressions; this varied from penances lasting for several years to exclusion from Holy Communion for the rest of the person’s life. Most of the canons deal with sins related to sexuality; it has been argued that this is the result of pagan influence. Canons 63 and 68 are interesting in our present context. Canon 63 stipulates that if a woman becomes pregnant after infidelity while her husband is absent, and takes the child’s life after this sin (‘’idque post facinus occiderit’’) , she “shall not be given communion even at the end, since she has doubled her crime.” And canon 68 says that if a catechumen becomes pregnant after fornication and then causes the death of the child (‘’si per adulteriuum conceprit et praefocaverit’’), her baptism is to be postponed until the end of her life. The wording in these decrees does not allow us to decide whether they speaking of abortion or infanticide (or both). One indication that canon 63 includes abortion is the fact that the council of Ancyra in 314 probably refer to this text and interprets it as a reference to abortion; a similar indication is the inclusion of this text in later collections of canons dealing with abortion. This, together with the clause noting that the husband was absent when his wife commits adultery, makes it plausible that the conciliar decree refers to an abortion carried out in order to conceal illicit sexual activities, and I base my following remarks on this interpretation.
    • p.129
  • As I have indicted, the church fathers maintained this critical and condemnatory attitude toward abortion in the second half of the fourth century and on into the fifth: abortus provatus is the destruction of a life that God has created and that he looks after. This fundamental respect for the life God has created did not, however, rule out a variety of approaches to this issue, especially on the fundamentally important question whether or not the fetus was a human person, or possessed human dignity, from the moment of conception onward. Unlike the Western tradition the Eastern fathers seem to have tended to avoid any explicit or implicit distinction between the formed and the unformed fetus.
    • p.131

“Thy Kingdom Come: How the Religious Right Distorts Faith and Threatens America” (June 26, 2006)[edit]

Randall Herbert Balmer, “Thy Kingdom Come: How the Religious Right Distorts Faith and Threatens America”, (June 26, 2006)

  • [T]he history of the Religious Right’s crusade against abortion is a vexed one. During the 1980s especially, Religious right activists sought to portray themselves as the “new abolitionists,” drawing parallel between their pro-life agenda and the nineteenth-century campaign against slavery. The religious right’s attacks on homosexuality represent a reprise of its battle against abortion in decades past. But ever since the Religious right formulated its position against abortion in the late 1970s and its condemnation of homosexuality in the 1990s, its arguments of opposition have been hampered, at least slightly, by one inconvenient fact: According to the New Testament, Jesus himself said nothing about either abortion or homosexuality, at least nothing that survives in the New Testament accounts.
    Why did the Religious Right choose abortion as its defining issue as it consolidated its power in the 1980s? It seems an odd choice, especially for people who pride themselves on biblical literalism, given the paucity of biblical references to the issue. Evangelicals, moreover, have hardly distinguished themselves in the twentieth century as defenders of “the sanctity of life.” Many have been, and continue to be, proponents of capital punishment and apologists for various armed conflicts, including the wars in Vietnam an the Persian Gulf and the invasion of Iraq. They have contested this point by drawing a distinction between innocent lives and all others. It’s a fair argument, but judging by evangelicals’ actions (or lack thereof) over the past half-century, innocent human life terminates at the moment of birth.
    For too many evangelicals, the call to defend “the sanctity of life” does not include those lives mired in poverty; nor does it encompass the innocent casualties of war or the African American victims of segregation. The Religious Right has so fetishized the fetus-on the eve of the 1988 Iowa precinct caucuses, a woman told me in hushed tones that the “most dangerous place to be these days is inside a mother’s womb”-they have ignored altogether the travesties of poverty, war, and racism. Innocent human life, for the Religious Right, is clearly a circumscribed category.
    • pp.5-6
  • How did leaders of the Religious right settle on abortion as the issue what would propel them to prominence in the 1980s? Within a couple years of its formation, the Religious Right had faced a conundrum on matters of sexuality: how to maneuver around the repeated New Testament denunciations of divorce (in part to avoid alienating the growing number of divorced evangelicals) and focus attention instead on what they characterized as other sexual “sins,” particularly abortion and homosexuality. This was an especially tricky matter because of evangelicals’ professed fidelity to the scriptures as inspired, inerrant, and immutable.
    For a people who take pride in a kind of slavish literalism, constructing case against abortion is not easy. Whereas Roman Catholics rely not only on the Bible for their doctrines, but on the Bible as interpreted by church tradition and “natural law”, evangelicals insist on the scriptures alone (sola scriptura) as their doctrinal authority. The problem is, the Bible is rather silent on the matter of abortion.
    • pp.6-7
  • In the 1980s, in order to solidify their shift from divorce to abortion, the Religious Right constructed an abortion myth, one accepted by most Americans as true. Simply put, the abortion myth is this: Leaders of the Religious Right would have us believe that their movement began in direct response to the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. Politically conservative evangelical leaders were so morally outraged by the ruling that they instantly shed their apolitical stupor in order to mobilize politically in defense of the sanctity of life. Most of these leaders did so reluctantly and at great personal sacrifice, risking the obloquy of their congregants and the contempt of liberals and "secular humanists," who were trying their best to ruin America. But these selfless, courageous leaders of the Religious Right, inspired by the opponents of slavery in the nineteenth century, trudged dutifully into battle in order to defend those innocent unborn children, newly endangered by the Supreme Court's misguided Roe decision.
    It's a compelling story, no question about it. Except for one thing: It isn't true.
    • pp.12-13

“The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, What About Abortion”[edit]

A. L. Barry, “The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, What About Abortion” Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod

  • Abortion is one of the most significant moral issues of our day. Emotions run very deep when it comes to this issue. It is tempting to consider this issue from the perspective of our culture’s standards. Christians want to be informed about abortion based on the Word of God.
    • p.1
  • God’s Fifth Commandment is clear, “You shall not murder.” This means,in the words of the Small Catechism, that “we should fear and love God so that we do not hurt or harm our neighbor in his body, but help and support him in every physical need.” God forbids us to take the life of another person, and this most certainly includes abortion.
    God’s Word also says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart”(Jer.1:5). Psalm 139:16 says, “Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.”
    Our church’s explanation of the Small Cate-chism puts the matter well when it says, “The living but unborn are persons in the sight ofGod from the time of conception. Since abortion takes a human life, it is not a moral option except to prevent the death of another person, the mother.” The sin of willfully aborting a child, except in those very rare situations where it may be necessary to save the life of the mother, is a sinful act, totally contrary to the will of God.
    • p.1
  • A personal decision is not necessarily a private decision. The church, and the church’s ministers, have God-given responsibilities to warn, exhort and rebuke from the Word of God with all authority (2 Tim.4:2).The church is very concerned when Christians make decisions that are con-trary to the Word of God and thus place themselves outside the will of God. Living in a state of unrepentant sin is a very serious situation. Thus, the church must warn its members against the temptation of abortion. The church also must minister to those who have had abortions. Further-more, the church needs to speak out against the sin of abortion, since it is widely presented in our culture as perfectly acceptable.
    • p.1
  • Abortion was a common practice in the ancient Roman empire. The very fact that the Son of God was conceived in the womb of Mary was a powerful reason for Christians to hold a high view of all human life. The unborn Christ was not merely a blob of cells, but was in fact the very Son of God, who had assumed a human nature in order to save and redeem human beings from their sin. Early Christian writers make it clear that abortion was abhorrent to the first Christians. The early Christians understood their views on marriage, women and family to be unique. One church father said it quite plainly, “The hair-splitting difference between formed and unformed makes no difference to us. Whoever deliberately commits abortion is subject to the penalty for homicide.” From its earliest days, the Christian church has been opposed to abortion, regarding it as infanticide and homicide.
    • p.1
  • Isn’t abortion acceptable in the case of rape or incest?
    While the emotional arguments for abortion in these situations might seem compelling, the fact of the matter is that it is wrong to take the life of one innocent victim (the unborn child), and further burden the life of the other victim of these horrible situations, the mother. It is indeed a strange logic that would have us kill an in-nocent unborn baby for the crime of his father.
    • p.2
  • It is a sin for parents to counsel their children to have abortions. This is not an option for Chris-tian parents. An unplanned pregnancy comes as a shock to all involved and abortion may be seen as a “quick and quiet” way to move past the problem, but it is not. It merely compounds an al-ready sinful situation with another sinful choice.
    • p.2
  • A woman who has had an abortion may feel at first that she is free of her “problem.” Her part-ner, either a boyfriend or a husband, may also feel that he is “off the hook.” It may be soon after, or perhaps not until years later, that they realize what they have actually done: destroyed the life of their unborn child. Perhaps this realization comes as they hear God’s Word correctly explained on this point. The Law of God reveals their sin to them and they feel guilt and great sorrow, and they begin to wonder what can be done about it or if there is any hope at all.
    The woman who has had an abortion needs to hear that for this sin too the blood of Jesus Christ was shed, and that there is in Him now full and free forgiveness. This assurance needs to be given over and over; namely, that in Christ Jesus, there is forgiveness—complete and total forgiveness. This is how the church best ministers to those who continue to feel the burden of the sin of abortion, by again and again pointing them to the cross of their Lord Jesus Christ and assuring them of the full and free forgiveness He won for them there, for all sins, for each and every one.
    • p.2

“Christian Bioethics” (2004)[edit]

Joseph Boyle, Bioethics”, Non-Ecumenical Studies in Medical Morality, Volume 10, 2004 - Issue 1, pp.1-5.

  • Abortion was one of the issues around which modern bioethical reflection began. Not only were Roman Catholics and other Christians in the vanguard of those politically opposing the creation of permissive abortion laws in the late 1960s and 1970s, but also Christian moralists, both Catholic and Protestant, developed philosophical and theological arguments against abortion, and against its acceptance in medicine and the law (Noonan, 1970). Thinking about abortion is thus one of the basic and founding concerns of Christian bioethics.
  • The organized opposition to permissive abortion policy that began in the late 1960s reflects the widely held Christian conviction that abortion is seriously wrong, a conviction that goes back almost to Apostolic times (Grisez, 1970, pp. 127–185; Connery, 1977; Engelhardt, 2000, pp. 275–276). John Noonan admirably sums up the judgment of early Christianity concerning abortion:
    By 450 the teaching on abortion East and West had been set for four centuries with clarity and substantial consistency. There was a distinction accepted by some as to the unformed embryo, some consequent variation in the analysis of the sin, and local differences in the penance necessary to expiate it. The sin itself was often associated with lechery, sometimes with marriage. The usual method of accomplishing abortion was by drugs, sometimes associated with magic, sometimes with danger to the user. The motive animating it was seen variously as shame, as avarice, as lust. Although therapeutic and social reasons for abortion were known from the best of doctors and philosophers, these reasons were never mentioned as justification. All the writers agreed that abortion was a violation of the love owed to one’s neighbor. Some saw it as a special failure of maternal love. Many saw it as a failure to have reverence for God the creator. The culture had accepted abortion. The Christians, men of this Greco-Roman world and the Gospel, condemned it. Ancient authorities and contemporary moralists had approved, hesitated, made exceptions; the Christian rule was certain. (Noonan, 1970, p. 18)
    Rejecting abortion, therefore, was closely connected to central concerns of Christian life, and in a society where permissive abortion was tolerated, this rejection displayed a distinctive, and proudly proclaimed, attitude of the Christian community. Plainly, currently prevalent attitudes toward abortion are more like those faced by early Christians than like those in place before the recent revolution in morals. Christian opposition to this new status quo, however controversial, has a Godly pedigree.
    It is not immediately obvious what the contemporary academic debate about abortion has to do with these Christian concerns. That debate may appear to Christians today as the authorities of antiquity appeared to early Christians: compromised and rationalizing, and so hardly deserving Christians’ attention.
  • In a word, the Christian churches can hardly ignore abortion; it not only tempts and harms their members, but also does grave harm to all involved in it. Looking at the arguments of bioethicists on this tragic subject reveals much that is of interest to Christian moralists. It suggests what the main issues are and are not, raises issues that need to be resolved, and points to an application of the rule of love that may be obscured by the philosophical dialectics.

“Dictionary of Ethics, Theology and Society”[edit]

Lisa Sowle Cahill, Abortion; “Dictionary of Ethics, Theology and Society”, by Paul A. B. Clarke, Andrew Linzey

  • Historical variation no less characterizes Christian approaches to abortion. While until recent decades the Christian churches had always condemned abortion, they did so for different reasons and in different degrees, and theological opinion has been offered in support of different exceptions to the general prohibition.
    • p.1
  • Abortion receives scant attention in Scripture. One frequently cited text in the Hebrew Bible provides tht, if a woman is struck and miscarries, the perpetrator shall pay a fine to her husband. If the woman herself is killed, the penalty shall be ‘life for life’ (Exodus 21: 22-3). The lesser valuation of foetal life is nuanced in the Greek Septuagint translation (early third century BCE), which imports the Greek philosophical distinction between the formed and unformed foetus, regarding only the formed as a ‘man’ and the killing of it as homicide. Several Biblical texts manifest interest in life in the womb without making explicit reference to abortion (Genesis 4:1; Job 31: 15, Isaiah 44: 24; 49: 1, 5; Matthew 1: 18; Luke 1: 40, 42) The New Testament rejects magical drugs and potions (‘’pharmakeia’’), which probablyincuded abortifacients (galatians 5: 20; Revelation 9: 21). Early Christian writings, the ‘’Didache’’ and ‘’the Epistle of Barnabas’’, explicitly condemn both abortion and infanticide, linking the former not only with occult medicine but also with sexual immortality.
    • p.1
  • The assumption that resort to abortion disguises sexual lust, especially the infidelities of women, continues to characterize condemnation of abortion in the early church, for instance by Clement of Alexandria (the ‘’Pedagogue’’) and Tertullian (the ‘’Vieling of Virgis’’). Tertullian also exhibits concern for the status of unborn life itself when he defends Christians against accusations of infanticide by going so far as to reject any destruction of what has been conceived (the ‘’Apology’’). Elsewhere he characterizes abortion to save the mother as a ‘necessary cruelty’, but even so does not clearly justify it, arguing, apparently to the contrary, that the foetus lives before birth (‘’On the Soul’’).
    • p.1
  • Though condemning abortion as at least a sexual sin, Tertullian, Jerome and Augustine propose that only abortion of the formed foetusis homicide. Their premise is that God infuses the human soul, not at conception, but at a subsequent point when the development of the bod is adequate. The time of ensoulment was set at forty days for males and ninety for females, according to Aristotle’s claims based on his observation of differences in aborted fetuses. The differentiation of the ensouled or animated foetus from earlier forms was endorsed in the medieval period pre-eminently by Thomas Aquinas, following the Septuagint. (’’Commentary on Book III of the Sentences of Peter Lombard; Summa Theologiaea II-II Q 64’’’) At the same time, a contradictory and competing vview influenced both patristic and medieval writers sometimes to adopt a more stringent position treating even sterilization as a form of killing. This was the notion, ignorant of the female genetic contribution, that the male seed contains the whole human being in miniature, so that to waste it is to kill.
    • pp.1-2
  • The Protestant Reformers share with the prior tradition the assumption that the only proper expression of sexuality is in patriarchal, monogamous, procreative marriage. They take up the question of ensoulment primarily in relation to God’s creative and predestining will. Luther and Calvin held that the soul comes into existence with the body at conception, while Melanchthon believed that the infusion of the soul awaited a gradual formation of the body. Calvin characterizes abortion as ‘an inexpiable crime’ (‘’Commentaries’’, at Genesis 38: 10) and asserts that ‘the fetus enclosed in its mother’s womb already is a man’ (‘’Commentaries’’, at Exodus 21: 22). Anglican and Puritan thinkers of the seventeenth century also condemned abortion, primarily as a sin of sexual immorality, though some alluded to the distinction between formed and unformed fetuses.
    In the developing caustic tradition of Catholicism, authors both before and after the Reformation maintained the distinction of foetal stages. Some debated justifiable abortion, usually to save the mother’s life, but also in view of her health and reputation. By the late nineteenth century the Catholic Church had narrowed its teaching on both front, treating life as having full value from conception, and ultimately excluding any destruction of the unborn even to save the mother’s life (in an 1869 Vatican decision against emergency craniotomy during birth). Official catholic teaching continues, however, to permit so-called indirect abortion, operations directed primarily at relieving a condition of the mother but having as a tolerated secondary effect the death of the foetus she carries. In such cases, the destruction of the foetus itself must neither be carried out directly nor be the means to alleviate the mother’s condition. An example of an allowable procedure is a hysterectomy performed on a women who is pregnant but who has uterine cancer.
    • p.2
  • Although the Reformers invariably conceived of the individual’s good in relation to the societies of family, church and CITIZENSHIP, and, like their medieval predecessors, set religious authority ona higher plane than civil government, they also set a new course for ethics through the importance attached to the faith commitment of the individual. By emphasizing faith in god through Jesus Christ even over membership in religious community, the Reformation made it possible for modern Christianity, especially mainstream Protestantism, to envision the moral agent’s conscience as the true and ultimate gauge of moral responsibility. This tendency emerged interdependently with the Enlightenment confidence in rationality and autonomous decision, and with the Western liberal democratic political systems which enhanced the legal protection of AUTONOMY, privacy and conscience. The modern recognition of the importance of individual integrity and freedom has only gradually been extended to women. In the industrialized Western nations of the twentieth century, it has come increasingly to entail the view that reproductive freedom is a necessary precondition of women’s access to a range of social opportunities traditionally reserved for men. A consequence has been the liberalization of abortion laws.
    • p.2
  • Religious responses to these social changes can be categorized largely along Roman Catholic and Protetant lines. ‘’CATHOLICISM’’ with its unified and hierarchical teaching office, male clergy and medieval theological foundations, has tended to accept women’s access to public roles cautiously, and to view motherhood as the ultimate feminine vocation. Catholic moral theology, deriving from penitential practice, also aims at precise conclusions and norms, making these as specific as possible. The result has been exceptionless rules against both contraception and abortion, the latter linked by the Second Vatican Council with infanticide as ‘unspeakable crimes’ (Gaudium et spes, no. 51). The Enlightenment influence is evident in so far as the Catholic position presents abortion in terms of a conflict of individuals – foetus against mother. The Catholic moral tradition, deriving from the essentially philosophical ‘natural law’ system of Aquinas, also values rationality, justice and public consensus. Catholics are likely to seek and expect a relatively large degree of coherence between religious beliefs, more general humanistic moral values and the civil law.
    • p.2
  • Protestants rest more confidence in individual accountability to God than in authoritative teaching. The Reformation emphasis on SIN, ambiguity and even paradox in the human condition yields as well as skepticism about absolute moral rules, owing partly to a distrust of reason and of works-righteousness. The Reformers’ acceptance of a married clergy, and the development of convental traditions about both marriage an religious community, may have accelerated protestant support for women’s social participation, including ordination in many mainstream denominations. Hence, regarding abortion, Protestants are much more likely than Catholics to see it as an individual decision in which unique circumstances must be considered and which cannot be constrained too closely by law. Although abortion may be tragic, and may always be shadowed by moral ambivalence, it cannot be condemned absolutely. An exception to these trends is found in fundamentalist and Biblicist Protestant denominations, which often combine conservative social attitudes with view of Scripture as warranting unequivocal condemnation of sinners. In such groups, a post-industrial, Western, nuclear family structure is often elevated as a standard against which both abortion and women’s roles are evaluated.
    • p.4
  • In conclusion, it needs to be noted that the reality of abortion as a social and moral issue extends beyond the Western framework. The majority of the world’s women live in highly patriarchal cultures with little access to education and healthcare, much less to a variety of social roles or reproductive freedom. From a Christian social perspective, considerations of international economic and political JUSTICE must form the most basic foundations of the moral consideration of abortion. Abortion as an individual moral decision is secondary to structures of family and society which drastically limit the moral freedom which a woman, couple or family may have in carrying out the responsibilities of sexuality, MARRIAGE, family, pregnancy and parenthood.
    • p.4

“Abortion and the Confessional in Counter-Reformation Italy” (Summer 2012)[edit]

John Christopoulos, “Abortion and the Confessional in Counter-Reformation Italy”, Renaissance Quarterly, Vol. 65, No. 2 (Summer 2012)

  • In theory, abortion procured in order to avoid the consequences of sexual activity was consid-ered to be mortal sin and potentially homicide, and therefore required ecclesiastical attention. In the 1570s and 1580s, bishops and popes increasingly attempted to eradicate the practice of abor-tion through confessional reform and legislation. But abortion was not straightforward. In certain cases, the voluntary termination of pregnancy could be deemed excusable, necessary or even charitable. Numerous factors and circumstances influenced responses: the reasons for the abor-tion and its causes, the state and development of the unborn at the time of abortion, and the health of the pregnant woman.
    • p.455
  • Looking up “Aborsus/Aborsum”, the confessor would learn from such authorities that abortion is a mortal sin; that abortion is homicide if the unborn is animate (that is, unfused with a rational soul); that an “innanimatus” (an unborn that has not yet received the rational soul) is not an “homo”, that it does not possess life, and therefore, in this case, “homicidium” does not apply. He would learn that abortion stems from the sin of lust, that married couples are prone to practicing abortion, and that the sexual stimulation of a pregnant woman could cause her to bring forth an “unfinished unborn.” Pregnant women must therefore abstain from the “conjugal debt.” The confessor would learn that physicians are experts in abortion, and are often its perpetrators; that women ask physicians for abortion in order to cover up their illicit sexual encounters; but he would also learn that physicians administer abortions in order to preserve the lives of women who may not survive pregnancy or childbirth (so –called therapeutic abortion). The confessor should know that this last practice is licit and even charitable, but only if the physician acts on an inanimate unborn, for in this case he “will not be the cause of death of a human, but rather will be freeing [one] from death.” However, abortion an animate unborn, even to save the mother, is mortal sin and is held to be homicide. In these works, a confessor would learn simplified and almost axiomatic teachings of doctrine on a most complicated and murky subject. Of course, he could only learn these official doctrines if he could find a “summa”, if he cared enough to open it, and if he could read Latin.
    • pp.457-458
  • Ecclesiastical authorities portrayed abortion as a common and socially tolerated practice, and this appeared to offend their sensibilities. The confessional was held as an opportune arena in which to discover cases of abortion and also in which to convince the laity of its sinfulness. However, confessors were not always fit for the task. Counter-Reformaation bishops and popes attempted to eradicate abortion by imposing shaming and severe punishment son its procurers, but these initiatives were indered by the social consequences of bringing these men and women to light. Judgment and punishment were further complicated by the ambiguities inherent in the practice of abortion.
    Early modern Italian attitudes toward abortion were anything but straightforward.
    • p.476

“Abortion and the Culture Wars: Competing Moral Geographies and Their Implications for Bioethics” (2006)[edit]

H. Tristram Engelhardt, Jr., in Caplan, Arthur; et al. (2006). “The Fulbright Brainstorms on Bioethics - Bioethics: Frontiers and New Challenges”. Principia. ISBN 9789728818616. “Abortion and the Culture Wars: Competing Moral Geographies and Their Implications for Bioethics”

  • Abortion is one of the most significant moral battles in the culture wars, not simply in its own right, but in terms of the moral issues with which it is associated and in terms of which it takes on its moral valence. On the one hand, there is a secular liberal cosmopolitan moral vision for which:
    1. Abortion is a morally acceptable means for avoiding pregnancy that would interfere with career plans and life projects;
    2. Abortion, joined with prenatal screening, is integral to a few of responsible parenting which affirms obligations not to harm:
    a. the future person the fetus would become,
    b. other children who might be burdened by a handicapped sibling,
    c. the woman’s reproductive partner, who might be burdened by a handicapped child
    d. the woman’s own life plans that might be undermined by needing to care for a handicapped child, and
    e. society, which would need to bear many of the costs involved;
    3. Abortion is socially liberating in:
    a. freeing women to be both sexually active and fully engaged in the workplace, and
    b. freeing women from constraining patriarchal social structures;
    4. Abortion is biologically liberating in freeing women from the surd physical constraints of reproductive sexuality.
    These understandings are nested within a constellation of views an accounts of morality, human flourishing, and metaphysics that are:
    1. Anti-traditional – they construe traditional family structures as a morally illicit form of patriarchal suppression;
    2. Anti-ascetic – they construe traditional Christian understandings of human flourishing as illicitly eroding self-esteem, and hindering self-fulfillment;
    3. secular – they aim at realizing a cosmopolitan moral vision for women freed from constraining commitments to the transcendent.
    • p.33
  • Those who live within this complex moral vision regard those who oppose easy access to abortion as seeking to violate basic human rights to self-determination and self-fulfillment, as well as the particular rights of women, in favor of a pre-modern understanding of human flourishing.
    In contrast, traditional Christian views of abortion recognize the intentional termination of pregnancy as profoundly morally wrong and harmful. Abortion is placed within a complex set of judgments, such that:
    1. Abortion is recognized a morally unacceptable means for avoiding a pregnancy, in that it radially violated the mother’s obligation to her unborn child;
    2. Abortion as a part of prenatal screening is recognizes as an irresponsible approach to parenting in failing to take into consideration parental moral obligations to the unborn child;
    3. Abortion is socially degrading, in that it fails to recognize the inalienable moral dignity of women as mothers; and
    4. Abortion is morally perverse in that it encourages the displacement of sexuality from its appropriate locus within the marriage of a man and a woman.
    These understandings are set within a constellation o views of morality, human flourishing, and metaphysis that are:
    1. Traditional – in affirming reproductive patterns within which women have children early in marriage and only later enter the workplace, thus ‘’interalia’’ avoiding the problems of attempting to reproduce after careers are established and fertility often significantly impaired;
    2. Ascetic – in understanding human flourishing as requiring submission o the will of God; the achievement of humility, and the control of one’s passions;
    3. Religious – there is a recognition that human destiny leads beyond the horizon of the finite so that all human activity, including sexuality and reproduction, must be evaluated in terms of a journey towards God.
    Those who live within this complex moral vision regard those who support easy access to abortion as violating the basic rights of unborn children, attacking the dignity of women and fundamentally perverting human relationships.
    • p.34
  • This admittedly sketchy geography of the moral conflicts attached to abortion is meant to locate the abortion disputes in terms of conflicting appreciations of sexuality, the status of unborn human life, the appropriate relationship of men and women, and the moral significance of reproduction. These rich webs of disagreements fuel a wide range of controversies, including not just those regarding the moral appropriateness of using embryonic stem cells and employing cloning, but disputes as to whether marriage is restricted to the union of a man and a woman, as well as with respect to the allowability of physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia. The particular claims and arguments are expressions of, not foundations for, global moral disagreements that are sustained by profoundly disparate understandings of metaphysics, moral epistemology, and axiology. The secular liberal cosmopolitan moral vision is articulated within the horizon of the finite, bases its moral understandings on received immanent intuitions, and displaced the holy with the right and the good In contrast, traditional Christianity orients the issues of abortion and human flourishing in terms of matters that transcend the horizon of the finite, grounding its moral understandings in a mystical experience of the Truth as a Who, relativizing the right and the good with reference to the holy. The conflicts over abortion disclose foundationally incompatible views and experiences of the moral enterprise and of the nature of human flourishing.. In short, the abortion debates bring us to confront of the challenging truth that humans are not united by one moral vision.
    • p.35

“Abortion” Social Statement Summary[edit]

“Abortion” Social Statement Summary, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

  • The social statement of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) on the topic of abortion faces the challenging task of speaking for a church body as divided as the American public on the topic. The statement begins with a claim about the unity of the church as a whole. United in Christ and believing that the Bible is the authoritative source and norm for Christian faith and life, Christians are free, and even obligated, to engage in moral deliberation over our disagreements. In setting parameters for discussion, the statement questions the use of “rights” language so common in the public abortion debate: Nor is it helpful to use the language of “rights” in absolute ways that imply that no other significant moral claims intrude. A developing life in the womb does not have an absolute right to be born, nor does a pregnant woman have an absolute right to terminate a pregnancy (“Abortion,” p. 2). After setting the stage for moral deliberation over abortion and acknowledging the controversial, potentially divisive character of the issue, the statement explains the convictions of our faith, on which we base judgments on abortion: *Human beings are endowed with dignity, created in God’s image, and they bear the responsibility of stewardship; *The gift of human life comes from God, has intrinsic value, worth and dignity in all phases of development, and is guided by God’s law; *Sin has corrupted God’s creation, leaving us “caught up in a web of sin in which we both sin and are sinned against” (p. 3); *God calls us to lives of repentance and renewal, seeking to manifest the fruit of the Spirit; and *As a community of forgiven sinners, “our love for neighbor embraces especially those who are most vulnerable, including both the pregnant woman and the life in her womb” (p.3). The social statement describes how this church, as a community supportive of life, responds to the reality of abortion. Its fundamental judgment about abortion is that: “Abortion ought to be an option only of last resort. Therefore, as a church we seek to reduce the need to turn to abortion as the answer to unintended pregnancies” (p.4). We “live out our support for life in all its dimensions” (p.4) through hospitality, keeping sexual intercourse in its proper setting and using contraception, action and education. By contrast, attitudes such as irresponsible sexual activity, individualism and materialism are life-degrading. The statement reminds this church of its call to be a compassionate community that recognizes the moral complexity of individual situations. In most circumstances, the church encourages women with unintended pregnancies to continue the pregnancy while assessing the situation realistically and considering adoption as a positive option.
    • p.1
  • When considering ending a pregnancy, a woman or couple should consider factors such as unwilling participation in the sexual act leading to conception, threat to the life of the mother, and severe fetal abnormalities. However, “This church opposes ending intrauterine life when a fetus is developed enough to live outside a uterus with the aid of reasonable and necessary technology” (p. 7).
    • pp.1-2
  • The ELCA participates in public debate about abortion while seeking justice for all. It advocates aid in preventing unwanted pregnancies, through education and contraception. Next, it supports a better life for the child and parents through improved social services and initiatives such as parental leave. Regulation of abortion, the statement recognizes, is where members of this church disagree widely. The statement declares that the government has a legitimate role in regulating abortion. It states, “Because of our conviction that both the life of the woman and the life in her womb must be respected by law, this church opposes: *the total lack of regulation of abortion; *legislation that would outlaw abortion in all circumstances; *laws that prevent access to information about all options available to women faced with unintended pregnancies; *laws that deny access to safe and affordable services for morally justifiable abortions; *mandatory or coerced abortion or sterilization; *laws that prevent couples from practicing contraception; *laws that are primarily intended to harass those contemplating or deciding for an abortion” (pp. 9-10). Lastly, the statement addresses issues that require further deliberation, such as gaining spousal and parental consent for abortions and using public funding to pay for the procedure. It calls ELCA members to engage in “public debate on abortion in a spirit of respect for those with whom they differ” (p. 10). The statement ends with a final paragraph calling ELCA members to participate in shaping society. The church:...seeks to shape attitudes and values that affirm people in whatever circumstances they find themselves. Its pastoral care, compassionate outreach, and life-sustaining assistance are crucial in supporting those who bear children, as well as those who choose not to do so. Through these and other means the people of God seek to be truly supportive of life (p. 11).
    • p.2

“Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Social Statements, Abortion” (September 1991)[edit]

“Evangelical Lu-theran Church in America Social Statements, Abortion”, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Department for Studies of the Commission for Church in Society, September 1991

  • The topic of abortion evokes strong and varied convictions about the social order, the roles of women and men, human life and human responsibility, freedom and lim-its, sexual morality, and the significance of children in our lives. It involves powerful feelings that are based on different life experiences and interpretations of Christian faith and life in the world. If we are to take our differences seriously, we must learn how to talk about them in ways that do justice to our diversity. The language used in discussing abortion should ignore neither the value of un-born life nor the value of the woman and her other relationships. It should neither obscure the moral serious-ness of the decision faced by the woman nor hide the moral value of the newly con-ceived life. Nor is it helpful to use the language of ‘rights’ in absolute ways that imply that no other significant moral claims intrude. A developing life in the womb does not have an absolute right to be born, nor does a pregnant woman have an absolute right to terminate a pregnancy. The concern for both the life of the woman and the developing life in her womb expresses a common commitment to life. This requires that we move beyond the usual ‘pro-life’ versus ‘pro-choice’ language in discussing abortion.
    • p.2
  • In keeping with our commitment to become communities that are truly life-affirm-ing, this church challenges the following life-degrading attitudes that permeate the prevailing culture and may contribute to the high incidence of abortion: messages in the media and elsewhere that encourage irresponsible sexual activity; material-ism, individualism, and excessive concern for self-interest; the desire for ‘perfect’ chil-dren, and treating those who are not as if they were ‘disposable’; attitudes and practices that are inhospitable to children and to the women who bear them; low regard of human life, especially the lives of African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians, or Native Americans, and of many women and children who are poor.
    • p.5
  • Prevention of unintended pregnancies is crucial in lessening the number of abor-tions. In addition to efforts within church and home, this church supportsappropriate forms of sex education in schools, community pregnancy preventionprograms, and parenting preparation classes. We recognize the need for contra-ceptives to be available, for voluntary sterilization to be considered, and forresearch and development of new forms of contraception.
    • p.8
  • Many women choose abortion in a desperate attempt to survive in a hostile social environment. In order to affirm the value of life and reduce the number of abortions, it is essential for us as a church to work to improve support for life in society.
    Greater social responsibility for the care, welfare, and education of children and fam-ilies is needed through such measures as access to quality, affordable healthcare, child care, and housing. Sufficient income support for families needs to be provided by employers, or, in the case of the unemployed, through government assistance. As a society we need to provide increased support for education, nutrition, and services that protect children from abuse and neglect.
    Because parenthood is a vocation that women and men share, this church sup-ports public and private initiatives to provide adequate maternity and paternity leaves, greater flexibility in the work place, and efforts to correct the disparity be-tween the incomes of men and women.
    The law must hold both parents responsible for the financial support of their children.
    • p.8
  • It is the position of this church that further deliberation is needed on such questions as whether consultation with the spouse or partner should be required, whether and how parental consent should be required for a minor seeking an abortion, and whether public funds should be used to pay for abortions.
    On the issue of public funding of abortions, two important values are in conflict—the concern for equity of access to legal medical services, and the concern that people’s tax money not be used to pay for what some people consider profoundly wrong. While we strongly af-firm family communication and support, the law should recognize that in some cases husband or partner involvement in the decision could be unwise or dangerous (e.g., if the relationship is broken or violent). If a law requires parental consent when the woman is a minor, it should specify other trusted adults as alternatives if parental involvement is inappropriate or unsafe.
    It is through the public processes of our society that the common good is sought for all. This church encourages its members to participate in the public debate on abortion in a spirit of respect for those with whom they differ. Committed to a process of raising and deliberating the difficult and unresolved questions, this church encourages its members, informed by faith understandings and by their conscience, to decide and act on this issue in ways that are responsive to God and to the needs of the neighbor.
    • p.10

“What Women Don't Know Does Hurt Them”[edit]

Jean S. Garton, “What Women Don't Know Does Hurt Them”

  • Since 1973, 42 million unborn children have been eliminated in order to "fix" the problem of their mothers' unwanted pregnancies. Tragically, 70 percent of those abortions were performed on women who claimed to be Christians.
    • p.1
  • That the $90 billion abortion industry remains largely unregulated, less regulated even than most animal clinics, and puts them at risk for a variety of complications including sterility and even death. • That most women who have experienced abortion suffer lingering bouts of depression, emotional numbness, eating disorders, panic attacks, lowered selfesteem, sleep disorders and overwhelming guilt. • That women who experience abortion have a 33 percent higher risk for breast cancer and 154 percent higher risk for committing suicide as well as increase risks for substance abuse and other self-destructive behaviors.
    • p.1
  • Too few churches want to address the subject of abortion or post-abortion trauma. Some be-cause they view it as a political issue and others because they don't want to cause pain to women sitting in the pew. That sounds compassionate, but it is interpreted by hurting women as rejec-tion. They do not sense permission or an invitation to speak to the pastor to hear about the need for repentance and the much needed words of grace. How helpful, hopeful and healing it would be for all members of a congregation to hear from the pulpit:
    • That a baby is always a gift; not a consequence; always a blessing, not a curse. • That there is help for those who want to see their baby to term. • That there are couples who would adopt, love and treasure their baby. • That God forgives them even when they can't forgive themselves. • That He loves them even when they hate themselves. • That because of Jesus, we need never be "prisoners of despair" but always "prisoners of hope," as we are called in Zechariah 9:12
    • pp.1-2
  • Too many in the church have abandoned these frightened women to heartless individualism by accepting the culture's lie that "It's her choice, her right, her privacy, her body." No, it's not, if we belong to Christ. An abortion decision doesn't exist in a vacuum. It does not occur in isola-tion, and we are not insulated from the consequences if we are part of the Body of Christ. We are all in this together because abortion isn't really about "a woman's right to choose." Abortion is about the decline of human significance, and that makes it an issue for the church.
    Some Christians believe that a teenager should have an abortion because she is too young to have a ba-by. If she is too young to have a baby, then isn't she too young to kill a baby? Still others say that abortion isn't a matter of concern for them because they are too old to have a baby. We may be too old to have a baby, but we are never too old to save a baby.
    • p.2

“Orthodox Christians and Abortion”[edit]

Fr. John Garvey, “Orthodox Christians and Abortion”

  • The Orthodox Church is opposed to the practice of abortion, a practice which is increasingly common in our society. How are we to respond--individually and as a Church--to a practice many of our fellow Americans regard as nothing more than a matter of choice? What are the Orthodox roots of opposition to abortion? How should Orthodox respond to the pressing moral issue of abortion?
    The World in which Christianity first appeared was familiar with abortion. Jews opposed it, which perplexed the ancient Romans; they found Jewish opposition to abortion irrational. (One example the Romans offered was the complication that new offspring caused if you had already drawn up a will. . . couldn't the Jews understand how inconvenient a new child was in a case like this?)
  • In Paul's letter to the Galatians there is an interesting phrase that may be a New Testament condemnation of abortifacient medicine. (Scholars are not sure about this.) Galatians 5:20 speaks of the works of the flesh, which are opposed to the fruits of the spirit. Among the works of the flesh, one is frequently translated "sorcery"--a translator's interpretation of the Greek work pharmakeia, literally "medicine." This may refer to the occult use of drugs, but it may also refer to abortifacients.
    There are other, more clear ancient Christian witnesses against abortion. The Didache is one of the earliest Christian works, contemporary with some of the New Testament writings; it was probably composed around the year 100 A.D. It condemns what it also calls pharmakeia and goes on to say, "You shall not slay the child by abortion. You shall not kill what is generated."
    The Epistle of Barnabas contains similar language, and Clement of Alexandria associates the destruction of the fetus with the destruction of love for humanity. Tertullian condemned abortion, and in the second century, a Christian answered anti-Christian allegations that Christians engaged in human sacrifice: "How can we kill a man when we are those who say that all who use abortifacients are homicides, and will account to God for their abortions as for the killing of men? For the fetus in the womb is not an animal."
  • Some modern defenders of abortion argue, wrongly, that Christian opposition to abortion is rel-atively new. They point out that ancient and medieval Christian writers made distinctions be-tween the "formed" and "unformed" fetus, the time before and after "quickening" when some believed the soul entered the unborn child. Their assumption is that this distinction made early abortion--before "quickening"--acceptable.
    Although these distinctions can be found in the writings of Sts. Jerome and Augustine, and in the writings of such later Roman Catholic theolo-gians as Thomas Aquinas, they were never understood as offering permission for early abortions. St. Basil explicitly rejected the distinction between the formed and unformed fetus as beside the essential point. St. John Chrysostom attacked married men who encouraged prostitutes and mis-tresses to abort. "You do not let a harlot remain only a harlot, but make her a murderess as well."
    Finally, it is important to realize the profound significance of the fact that we celebrate the feasts of the conception of the Theotokos and the conception of John the Fore-runner--in addition to the Annunciation, which is the feast of Jesus' conception.
  • There is no doubt, scientifically, that a unique human life starts at conception. Because we be-lieve that each of us is willed to be, by God, we cannot accept the belief that the humanity which starts at conception is accidental, or has no value because it is not yet capable of the decisions and emotions and independent actions we usually associate with being a person. This life will become what we are--unless we end it. Even when an abortion is performed to save the life of a mother (and such abortions are extremely rare), something profoundly tragic has occurred.
  • As Dostoevsky wrote, "Love in practice is a harsh and dreadful thing." Our model of love is not a sentimental pastel-colored greeting card, but Christ crucified. There are situations in which birth-giving is at least profoundly inconvenient, and others in which it may be absolutely terrify-ing. We should see something infinitely more terrifying, however, in a heart that is willing to kill life at its start, at its most vulnerable moment of being.
  • Many of those who oppose abortion have worked against a legal climate that has made the choice of abortion a relatively simple thing. The United States has the most permissive abortion laws in the industrialized Western world; there are more restrictions even in the most secular na-tions of Western Europe. Working to change the legal climate makes good sense and is one valu-able form of pro-life witness.
    It is not enough, however. Harvard Law professor Mary Ann Glendon has pointed out that the United States not only has the most permissive abortion laws in the industrialized West; its social policy does less for women and children than any other indus-trialized nation. She sees a connection. A nation in which single women, or poor married women, are afraid to have children because they will be left alone if they do is one in which abortion will often be seen as a lesser evil. To see it that way is wrong, from a Christian point of view. But it is also wrong to condemn abortion, without trying to help those for whom bearing a child will involve real burdens.
    Changes in law are part of this. Bearing a child should not mean the end of educational or work opportunities, and these possibilities weigh most heavily upon poor women in our society. In addition to working for changes in the law which might erode the permissive approach to obtaining abortions, it is important to work for positive justice, for a cli-mate in which those women who bear children will not be penalized for having made that choice.
  • Example and persuasion are especially important because, if abortifacient drugs become widely available, the issue may be removed from the legal arena. It will remain a pressing moral issue, one to which we may not be indifferent. In the long run law must be based upon a general con-sensus within a society. When the issue is reduced to a "right to choose" all the most important issues are pushed aside. What should we choose? What is human life for? Is it something over which we have rights--or towards which we have an infinite obligation? Is life made valuable primarily by my attitude towards it? Does a life's value depend upon whether I find it convenient or burdensome? Or is human life the gift of a God who loves it and wills it to be?

“Abortion and the Early Church: Christian, Jewish, and Pagan Attitudes” (1982)[edit]

J. Gorman, “Abortion and the Early Church: Christian, Jewish, and Pagan Attitudes”, (InterVarsity Press 1982 ISBN 0-87784-397-X)

  • Twentieth-century Christians are divided. Those who most vocally attach the name Christian to their position call themselves pro-life, but many influential Christian groups are just as ardently pro-choice. It is confusing to the layperson when experts disagree; what is especially troubling in this case is that the experts cannot hear each other’s arguments.
    Each side’s apparent insensitivity to the other is not necessarily due to ignorance or ill will. Two factors seem to be at work.
    First, the two sides emphasize different values: life and freedom. In any abortion decision, the values may clash. Each side seems to believe that its chosen value has priority over that of the other side. Second, neither side has been especially consistent in applying its chosen value to other areas of ethical concern. This inconsistency fuels the rhetorical fires of the opposing side, and the argument goes on.
    • pp.13-14
  • Surprisingly, abortion was not at all uncommon two thousand years ago. Early Christians were forced to develop both an appropriate attitude to their culture’s practice and a standard for life within the Christian community. Their statements on abortion will not, of course, provide automatic answers for all of today’s ethical questions, yet no study of abortion can be complete without reference to the legacy of Christian thought that the church has preserved.
    It is impossible to understand Christian attitudes and practices without first investigating abortion in its Greco-Roman context.
    • Ch.1 Abortion in the Ancient World, p.14
  • If abortion two thousand years ago was more dangerous for the woman than it is in today’s well-equipped clinics, it was nevertheless readily available and widely practiced at the time the Christian church was born. As might be expected, church leaders had something to say about it.
    • Ch.1 Abortion in the Ancient World, p.18

“Before Roe v. Wade: Voices that Shaped the Abortion Debate Before the Supreme Court's Ruling” (2013-01-14)[edit]

Greenhouse, Linda (2010). “Before Roe v. Wade: Voices that Shaped the Abortion Debate Before the Supreme Court's Ruling”. Kaplan Publishing. ISBN 978-1-60714-671-1. Archived from the original on 2013-01-14. Retrieved 2014-05-05.

  • In the immediate aftermath of Roe, organized opposition to the decision was still carried by the National Right to Life Committee and the Catholic Church. The National Right to Life Committee began mobilizing in support of a constitutional amendment that would overturn Roe and constitutionalize an embryo’s/fetus’s right to life, thereby requiring all states to recriminalize abortion. By 1975, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops had promulgated a Pastoral Plan for Pro-Life Activities that declared that “the decisions of the United States Supreme Court (January 22, 1973) violate the moral order, and have disrupted the legal process which previously attempted to safeguard the rights of children.” The plan urged “[p]assage of a constitutional amendment providing protection for the unborn child to the maximum degree possible,” and “[p]assage of federal and state laws and adoption of administrative policies that will restrict the practice of abortion as much as possible.”
  • In the early 1970s, most Protestant denominations did not share the Catholic Church’s view of abortion. As we have seen, mainline Protestant groups approved of liberalizing access to abortion; some approved repeal, while others endorsed variants of the “reform” position, advocating regulation on the “therapeutic model.” In this period, conservative evangelical groups did not view abortion as a categorical wrong. Even after Roe, in June 1973, Southern Baptist Convention President Owen Cooper criticized the Supreme Court for decisions liberalizing abortion—and banning capital punishment—and then proceeded to observe that the Southern Baptists would support abortions “where it clearly serves the best interests of society.” His view of abortion was far from absolute, and expressed in secular, not religious, terms.
  • Phyllis Schlafly’s Stop ERA organization associated the Equal Rights Amendment with abortion and gay marriage, using this frame to mobilize opposition to the amendment’s ratification in state houses across the country. During the mid-1970s, funding battles in Congress provided a lower-stakes arena in which to forge new alliances and erode support for the abortion right. By the late 1970s, Richard Viguerie and Paul Weyrich—architects of a more conservative Republican Party—were approaching such Protestant evangelicals as the Reverend Jerry Falwell and helping them to see in the abortion issue a question that could create a pan-Christian movement united against “secular humanism” and for “family values.” By 1980, the Christian Harvest Times was denouncing abortion in its “Special Report on Secular Humanism vs. Christianity”: “To understand humanism is to understand women’s liberation, the ERA, gay rights, children’s rights, abortion, sex education, the ‘new’ morality, evolution, values clarification, situational ethics, the loss of patriotism, and many of the other problems that are tearing America apart today.” In this way, a new relationship was emerging among Protestant evangelicals,the Catholic right-to-life movement, and the ascendant conservatives of the New Right. Increasingly lost in this transformation was an earlier Catholic association of a pro-life position with liberal ideals of social justice; forged was an increasingly tight association of pro-life with pro-family politics.

“Abortion Briefing 4” (October 2007)[edit]

Joint Public Issues Team for the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church. “Abortion Briefing 4”, October 2007.

  • For many people, including many Christians, abortion is not a black-and-white issue. There are Christians who are ‘pro-choice’ and who are ‘pro-life’, and yet others hold a view which takes elements of both of these opinions, and there remain many who find it hard to come to a firm view. It may be impossible to find consensus on abortion, but Christians would want to see greater moderation and understanding in the debate; some of the language used on both sides has been unhelpful, particularly for people having to make a very difficult decision.
    • pp.2-3
  • Amnesty International is a worldwide movement of people who campaign for human rights. Amnesty was founded in 1961 by an English Catholic, and until this summer it had a neutral policy on abortion. In June 2007 the organisation changed its policy to one where it would campaign on promoting women’s rights for access to abortion and reproductive health services: “Women must have access to safe and legal abortion services where continuation of pregnancy poses a risk to their life or grave risk to their health." This change was made as part of Amnesty’s human rights campaign, particularly in relation to rape used as a weapon of torture or war. This move upset many Catholics who had been long-standing members of Amnesty, and several senior priests publicly denounced the move and resigned their membership.
    • p.5
  • The Baptist Union of Great Britain has not formally debated the issues around abortion, and so has made no official policy statement. Rather, local congregations are encouraged to consider carefully the different arguments regarding the current abortion law.
    These arguments will need to take account of the fundamental Christian belief that all human life is a gift from God, as well as the complexities that surround the beginnings of life and the particular circumstances that can lead to abortion.
    It is recognised that there will be a wide diversity of views amongst Baptists, and the expression of these must always reflect a proper pastoral sensitivity.
    • p.6
  • A Methodist Conference Statement on Abortion was adopted in 1976.
    It says that both sides of the debate make points of real value and concludes that there are particular circumstances when abortion is morally justifiable.
    The termination of any form of human life can never be regarded superficially. Abortion must not be granted ‘on demand’ or be regarded as alternative to contraception or as a method of birth control. It should remain subject to a legal framework and to responsible counselling and medical judgement.
    It would be best to restrict all abortions to the first twenty weeks of pregnancy (or up to the point where the fetus becomes viable outside the uterus), except where there is a direct physical threat to the life of the mother or when new information about serious abnormality in the fetus becomes available after the twentieth week.
    If abortions are to be carried out, there are strong arguments to have them within the first three months of pregnancy wherever possible.
    The intention behind the Abortion Act 1967 is to be welcomed, as it reflects a sensitivity to the value of human life and also enables serious personal and social factors to be considered.
    • p.6
  • The United Reformed Church has not made any formal statement on abortion since its formation in 1972.
    In its report to the General Assembly in 1976, the Church and Society Department made extensive reference to the conclusions of a consultative document – Abortion: The Issues Involved – prepared for the Methodist Conference, and commended it for study in the churches.
    In 1976, a General Assembly resolution commended a discussion paper produced by the Church and Society Department. This asked churches to report their views so that the Department would be able to speak more effectively for the Church in any submission on future legislation.
    • pp.6-7

"What Does the Bible Say About Abortion?" (13 March 2020)[edit]

"What Does the Bible Say About Abortion?". jw.org. Retrieved 13 March 2020.

  • The Bible does not use the word “abortion” in the sense of an induced expulsion of a human fetus. However, many Bible verses provide God’s view of human life, including that of an unborn child.
    Life is a gift from God. (Genesis 9:6; Psalm 36:9) He considers all life to be precious, including the life of a child in the womb. So if someone intentionally kills an unborn child, that amounts to murder.
  • Those who have had an abortion can receive God’s forgiveness. If they now accept God’s view of life, they do not need to be overwhelmed with guilt. “Jehovah is merciful and compassionate . . . As far off as the sunrise is from the sunset, so far off from us he has put our transgres-sions.” * (Psalm 103:8-12) Jehovah will forgive all who sincerely repent of their past sins, in-cluding abortion.—Psalm 86:5.
  • In view of what the Bible says about the life of an unborn child, a person would not be justified in having an abortion because of a potential health risk to mother or child.
    What about the rare situation where at the time of childbirth an emergency forces the choice between saving the life of the mother or saving the baby? In such a case, those involved would have to make a personal decision about which life to try to save.

“Contemporary Catholic Health Care Ethics” (2004)[edit]

David F. Kelly, “Contemporary Catholic Health Care Ethics”, Georgetown University Press, 2004 ISBN 978-1-58901-030-7)

  • For example, a direct abortion is one where the act itself is, physically, the actual act of aborting (this would violate the first condition), or where the act itself immediately brings about an abortion, which in turn leads to something else (this would violate the second condition). On the other hand, an indirect abortion is one where the act itself is something else than aborting-chemotherapy or a hysterectomy for a pregnant woman with cervical cancer, for example-and where the act does not directly produce an abortion in order to bring about some other end-the hysterectomy does not abort the fetus in order to cure the cancer, for example-and where the act does not directly produce an abortion in order to bring about some other end-the hysterectomy does not abort the fetus in order to cure the cancer; rather, it cures the cancer while also bringing about the unintended but foreseen side effect of aborting the fetus. This abortion is, therefore, indirect and, assuming the woman does not intend (want, desire) her fetus’s death (third condition) and assuming the hysterectomy is necessary to save the woman’s life (fourth condition of proportionality), the procedure is considered morally right. I now turn to the application of the principle of double effect in Catholic medical ethics.
    • p.112
  • The first application of the principle of double effect, and one of the most consistently important issues in medical ethics, is that of abortion. Gradually, Roman Catholic medical ethicists arrived at a consensus as to the exact application of double-effect physicalist criteria, which enabled them to make clear and precise judgments in each kind of abortion situation. These distinctions and judgments are now questioned in part by some proportionalist/revisionist Catholic scholars, but they remain the basis for official Catholic teaching (National Conference of Catholic Bishops 1995, dir. 45-50). Direct abortions are those in which the act-in-itself is the removal of the fetus “directly” from the body of the woman, or the “direct” killing of the fetus by any other means while still within the mother’s body. These acts are never permitted and are considered gravely immoral, identical to murder. Indirect abortions are, however, permitted according to the principle of double effect. Here the act-in-itself is specified as an operation or other procedure whose directly intended effect is the preservation or restoration of the mother’s health. The foreseen but unintended death of the fetus is “indirect”. The two classic cases are the removal of a pregnant cancerous uterus and the removal of a fallopian tube in the case of ectopic pregnancy. Other cases are the use of certain medications or operations where there is some danger that the fetus may die as a result, but where the procedure is directed at some other effect. Thus, for example, an appendectomy may be performed on a pregnant woman, even though some (perhaps even great) danger exists of a consequent abortion (miscarriage).
    • p.112
  • [I]n cases of tubal ectopic pregnancy, the fallopian tube may be removed with the fetus inside, but the fetus can never itself be removed from the tube, even if the tube might be saved as a result. This latter act-in-itself is said to violate the first two conditions of the PDE. It might be of interest to go into detail on how this decision was reached, especially since this “traditional” judgment is now causing some serious problems.
    Prior to 1933, Catholic medical ethicists permitted surgery only on an already ruptured fallopian tube. Their reasoning was essentially that prior to that time the cause of danger was the fetus, not the tube. Hence, any attempt to intervene would be a direct abortion, aimed at the fetus, and thus an intrinsically evil act. Some authors specifically mentioned the possibility of removing the tube with the fetus inside, but forbade this as a direct abortion (Kelly 1979, 303; Finney 1922, 135). I remember speaking with a retired Catholic hospital chaplain who recalled his anguish at having to allow women to die from ectopic pregnancies; often the surgery, which had to be postponed until after tubal rupture, was too late.
    In 1933, Jesuit canon lawyer T. Lincoln Bouscaren, who has been an assistant district attorney in Oklahoma, wrote a dissertation for his doctorate in theology at the Gregorian university in Rome (Bouscaren 1933). It was he who argued for the first time that a salpingectomy (removal of the tube with the fetus inside) was an indirect abortion. To do so, he has t specify the act-in-itself as the removal of a pathological tube, which causes with equal causal immediacy both the good effect (removal of the pathology) and the bad effect (death of the fetus). Since the first two conditions of the PDE were passed, the abortion was indirect and hence lawful. He answered the objection of earlier authors that one must wait till the tube ruptured, since otherwise the cause of the problem would e the fetus and the abortion direct, since otherwise the cause of the problem would be the fetus and the abortion direct, by stating that this was not the causal chain that mattered. The cause of the problem (fetus or tube) was irrelevant. What counted was the causal chain of the act to intervene. And this causal chain did not contain a link where the bad effect caused the good effect. Hence, he argued, salpingectomy (the removal of the tube), even before the tube ruptured, was morally right. The chaplain I mentioned above considered Bouscaren a lifesaver, which he was.
    But Bouscaren was explicit in rejecting any “direct” attack on the fetus, as in salpingostomy, where the tube is slit open and the fetus removed.
    • p. 113

“Lobbying for the Unborn: The American Catholic Church and the Abortion Issue”[edit]

Lanouar BEN HAFSA, “Lobbying for the Unborn: The American Catholic Church and the Abortion Issue”

  • The American Catholic Church has always been a deciding force in articulating opposition to abortion in the United States. It gave the right-to-life movement more than institutional support. It offered people, money, and brought focus and intensity of commitment against abortion. According to Roy White, once director of the National Right-to-Life Committee, “The only reason we have a pro-life movement in this country is because of the Catholic people and the Catholic Church.”
  • The American Catholic Church’s reaction to the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade (410 US 113), was immediate and condemnatory. It called the ruling a “catastrophe for America” and a “monstrous injustice.”5 In a statement released on January 24, 1973, the Com-mittee for Pro-Life Affairs of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops advised Americans “not to follow its reasoning or conclusions,” and recommended that “(E)very legal possibility must be explored to challenge the opinion of the United States Supreme Court decision that withdraws all legal safeguards for the right to life of the unborn children.”6 Then, to press for the passage of a Human Life Amendment (HLA) and, at the same time, preserve its tax exempt status (legally preventing religious institutions from engaging in political activity), the Church established a lobby group: the National Committee for a Human Life Amendment (NCHLA).
  • The upsurge of conservatism, evangelical and fundamentalist Protestantism prompted a new era in the history of anti-abortion activism. In line with conservative Catholics and Orthodox Jews, the New Religious Right perceived abortion as a moral sin and especially an assault on the tradi-tional nuclear family alongside other “social threats” such as sex education, teenage autonomy, and reproductive freedom of women. Additionally, because it allowed access to Democratic con-servatives –among them Catholics– abortion became a central facet of the New Right’s political agenda.
  • The first tangible victory resulting from the alliance between pro-life and pro-family forces was the passage, in 1977, of the Hyde Amendment. This decision which cut off federal funding of non-therapeutic abortions, made it difficult for Medicaid-eligible women to put an end to an un-wanted pregnancy.14 According to Catholic Representative Henry J. Hyde (R. Illinois), the initi-ator of the project, this would give poor women a “license” for illicit sex. Besides, government should not use public money to finance what he called “the genocide of defenceless human be-ings.” He declared: “Taking human life with taxpayers’ money is abhorrent and I intend to use the political process to stop it.”
  • The second consequence of the New Right’s involvement in the anti-abortion campaign was the “radicalization” of the right-to-life movement. As a result, despite their illegal and anonymous character, many local and extremist groups began to form in different parts of the United States. Advocating a new strategy which stressed direct action tactics, they started to preach civil diso-bedience and even violence against abortion clinics.
  • The Catholic bishops have long supported adequate and affordable health care for all. As pastors and teachers, we believe genuine health care reform must protect human life and dignity, not threaten them, especially for the most voiceless and vulnerable. We believe health care legislation must respect the consciences of providers, taxpayers, and others, not violate them. We believe universal coverage should be truly universal, not deny health care to those in need because of their condition, age, where they come from or when they arrive here. Providing affordable and accessible health care that clearly reflects these fundamental principles is a public good, moral imperative and urgent national priority.
    • United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Health Care Letter to the Senate, December 7, 2009.
  • Undoubtedly, the Catholic Church has a history of intense political activism, but rarely has the country’s largest religious denomination entered the fray with such decisive force. Its strategic positioning on the health care, especially its lobbying successes in Congress, stunned experts in the field, and even abortion-rights advocacy groups that had worked hard to elect Barack Obama and expand Democratic congressional majorities. “The Catholic bishops came in at the last minute and drew a line in the sand,” declared Laurie Rubiner, vice president for public policy at the pro-abortion Planned Parenthood of America. “It’s very hard to compete with that.”
    • Peter Wallsten, “Catholic Church Emerges as Key Player in Legislative Battle,” The Wall Street Jour (...)
  • [M]ost of the polls converge to demonstrate that a majority of U.S. Catholics hold views that differ from the official teachings of the Church on abortion. Sixty-four percent among them say they disapprove of the statement that “abortion is morally wrong,”29 and between sixteen and twenty percent agree with the Church’s stance that abortion should be illegal in all cases.30 When asked the question of whether abortion was acceptable or unacceptable, forty percent of American Catholics said it was acceptable, approximately the same percentage as non-Catholics.31 While Latino Catholics in the U.S. are more likely to oppose abortion, some reasons for dissenting from the Church’s position include: “I am personally opposed to abortion, but I think the Church is concentrating its energies too much on abortion rather than on social action.”
    Polls also reveal that abortion ranks low among other electoral issues and is by no means decisive in the Catholic vote. According to a survey conducted by Zogby International in 2008, only twenty-nine percent of Catholic voters choose their candidate based solely on his position on abortion.33 In another poll carried out by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center in 2009, only three percent of respondents who opposed the health care reform cited abortion as their reason, and when offered a list of alternatives, just eight percent chose abortion as a top concern. Forty-six percent agreed with abortion adversaries that coverage of the procedure should not be included in government benefit, and thirty-six percent thought the plan should cover abortion.

"Unchanging Truth" (2016-11-22)[edit]

McCain, Paul T. "Unchanging Truth". webcache.googleusercontent.com. Archived from the original on 2016-05-11. Retrieved 2016-11-22

  • Abortion is one of the most significant moral issues of our day. Emotions run very deep when it comes to this issue. It is tempting to consider this issue from the perspective of our culture’s standards. Christians want to be informed about abortion based on the Word of God.
    What does God’s Word say about abortion?
    God’s Fifth Commandment is clear, “You shall not murder.” This means, in the words of the Small Catechism, that “we should fear and love God so that we do not hurt or harm our neighbor in his body, but help and support him in every physical need. ”God forbids us to take the life of another person, and this most certainly includes abortion.
    God’s Word also says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart”(Jer.1:5). Psalm 139:16 says, “Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.”
    Our church’s explanation of the Small Catechism puts the matter well when it says, “The living but unborn are persons in the sight of God from the time of conception. Since abortion takes a human life, it is not a moral option except to prevent the death of another person, the mother. ”The sin of willfully aborting a child, except in those very rare situations where it may be necessary to save the life of the mother, is a sinful act, totally contrary to the will of God.
    If abortion is legal in the United States, how can the church oppose it?
    Just because something happens to be legal does not make it moral, ethical or right. Abortion is perhaps one of the most dramatic examples of a situation where something is legal, but is very much a sin against God. Since 1973, abortions have been legal in the United States. Abortion remains a sin against God, whether or not it is legal in our society; therefore, we must “obey God rather than men”(Acts 5:29).The church needs to inform its members that abortion is sinful and then encourage them, as Christian citizens, to use available legal means to change the law. Christians do not resort to illegal activities to change our nation’s laws.
    Why is the church involving itself in a personal decision?
    A personal decision is not necessarily a private decision. The church, and the church’s ministers, have God-given responsibilities to warn, exhort and rebuke from the Word of God with all authority (2 Tim.4:2).The church is very concerned when Christians make decisions that are contrary to the Word of God and thus place themselves outside the will of God. Living in a state of unrepentant sin is a very serious situation. Thus, the church must warn its members against the temptation of abortion. The church also must minister to those who have had abortions. Furthermore, the church needs to speak out against the sin of abortion, since it is widely presented in our culture as perfectly acceptable.
    • p.1
  • Has the Christian church always been opposed to abortion?
    Abortion was a common practice in the ancient Roman empire. The very fact that the Son of God was conceived in the womb of Mary was a powerful reason for Christians to hold a high view of all human life. The unborn Christ was not merely a blob of cells, but was in fact the very Son of God, who had assumed a human nature in order to save and redeem human beings from their sin. Early Christian writers make it clear that abortion was abhorrent to the first Christians. The early Christians understood their views on marriage, women and family to be unique. One church father said it quite plainly, “The hair-splitting difference between formed and unformed makes no difference to us. Whoever deliberately commits abortion is subject to the penalty for homicide. ”From its earliest days, the Christian church has been opposed to abortion, regarding it as infanticide and homicide.
    Why do some churches take a weak position on abortion?
    • p.1
  • Why do some churches take a weak position on abortion?
    Abortion is an emotional issue and one that is very upsetting to many people. It is easier for a church to take a weak position and not speak out clearly against abortion. However, a church body that wishes to be and remain faithful to the Holy Scriptures cannot remain silent but must clearly indicate that willful abortions are sinful. Many mainline, liberal denominations, which tolerate doubt and indifference in their churches about many teachings of the Bible, also tolerate and even defend abortion. It is often confusing to Missouri Synod Lutherans when they hear that some other Lutheran churches have not taken a strong stand against abortion. It is important for us to make clear that our church does not share the position of those church bodies that do not speak clearly against the sin of abortion.
    • pp.1-2
  • Isn’t abortion acceptable in the case of rape or incest?
    While the emotional arguments for abortion in these situations might seem compelling, the fact of the matter is that it is wrong to take the life of one innocent victim (the unborn child),and further burden the life of the other victim of these horrible situations, the mother. It is indeed a strange logic that would have us kill an innocent unborn baby for the crime of his father.
    What can we do for people considering abortion?
    It is a sin for parents to counsel their children to have abortions. This is not an option for Christian parents. An unplanned pregnancy comes as a shock to all involved and abortion may be seen as a “quick and quiet” way to move past the problem, but it is not. It merely compounds an already sinful situation with another sinful choice.
    A woman who is considering an abortion has the option to keep her child or to give it up for adoption. Adoption is a noble choice, for it allows a child who otherwise may not be well cared for to receive the love and attention he needs in a family that is able to care for him. Our pastors are aware of the various agencies that deal with adoptions.
    How can the church minister to those who have had an abortion?
    A woman who has had an abortion may feel at first that she is free of her “problem.” Her partner, either a boyfriend or a husband, may also feel that he is “off the hook.” It may be soon after, or perhaps not until years later, that they realize what they have actually done: destroyed the life of their unborn child. Perhaps this realization comes as they hear God’s Word correctly explained on this point. The Law of God reveals their sin to them and they feel guilt and great sorrow, and they begin to wonder what can be done about it or if there is any hope at all.
    The woman who has had an abortion needs to hear that for this sin too the blood of Jesus Christ was shed, and that there is in Him now full and free forgiveness. This assurance needs to be given over and over; namely, that in Christ Jesus, there is forgiveness—complete and total forgiveness. This is how the church best ministers to those who continue to feel the burden of the sin of abortion, by again and again pointing them to the cross of their Lord Jesus Christ and assuring them of the full and free forgiveness He won for them there, for all sins, for each and every one.
    It is important then that people who have repented of their sin continue to remain close to their Lord through regular and faithful church attendance where they will continue to hear the Gospel proclaimed and where they will receive the Lord’s Supper regularly. Private confession and absolution with their pastor is another powerful means by which God gives His grace, pardon and peace to a person feeling guilty over the sin of abortion. The grace and love of God is stronger than any human weakness and the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7).This is truly good news and the good news that can and must be shared with those feeling guilty.
    • p.2

”Abortion and the Meaning of Parenthood” (1999)[edit]

“Abortion and the Meaning of Parenthood”, by Gilbert Meilaender From: “Things that Count”, Intercollegiate Studies Institute, Inc. Wilmington, Delaware 1999

  • It is one thing to argue that a pregnant woman (or any parent of any child) should not be permitted to take action that aims at her child’s death (as abortion in most circumstances does). It is harder to argue that she must avoid behavior that may harm her child, or that the law should make significant restrictions on her way of life with that end in view. Yet, it might be persuasively argued in some instances. After all, the law does punish both child abuse and neglect that occurs after birth. And even if a woman is free to abort a fetus and thereby end a pregnancy, we might hold that she is not free to carry it to term while engaging in behavior that carries serious risk of harm for that child
    • p.2
  • Suppose we were considering a law that would require a pregnant woman who intended to carry the pregnancy to term to alter her behavior in significant ways (or even undergo surgical procedures) for the well-being of the child. We can begin to appreciate the meaning of abortion for the parental vocation if we consider one argument that might be offered against such a law. One might say: “That sort of law treats the fetus as if it were an independent entity, physically separate from the woman. It ignores the fact that the woman cannot simply walk away from the fetus.” Except that, abortion being legal, she can walk away from it. Abortion makes that possible. Notice what this means. The possibility of abortion has a peculiar effect on the relation of mother and fetus. The “natural” connection is no longer tight.
    She can walk away. This might seem to give her greater freedom—the freedom to see herself and her child as separate entities. The freedom to affirm the connection of these two entities if she wishes . . . or to reject the connection. But if the law we are hypothetically considering were to be passed, this way of thinking would lead to less freedom for the woman who chooses not to abort. Since she hasn’t walked away, she has taken on some pretty stringent obligations. This is what happens when we cease to think of the fetus as the “fruit of the womb” and think instead of the mother/fetus connection as a chosen, willed one. If the woman chooses, she must be in control. But then, perhaps, some will begin to think we must hold her responsible (even legally liable) in new ways.
    An argument analogous to this one is central to the important and provocative book by Barbara Katz Rothman titled The Tentative Pregnancy. Although she favors the legal right to abortion, Rothman worries about how that right—and especially the prenatal diagnosis that so often accompanies it—may alter our understanding of what it means to be a parent and, in particular, a mother. The technology that appears to confer new freedom ultimately controls and reshapes the way we think. It encourages us to think in terms of separation and individuation, of the mother as simply the environment of the fetus. More traditionally, we might have pictured mother and child as beginning with complete, inseparable attachment—and moving from that beginning point through a separation that begins at birth and continues thereafter. But the technology of prenatal diagnosis and abortion that encourages us to picture pregnancy as a willed, chosen relation between two wholly separate individuals reverses this way of thought.
    • p.2
  • The “tentative pregnancy” is one, therefore, in which a mother cannot really acknowledge the pres-ence of her child until it has been given a clean bill of health. Only then can she choose to bond with it. The irony, of course, as Rothman notes, is that even our technology can never guarantee a perfect baby—or that the perfect baby will remain that way after birth. She writes:
    The possibility of spending the rest of one’s life caring for a sick or disabled child can never be eliminated by prenatal testing . . . Motherhood is, among other things, one more chance for a speeding truck to ruin your life (pp. 252f.).
    • p.3
  • If wrongful life suits make us uneasy, it is because they force us to think about the line that is so hard to draw: between our freedom and our finitude, between the exercise of freedom that is rightful dominion and the exercise of freedom that gives in to the temptation to be as gods. This is not a line that can always be clearly drawn in advance, but to see the issue in these terms is to appreciate that our uneasiness takes root in some of the most basic questions—religious questions—about the world in which we live.
    Who finally is the lifegiver? Parents? Physician? Both together? Or are they only cooperators in and with a power greater than their own? Does the natural tie of mother and child (or, more broadly, parents and child) itself have any moral claim upon us apart from our own willing and choosing? And, are there possible exercises of freedom which we ought to reject or kinds of responsibility which we ought to view as inappropriate for human beings? Such issues, which can only be termed religious issues, lie deep within our public uneasiness about developments like the wrongful life suit.
    We can press the issue yet a bit further if we consider a world in which God (and even nature) has faded from consciousness, but a world in which we remain morally serious. If God is no longer around to bear responsibility for bringing good out of evil—out of, for example, the suffering of an infant born with serious disabilities—then we must look elsewhere for someone to shoulder the burden of responsibility. If an avoidable evil has been permitted to occur and God cannot be blamed, then who is the most likely candidate for such responsibility and blame? Surely it is we ourselves. To see our situation in this light is to see what it might mean really to learn to think of ourselves not just as co-creators with a power greater than our own but, instead, simply as creators.
    Our public debates about abortion have tended to shy away from such seemingly metaphysical issues. Thus, for example, even when we oppose abortion done on grounds of “fetal defect,” we usually oppose it on the ground that we ought not make judgments about the comparative worth of human lives. And that is a perfectly respectable argument to which I, at least, am quite ready to assent. Perhaps, however, we also need to think about some other issues—fuzzier ones and harder to clarify, but very important. How we think about a child, and the relation of mother, father and child, is not simply a given. It can change over time, and it is the very possibility of abortion that brings about some of those changes and teaches us to think in new and different ways about the “nature of human nature” and the meaning of being a parent or a child.
    If (to use some old-fashioned language) the essence of our humanity consists in our freedom, in taking control, we will have to think of parenthood in a corresponding way. But that may mean the loss of much humane wisdom—the wisdom that sees a parent as one who stands before the child as God’s representative but certainly not as God, the wisdom which knows that to accept full responsibility for what our children are and become is to cut the root that will nourish them as children, the root that is the unconditional love of a parent. Concerns such as these are at stake in our public debate about abortion, and we do well to pay them some heed.
    • pp.4-5

Methodist.org.uk (June 6, 2011)[edit]

Methodist.org.uk Archived June 6, 2011, at the Wayback Machine

  • Abortion is a challenging and controversial subject, and the Methodist position is one way of approaching the ethical and moral dilemmas from a Christian point of view.
    Support, counselling and openness are the most important things that the Church can offer to people who find themselves considering an abortion.
  • In conception and birth, parents are pro-creators with God of new human life.
    We live in an imperfect world, where both individuals and society will often fail. In certain circumstances abortion may be seen as a necessary way of mitigating the results of these failures.
    It does not remove the urgent need to seek remedies for the causes of these failures.
  • There are circumstances, for example when a pregnancy may pose a direct threat to the life or health of the mother, when abortion is understandable.
    The probability of the birth of a severely disabled child (where this may be predicted or diagnosed with an appreciable degree of accuracy) also provides a situation in which in some circumstances in which many would – if reluctantly – choose an abortion.
    It is right to consider the whole environment within which the mother is living or likely to live. This will include the children for whom she is already responsible and there will be occasions when she is unable to add to heavy responsibilities she is already carrying.
    There are social conditions in our country which are offensive to the Christian conscience, particularly those connected with bad housing and family poverty. These conditions must be improved; meanwhile it is clear that abortion is sometimes sought as a response to the prospect of bearing a child in these and similarly intolerable situations
  • There are strong arguments on physical, psychological and practical grounds to carry out abortions in the first three months wherever possible.
  • Abortion must not be regarded as an alternative to contraception, nor is it to be justified merely as a method of birth control.
    The termination of any form of human life cannot be regarded superficially and abortion should not be available on demand, but should remain subject to a legal framework, to responsible counselling and to medical judgement.

“A METHODIST STATEMENT ON ABORTION” (1976)[edit]

“A METHODIST STATEMENT ON ABORTION”, Methodist Conference of 1976

  • 1. The question of abortion continues to exercise the thought, conscience and compassion of men and women. The area of the debate at this stage is limited to the period between conception and birth. 2. Abortion has at once moral, medical, legal, sociological, philosophical, demographic and psychological aspects. In addition, the Christian will seek to bring to the discussion insights and emphases which derive from his faith. THEOLOGICAL ASPECTS 3. The Christian believes that man is a creature of God, made in the divine image, and that human life, though marred, has eternal as well as physical and material dimensions. All human life should therefore be reverenced. The fetus is undoubtedly part of the continuum of human existence, but the Christian will wish to study further the extent to which a fetus is a person. Man is made for relationships, being called to respond to God and to enter into a living relationship with him. Commanded to love their neighbours, Christians must reflect in human relationships their response to God’s love. Although the fetus possesses a degree of individual identity, it lacks independence and the ability to respond to relationships. All personsare always our ‘neighbours’; other beings may call forth our loving care. In considering the matter of abortion, therefore, the Christian asks what persons, or beings who are properly to be treated wholly or in part as persons, are involved and how they will be affected by a decision to permit or forbid abortion. 4. It is of the essence of the Christian Gospel to stand by and care for those who are facing crises and to help them to make responsible decisions of doctors and nurses who find themselves unable to take decisions about their situation. It also respects the conscientious part in carrying out abortions. 5. In considering the question of abortion, Christians must never overlook the reality of human sin. This impairs judgement with the result that the abortion decision may be made in a context of selfishness, carelessness or exploitation. Human sin is also seen in attitudes and institutions which foster any debasing of human sexuality or are complacent to social injustice and deprivation. In facing these dimensions of failure and sin, Christians will work for an experience of spiritual renewal and a deeper understanding of the nature of human responsibility in the response made to abortion.
    • p.1
  • 6. On one side of the abortion debate is the view which seeks to uphold the value and importance of all forms of human life by asserting that the fetus has an inviolable right to life and that there must be no external interference with the process which will lead to the birth of a living human being. The other side of the debate emphasises the interests of the mother. The fetus is totally dependent on her for at least the first twenty weeks of the pregnancy and, it is therefore argued, she has a total right to decide whether or not to continue the pregnancy. It is further argued that a child has the right to be born healthy and wanted. 7. Both views make points of real value. On the one hand, the significance of human life must not be diminished; on the other hand, abortion is unique because of the total physical dependence of the fetus on the mother, to whose life, capacities or existing responsibilities the fetus may pose a threat of which she is acutely aware. It is necessary both to face this stark conflict of interests and to acknowledge that others are also involved – the father, the existing children of the family, the extended family and society generally. 8. From the time of fertilisation, the fetus is a separate organism, biologically identifiable as belonging to the human race and containing all the genetic information. It will naturally develop into a new living human individual. A few days after fertilisation, implantation (or nidation) has taken place; it is significant that in the period before nidation a very large number of fertilised ova perish. At some time after the third month, the ‘quickening’ occurs – an event which is of significant, perhaps crucial, moment for the mother. Not earlier than the 20th week, the fetus becomes viable, i.e. able to survive outside the womb if brought to birth. 9. There is never any moment from conception onwards when the fetus totally lacks human significance – a fact which may be overlooked in the pressure for abortion on demand. However the degree of this significance manifestly increases. At the very least this suggests that no pregnancy should be terminated after the point when the aborted fetus would be viable. This stage has been reached by the 28thweek and possibly by the 24th or even earlier. It would, in fact, be best to restrict all abortions to the first twenty weeks of pregnancy except where there is a direct physical threat to the life of the mother or when new information about serious abnormality in the fetus becomes available after the twentieth week. There is indeed also a strong argument on physical, psychological and practical grounds to carry out abortions in the first three months wherever possible. 10. Because every fetus has significance, the abortion decision must neither be taken lightly nor made under duress. It is for this reason, as well as in her own long-term interests, that the mother should receive adequate counselling. This should enable her to understand what is involved in abortion, what are the alternatives to it and what are the considerations she should weigh before asking for termination. The skills of social workers and the particular technique of counselling, as well as the responsible medical judgement of doctor and consultant, must therefore be engaged. The provision of this service should be a duty laid by administrative regulations on those approving abortions whether in the NHS or the private abortion clinics. This is another reason why abortion on demand is to be rejected.
    • p.2
  • 15. The problems raised by abortion can be finally resolved only by a new and sustained effort to understand the nature of human sexuality and to encourage expressions of sexual relationships which are joyous, sensitive and responsible, and which do not tend to exploit others. Christians believe that in conception and birth, parents are pro-creators with God of new human life. They also affirm in the whole of their sexual relationships that identity-in-mutuality which is inherent in marriage and which argues so strongly for the permanence of the marriage commitment. In an imperfect world, where both individuals and society will often fail, abortion may be seen as a necessary way of mitigating the results of these failures. It does not remove the urgent need to seek remedies for the causes of these failures.
    • p.4

“Abortion and Contraception” (November 1, 2010)[edit]

The Methodist Church of Great Britain “Abortion and Contraception”, Archived November 1, 2010, at the Wayback Machine

  • The Methodist Conference Statement of 1976 states that abortion is always an evil, to be avoided if at all possible by offering care to single mothers during pregnancy, and the adoption of their children if, at full term, the mother cannot offer a home. However, the Statement also holds that there will be circumstances where the termination of pregnancy may be the lesser of evils. These include situations where the embryo is grievously handicapped, the pregnancy is the result of rape or the health, mental or physical, of the mother is at risk.
  • The result of the coming together of human sperm and ovum is obviously human. The appearance of the ‘primitive streak' (the beginning of the neurological system) after some fourteen days is an important stage. However for many weeks after this event, natural abortion will continue to bring about the termination of over 50% of embryos.
    Fertilisation, implantation and subsequent development are parts of a continuous process. It is simply not possible to identify the single moment when a new human person begins. The right of the embryo to full respect clearly increases throughout a pregnancy.
  • It would be strongly preferable that, through advances in medical science and social welfare, all abortions should become unnecessary. But termination as early as possible in the course of the pregnancy may be the lesser of evils. If abortion were made a criminal offence again, there would be increased risks of ill-health and death as a result of botched ‘back-street' abortions. Late abortions should be very rare exceptions. To refuse to countenance abortion in any circumstances is to condemn some women and their babies to gross suffering and a cruel death in the name of an absolutism which nature itself does not observe.
    Counselling and pastoral care should be available to the mother and, where the father is known, to the father. The mother should be told clearly of the alternatives to termination.

"Resolution on Abortion" (2010)[edit]

National Association of Evangelicals. "Resolution on Abortion". (2010).

  • All humans, male and female, are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) and, therefore, have intrinsic dignity that should be respected and honored. Indeed, the breath of life in all human beings is a gift from God (Genesis 2:7) and thus inherently holy. The National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) has pledged to protect the sanctity of human life and to safeguard its nature. In light of our respect for the precious gift of life, the NAE continues to speak on the sensitive subject of abortion.
    Quite simply, America has an abortion problem. Over one million abortions occur in the United States every year. We find this number horrific, because it is not just a number. It represents more than a million human lives deliberately terminated every year. The Bible reveals God’s calling and care for persons before they are born (Psalm 139:13), and each life lost is a unique creation made in God’s image who might have blessed our society in extraordinary ways. We declare this situation to be unconscionable and unacceptable.
    The NAE is not alone in its concerns. The broader American public long has been disturbed by abortion, and this sentiment continues today. According to a September 2008 Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life publication, “most Americans (73%) believe that abortion is morally wrong in nearly all (24%) or some (49%) circumstances.” We find hope for reform in this common concern.
    We recognize that well-intentioned Americans have debated for many years whether and in what circumstances abortion should be legal. Americans remain passionately divided on this subject. The NAE actively, ardently and unwaveringly opposes abortion on demand. However, we do not dismiss those who advocate for legal access to abortion as unconcerned for human life or unworthy of our respect and attention. Lack of civility and charity toward our neighbor is also unacceptable (Mark 12:31).
  • The NAE is pleased that some longtime opponents in the debate over the legality of abortion have expressed interest in working together to dramatically reduce the incidence of abortion in the United States. Without compromising our core convictions, we seek honest conversation about ways to achieve this goal. These conversations should build on our shared concerns for human dignity, protecting children and promoting healthy families and communities.
    We understand that the problem of abortion is interconnected with other challenges in our society. Given the generative nature of human sexuality, we recognize an inherent link between respect for God’s gift of sex and respect for God’s gift of life. Sex is a precious gift from God intended for a man and a woman to consummate marriage, procreate, express love and experience pleasure within an exclusive covenantal relationship. The Church is called to teach and model the blessings of sexual purity and to uphold marriage and the family, society’s fundamental building blocks.
  • Pregnancy is a natural result of sexual activity and integral to God’s design and command for humans to “be fruitful and increase in number” (Genesis 1:28). If God permits a pregnancy, planned or unplanned, we should understand that God is forming a new life in his image. Sex is a responsible act only in a relationship in which a couple is willing to care for any children that can come from that union. However, in stark contrast to the biblical vision, irresponsible and flippant treatment of sex abounds in our society. It is no wonder that unplanned pregnancy similarly abounds and places many parents and their children in environmentally, economically and emotionally precarious states.
    We recognize the pain, fear and even anguish that sometimes accompany an unplanned pregnancy. The parents, particularly when they are young or unmarried, are often overwhelmed by the sacrifices that would be required to care for a young life. In too many cases, fathers desert their partners and unborn children as soon as pregnancy is discovered. Abandoned pregnant mothers may feel hopeless in the face of the daunting challenges of single parenting. Sadly, many fathers and mothers in these situations each year turn away from the joys and responsibilities of parenting or the alternative of adoption, and many then bear heavy burdens stemming from those decisions for years to come.
  • Approximately half of all pregnancies are unplanned, and more than 40 percent of these three million unplanned pregnancies are aborted. This accounts for the vast majority of America’s abortions every year. Any serious attempt to reduce the number of abortions must therefore come to terms with unplanned pregnancy, the pandemic of extramarital sex and the complex issues surrounding contraception and other family planning methods. Where couples are not willing to accept the responsibilities of parenting, they should educate themselves about ethical methods of family planning. The Church is understandably reluctant to recommend contraception for unmarried sexual partners, given that it cannot condone extramarital sex. However, it is even more tragic when unmarried individuals compound one sin by conceiving and then destroying the precious gift of life. Witness the far-reaching consequences to King David’s sins of adultery and murder.
  • In some cases, couples embracing pregnancy face diagnoses of potential complications for their prenatal child. Too often these diagnoses are accompanied by suggestions towards abortion. For example, prenatal diagnoses of Down syndrome result in abortion in approximately 90 percent of such situations. We are deeply saddened not only by such a staggering trend but also its subtle eugenic implications. Parenting a child with physical or developmental difficulties can be a significant challenge but also a great blessing. We believe churches should strive to be communities offering extra love and support for families who conceive or adopt special needs children.

“Abortion 2010: Resolution Adopted by NAE Board of Directors”[edit]

  • Quite simply, America has an abortion problem. Over one million abortions occur in the United States every year. We find this number horrific, because it is not just a number. It represents more than a million human lives deliberately terminated every year. The Bible reveals God’s calling and care for persons before they are born (Psalm 139:13), and each life lost is a unique creation made in God’s image who might have blessed our society in extraordinary ways. We declare this situation to be unconscionable and unacceptable.
    The NAE is not alone in its concerns. The broader American public long has been disturbed by abortion, and this sentiment continues today. According to a September 2008 Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life publica-tion, “most Americans (73%) believe that abortion is morally wrong in nearly all (24%) or some (49%) circumstances.” We find hope for reform in this common concern.
    We recognize that well-intentioned Americans have debated for many years whether and in what circumstances abortion should be legal. Americans remain passionately divided on this subject. The NAE actively, ardently and unwaveringly opposes abortion on demand. However, we do not dismiss those who advocate for legal access to abortion as unconcerned for human life or unworthy of our respect and attention. Lack of civility and charity toward our neighbor is also unacceptable (Mark 12:31).
  • We understand that the problem of abortion is interconnected with other challenges in our soci-ety. Given the generative nature of human sexuality, we recognize an inherent link between re-spect for God’s gift of sex and respect for God’s gift of life. Sex is a precious gift from God in-tended for a man and a woman to consummate marriage, procreate, express love and experience pleasure within an exclusive covenantal relationship. The Church is called to teach and model the blessings of sexual purity and to uphold marriage and the family, society’s fundamental building blocks.
  • We are grateful for those already working in ministries supporting children and youth, pregnan-cy care, adoption, single parents and parents of children with special needs, poverty relief, bibli-cally sound family planning, sexual purity and accountability, and marriage strengthening. Each of these ministries can contribute to reducing the number of abortions.

“Abortion and the Catholic Church: A Summary History”, (1-1-1967)[edit]

John T. Noonan Jr., [https://scholarship.law.nd.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1125&context=nd_naturallaw_forum “Abortion and the Catholic Church: A Summary History”, 1-1-1967, Natural Law Forum. Paper 126

  • Abortion, indeed, according to contemporary observers, was practiced very generally in the Greco-Roman world. The divided opinions of a few sages scarcely checked the powerful personal motives which made it attractive. The law of the empire punished abortion committed without the father's consent. It also punished the giving of drugs for abortion," but it is unlikely that the law was enforced unless the recipient died. The object of the law was not to protect the embryo as a human person, for it was regarded as part of the mother.' The purpose was to restrain "bad example," i.e., the bad example of giving magical potions which could cause death to the recipient. As pagan observations and Christian complaints indicated, parents' freedom to dispose of their young offspring was taken for granted by the empire. That the Jews should have children born after their fathers' wills had been made, when heirs were no longer desired by the parents, was a cause for wonder to Tacitus. The Roman upper classes diminished during the empire; the decline was probably due, in good part, to the practice of contraception and abortion.
    It was in this culture generally distinguished by its indifference to fetal and early life that the Christian teaching developed; it was in opposition and conflict with the values reflected in popular behavior that the Christian word was enunciated. Where some wise men had raised voices in defense of early life so that the question was in the air and yet not authoritatively decided, where even the wisest presented hesitant and divided counsel, where other authorities defended abortion, the Christians purposed a rule which was certain, comprehensive, and absolute.
    • pp.88-89
  • The specific Christian teaching on abortion developed in a theological context in which the commands of the Old Testament to love God with all your heart (Deuteronomy 6.5) and to love your neighbor as yourself (Leviticus 19.18) were singled out as the two great commandments on which depended" the whole law and the prophets" (Matthew 22.40). The standard for fulfillment of these commandments was set in terms of the sacrifice of one man's life for another (John 15.13) and embodied in the self-sacrifice of Jesus. Jesus told the disciples, "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you" (John 15.32). In terms of his example, the commandment was "a new commandment" (John 13.34). The Christian valuation of life was made in view of this commandment of love.
    • p.89
  • That abortion could have been specifically in the mind of the authors of Galatians and the Apocalypse, and that it was specifically dealt with by the early Christian communities, is established by several contemporary writings. The most important is the Didache, or Teaching of the Twelve Apostles. This ancient and authoritative statement of Christian principles in Syria was composed no later than 100 A.D. and may well have been written much earlier. Here a list of precepts, was given for the instruction of the Christian:
    You shall not kill. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not corrupt boys. You shall not fornicate. You shall not steal. You shall not make magic. You shall not practice medicine (pharmakeia). You shall not slay the child by abortions (phthora). You shall not kill what is generated. You shall not desire your neighbor's wife. Didache 2.2.
    • pp.90-91
  • In addition to its expression in formal moral teaching and apologias to the gentiles, the Christian belief was expressed in the course of controversy within the Church. Abortion was a serious charge in ecclesiastical disputes. When the ex-slave Calixtus, bishop of Rome, permitted Christian women to marry their slaves though the marriages were unrecognized by Roman law, some women did not want to draw attention to their union, and used drugs to produce sterility or "bound themselves tightly to expel a fetus already engendered." According to Calixtus' critic and bitter rival, Hippolytus, this conduct was homicide, and Calixtus was responsible for encouraging it. When Novatian broke from Rome because its bishop accepted the repentance of apostates, his foe Cyprian wrote of him that he was himself guilty of serious sin: he had struck his pregnant wife to cause an abortion. He has "committed parricide"; "he has killed a son who was being born." A lawyer like Minucius, Cyprian used the legal term, parricide. The charge of a crime inexpiable in life was no doubt especially effective against a man who denied others an opportunity to repent.
    • pp.93-94
  • As the Church emerged as a legal religion and a social force in the fourth century, the sentiments on abortion so uniformly expressed in the first two centuries of Christian life took the form of legislation. There already existed a rule excluding from the Church for life women who conceived in fornication and committed an abortion. The Council of Ancyra in 314, a gathering of a dozen Eastern bishops representing Syria and Asia Minor, denounced such women, who "slay what is generated and work to destroy it with abortifacients"; but "more humanely" the Council reduced their penance to ten years. The Council retained the life penance for voluntary homicide, so that the reduction marked a recognition of mitigating circumstances in the character of the crime, while its gravity was indicated by the still severe penalty imposed. In the West, in some contrast, the movement was toward greater sanctions. At Elvira on the Iberian peninsula, a council held in 305 ex-communicated women committing abortion after adultery and declared that they were not to be readmitted even at the point of death.
    These laws, like the earlier condemnations, made no distinction between the formed and unformed fetus. In the course of the fourth century this distinction, based for Christians on the Septuagint translation of Exodus 21.22, became a focus for analysis.
    • p.94
  • By 450 the teaching on abortion East and West had been set out for four centuries with clarity and substantial consistency. There was a distinction accepted by some as to the unformed embryo, some consequent variation in the analysis of the sin, and local differences in the penance necessary to expiate it. The sin itself was often associated with lechery, sometimes with marriage. The usual method of accomplishing it was by drugs, sometimes associated with magic, sometimes with danger to the user. The motive animating it was seen variously as shame, as avarice, as lust. Although therapeutic and social reasons for abortion were known from the best of doctors and philosophers, these reasons were never mentioned as justification. All the writers agreed that abortion was a violation of the love owed to one's neighbor. Some saw it as a special failure of maternal love. Many saw it also as a failure to have reverence for the work of God the creator. The culture had accepted abortion. The Christians, men of this Greco-Roman world and the Gospel, condemned it. Ancient authorities and contemporary moralists had approved, hesitated, made exceptions; the Christian rule was certain.
    • p.97
  • IN THE period from 450 to 1100, when monks and bishops were the chief transmitters of Christian moral ideas, the teaching on abortion was reiterated. It was conveyed by enactments against abortion by local synods. It was conveyed by collections which contained the canons of Elvira or the canons of the more prestigious council of Ancyra. By the eighth century Ancyra was the law of the Frankish kingdom of Charlemagne. It was conveyed by collections which contained St. Jerome on homicide by abortifacients. The penitentials developed by the monks for use in hearing confession regularly prescribed specific penances for abortion, ranging from one to ten years for the killing of an embryo.48 When interrogatories for use in questioning penitents were devised in the tenth century, questions on abortion were included. The early Christian and patristic attitudes were faithfully preserved in the various channels communicating the teaching of past authority and instilling its observance.
    • p.97-98
  • In the great formative period of Western canon law between 1140 and1240, and in the course of the contemporary conflict with the Cathars, who opposed all procreation, Augustine on abortion was incorporated in the basic collection of canons made by Gratian. There, in a section devoted to marriage, appeared the Augustinian denunciation of the lustful cruelty of the married who procured abortions. It was now the canon Aliquando. Until the new Code of Canon Law in 1917 this text was to instruct all students of the canon law. It was supplemented by Gratian's answer to a question he himself proposed, "Are those who procure an abortion homicides or not?" The answer was supplied by Jerome to Algasia and Augustine on Exodus, quoted earlier, plus a spurious quotation from Augustine which taught expressly that there was "no soul before the form.' Clearly, in Gratian, abortion was homicide only when the fetus was formed.
    The distinction was reaffirmed in slightly different language by Innocent III. A priest incurred "irregularity," i.e., he was suspended from his functions, if he committed homicide. The case was put of a Carthusian monk who in playing had accidentally caused his mistress to abort. Was he irregular? Innocent III held that he was, if the fetus was "vivified." The decretal entered the universal law of the-Church in the decretal collection of Gregory IX as the canon Sicut ex in the comprehensive section entitled, "Voluntary and Chance Homicide." "Vivified" was treated as the equivalent of "ensouled,"and the decretal was seen as implying that homicide occurred only after ensoulment had taken place according to the texts furnished by Gratian.
    At the same time the decretals of Gregory IX provided a new canon, ‘’Si aliquis’’, derived from a tenth-century penitential of Regino of Priim. Si aliquis declared:
    If anyone for the sake of fulfilling lust or in meditated hatred does something to a man or a woman, or gives them to drink, so that he cannot generate, or she conceive, or offspring be born, let it be held as homicide.
    The canon thus applied the penalty for homicide to contraception and to abortion at any stage of fetal life.
    • pp.99-100
  • The concern with the sanctions for abortion was not a mere academic exercise. A wide variety of techniques for abortion was provided to medieval physicians and students by the Canon of Medicine of Avicenna, translated from Arabic to Latin by Gerard of Cremona about 1150 and thereafter until the middle of the seventeenth century the standard text of European medical schools. Avicenna taught that abortion might sometimes be necessary where birth would endanger the life of the mother. For such cases he set out a list of measures. They included exercise, the carrying of heavy weights, the evacuation of the humors, the insertion by instrument in the matrix of drugs to kill the fetus, and the drinking of various drugs in potions. Baths, excessive exercise, and violent jumping were also observed to be causes of abortion. Abortion was said to be most likely at the beginning and near the approach of birth. A number of the means described were doubtless effective to accomplish their objective. The information about them was communicated by the wide distribution of the Canon of Medicine itself and by books deriving their information from it. St. Albert the Great, for example, in his encyclopedic work on plants described the abortifacient properties of several vegetables; writing on animals he tells how to accomplish an abortion. His principal source was Avicenna.
    • p.100
  • For those who gave more weight to the express canonical texts on ensoulment a different approach to early abortion was necessary. In the standard text of the schools, the Sentences of Peter Lombard, the texts chosen by Gratian were repeated. As in Gratian's framework, Aliquando formed a central passage in the analysis of the purposes of marriage. The pseudo-Augustinean citation on ensoulment in Gratian was confidently repeated to show that the soul was not inserted until the body was formed. Peter Lombard himself observed, "From this it appears that they are homicides who procure an abortion when the fetus is ensouled." The implication left by the Sentences from the use of Aliquando was that before ensoulment abortion was a sin against marriage. This judgment was explicitly made by St. Alberts speaking of use of "the poisons of sterility," the generic term for both contraceptives and abortifacients. In his youthful commentary on the Sentences, St. Thomas Aquinas treated the use of these drugs as a sin "against nature because even the beasts look for offspring." He did not repeat this analysis again, and it was not in harmony with his later treatment of sins against nature as sins preventing insemination in intercourse. He was clear that there was actual homicide when an ensouled embryo was killed. He was equally clear that ensoulment did not take place at conception. There was sin, but not the sin of destroying a man in destroying the conceptus in its early stage, for "seed and what is not seed is determined by sensation and movement"; this phrase seems to mean that, at the early stage, seed is being destroyed, not man. The result was that there was a period of fetal existence where Thomas's later writing did not specify the offense involved in fetal destruction yet where, according to his clear opposition to contraception, he believed a sin was being committed. It was, however, according to both Albert and Thomas, mortal sin to have intercourse in pregnancy with the risk of abortion. More-over, both accepted Avicenna's opinion that such risk was especially acute at the beginning.77 Hence, even for the early state of pregnancy, they held the life of the fetus more valuable than the obligation of the marital debt.
    • pp.101-102
  • As for deliberate abortion, Thomas considered only one case where justification was alleged, but it was the case with the greatest appeal in a theologically-oriented society: the case of abortion for the child's own good, abortion to baptize the child. In medieval society this case had the appeal of abortion of a defective child in a modem society. In the medieval case it would have been to prevent the child from suffering eternal loss of happiness, as in the modern case it would be to prevent the child from suffering the loss of secular happiness. Why not "split the mother" and extract the fetus, so that, baptized, he "may be freed from eternal death"? To this appeal Thomas replied,
    Evils are not to be done that good may come from them, Romans 3; and therefore a man ought rather to let the infant perish than that he himself perish, committing the criminal sin of homicide in the mother.
    The text cited from St. Paul was in itself not decisive; the reference was to a rejection by Paul of his opponents' charge that "we do evil that good may come" (Romans 3.8). What was decisive was the perception that God's providence could not be anticipated by a paternalism which would have permitted man to act as God in determining human life and assuring its salvation.
    • p.102
  • The case of abortion for the child's own good was rejected. What of abortion to save the mother? Thomas did not face the case expressly, but he posed broader principles of relevance; and, as the case itself was known as a medical problem from Avicenna, it cannot be supposed that he was unaware of the relation of the principles to therapeutic abortion. The question was put, "Is it lawful for someone to kill someone in defending himself?" The case posed was not, as many later interpreters would have it, a case of unjust aggression. When Thomas wanted to characterize the one being killed he used the terms "sinner" and "innocent." Here the one killed was merely "someone." His answer to the question was, "If someone kills someone in defense of his own life, he will not be guilty of homicide." The conclusion was based on the principle that "nothing prevents there being two effects of a single act." One effect could be "in intention," the other" beyond intention"; and by intention Thomas meant- the mental state of the person killing, for the act itself had as finis operis the double end of preservation of life and the killing of another. The act was lawful, because "what was intended was the preservation of one's own life." This intention was not sinful, for it is "natural to everyone to preserve himself as far as he can." The 'justification was necessity. Fornication, for example, was a lesser sin, but was al-ways mortal, for "it is not ordered to the preservation of one's own life from necessity like the act from which homicide sometimes follows." Put another way, every lie is a sin, and homicide is a worse sin than lying; yet, unlike lying, homicide can sometimes be lawfully done "as when a judge kills a thief. "Hence one can say, "Homicide imports not the killing of a man"; it imports "the undue killing of a man." You can then conclude, "Homicide is never lawful, although it is sometimes lawful to kill a man.”
    • pp. 102-103
  • The work of St. Antoninus of Florence may be taken to mark the beginning of a new era of thought on abortion, for he brought into the main line of moral theology an opinion of an obscure thirteenth-century theologian in favor of abortion to save the mother. His author is another Dominican from Thomas' country, John of Naples, in 1315 teacher at Paris, later holder of a chair of theology at Naples. John based his position on the distinction between the ensouled and unensouled fetus in addressing himself to the duty of the physician. A doctor sinned in giving medicine to cause an abortion "to preserve a pregnant woman" when the fetus was ensouled, for, when "one cannot help one without hurting the other, it is more appropriate to help neither." But if the fetus was not ensouled, then the physician "ought to give such medicine," because "although he impedes the ensoulment of a future fetus, he will not be the cause of death of any man."
    • p.104

"Catholics for Choice and Abortion: Pro-choice Catholicism 101" (Spring 2008)[edit]

O'Brien, Jon; Morello, Sara (Spring 2008). "Catholics for Choice and Abortion: Pro-choice Catholicism 101". Perspectives: Catholic. Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. Archived from the original on June 11, 2011. Retrieved April 19, 2011.

  • Although the Catholic hierarchy says that the prohibition on abortion is both “unchanged” and “unchangeable,” this does not comport with the actual history of abortion teaching, and dissent, within the church.
    The Catechism contains only six paragraphs on abortion. This brief section starts: “Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable.”
    While the Catholic church has long taught that abortion is a sin, the reasons for judging abortion sinful have changed over time. In fact, through most of history the church did not pay much attention to abortion except as a sexual issue. The early prohibition of abortion was not based on concern about the fetus. It was based on a view that only people who engage in forbidden sexual activity would attempt abortion and that abortion is wrong from either an ontological perspective or from a negative judgment about sexuality and sexual behavior, known as the perversity view. “The ontological view is that the human fetus is a person from the earliest moments of conception, hence to abort it is either murder or something closely approximating murder; the perversity view is that sex is only licit within marriage and for the primary purpose of having children, hence abortion perverts sex and is immoral in the same way that contraception is immoral” (A Brief, Liberal Catholic Defense of Abortion, University of Illinois Press, 2000).
    The perversity view is no longer much argued explicitly in the Catholic church, though it underlies many of the hierarchy’s arguments. Many church officials and antichoice Catholics now focus on the ontological view, which argues that the fetus is a person from the moment of conception. This view, however, is based on faulty science, dating from the 17th century, when scientists, looking at fertilized eggs through magnifying glasses and primitive microscopes, imagined that they saw tiny, fully formed animal fetuses.
  • Before the encyclical Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life) was published in 1995, there was speculation among theologians and others that Pope John Paul II would assert the infallibility of the teaching on abortion. Then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the Vatican’s chief doctrinal officer, confirmed that the word infallible had been considered in early drafts but was rejected. Ratzinger explained that while the teaching on abortion is authoritative and deserves obedience, the encyclical stopped short of the “formality of dogmatization” (National Catholic Reporter, April 7, 1995).
  • There is a diversity of opinion among leading theologians on the Vatican’s teaching on abortion. As long ago as 1973, noted Catholic theologian Charles Curran wrote in the Jurist that “there is a sizable and growing number of Catholic theologians who do disagree with some aspects of the officially proposed Catholic teaching that direct abortion from the time of conception is always wrong.”
  • Many of the hierarchy’s teachings on reproductive health and rights have not been received by the faithful. Rather, Catholics all over the world have soundly rejected the church’s ban on contraception and in many countries only a minority of Catholics agree with church leaders on abortion.
    Barely a fifth (22%) of Catholics in the U.S. agree with the bishops that abortion should be completely illegal, and Catholic women in the U.S. have abortions at the same rate as women in the population as a whole. Majorities of Catholics in Bolivia (66%), Colombia (54%) and Mexico (69%) feel abortion should be permitted under some or all circumstances. In Italy, which is 97% Catholic, 74% favor the use of RU-486 (a drug used instead of surgical methods in some early abortions).
  • Church teachings, tradition and core Catholic tenets—including the primacy of conscience, the role of the faithful in defining legitimate laws and norms, and support for the separation of church and state—leave room for supporting a more liberal position on abortion. The church has acknowledged that it does not know when the fetus becomes a person and has never declared its position on abortion to be infallible. Catholics can, in good conscience, support access to abortion and affirm that abortion can be a moral choice. Indeed, many of us do.

“The Church and abortion: a Catholic dissent” (30 September 2010)[edit]

O'Brien, George Dennis (30 September 2010). “The Church and abortion: a Catholic dissent”. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 978-1-4422-0577-2. Retrieved 5 January 2012.

  • I think that there are legitimate reasons why one might vote for someone who is not where the Church is on abortion, but it would have to be a reason you could confidently explain to Jesus and the victims of abortion when you meet them at Judgment.”
    • Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver; as qtd. in p.2
  • The bishops urge an end to abortion-they urge it with passion-but they have been either unable or unwilling to examine the means by which this end might be accomplished. Means have to be “realistic.” I will not become a pianist by buying sheer music. If the aim is to prohibit or severely restrict abortions, what means would be truly effective? Failure to consider what really works has had many negative results, the least of which is that Catholics have been led on a fantasy crusade. Worse-the anti-abortion effort has caused a serious distortion of American political life. Worse yet-pushing abortion to the fore as ‘’the’’ Catholic’’ issue distorts the broader Catholic social agenda. Though the USCCB continues to promote concerns about war and peace, universal health insurance, and the like, the attention of the media and the extreme statements of prominent bishops inevitably lead to the conclusion that Archbishop Chaput is correct: abortion is the foundational issue. Worst of all-creating the impression that opposition to abortion is foundational distorts the Christian message.
    • p.4
  • Since bishops claim that their pro-life stance is profoundly Christian, you would think that some attention might be paid to other Christian churches that beg to differ on the blanket condemnation of abortion. The American Baptist Churches USA, Episcopal Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, the Presbyterian church (USA), and United Church of Christ allow abortion under certain conditions. It hardly seems Christian to utterly ignore the considered view of those who disagree, particularly other Christian communities. If it were as clear as the bishops claim that abortion is “murdering babies,” the only conclusion one could possibly draw is that these other Christian voices are incredibly stupid, delusional or demonic.
    • pp.8-9

“Filled with spirit and power: Protestant clergy in politics” (1 June 2000)[edit]

Olson, Laura R. (1 June 2000). “Filled with spirit and power: Protestant clergy in politics” SUNY Press. p. 83. ISBN 978-0-7914-4589-1. Retrieved 6 January 2012. P.83

  • Given that people who attend church frequently have been found to oppose abortion more adamantly than people who worship less frequently, it is reasonable to expect that anti-abortion clergy may play an important role in shaping their congregations’ attitudes about abortion. Indeed, the argument has been made that “Churches are convincing people that human life begins at conception . . . and this belief influences abortion decisions independent of ideological beliefs.” But is this true in all churches? A major study of public opinion about abortion revealed that conservative Protestants are overwhelmingly pro-life, while mainline Protestants are more sympathetic to a pro-choice position. Also, compared with their white counterparts, African American Protestants possess very strong pro-life attitudes.
    • p.83
  • Of course some pastors qualified their opposition to abortion situationally. As one argued, “I think that in general abortion is wrong. I believe it is taking human life. But I see where there are certain circumstances, where it is acceptable as the lesser of two evils . . . . I mean when the mother’s life is in actual danger . . . [or[ if they’re able to demonstrate that the baby has no brain” (M3). He continued by pointing out that “the problem with my argument [is that] less than 3 percent of all abortions would be acceptable, and that’s based on Planned Parenthood’s own figures” (M3). Others cited cases of rape and incest or suggested that abortion should be used “”only as a last resort” (A13).
    A casual observer might expect clergy to express uniformly pro-life views. Indeed, much media coverage of clergy who are involved in some way with the struggle over abortion often portrays them as violently opposed to it. While the pro-life position was certainly well represented among the pastors I interviewed, there was also some support for view that woman should have the right to choose an abortion.
    • p.86
  • Criticisms of policy were not limited to abortion opponents; two pro-choice clergy also raised objections about inconsistencies they perceived. One wondered why “some of the same people that would say we need to have legislation to make abortion absolutely illegal would at the same time say we need to build bigger bombs . . . and cut off women and children who need aid” (M13). In a similar vein of thought the other pastor asked “if the government is going to say you have to have this child, if we’re not going to pay for the poor women’s abortions, are they going to help raise that child” (M16)?
    A few of the pastors felt that abortion was not a political issue at all. “At this church we do not see [abortion] as a political issue we see it as a moral issue” (E6). Some pastors asserted that government has no business at all in this policy area. One pointed out that “spiritual revival, not government, is the answer. Politicians haven’t made much of a change despite many years of pro-life presidents” (E1). In practice, of course, it would take much more than a “pro-life president” to outlaw abortion, but that was not this pastor’s point. While some pastors said abortion should not be regulated, others argued that this lack of regulation has defacto moral implications that have the effect of law. “You cannot say you don’t legislate morality. You do legislate morality, and what does that do, it affects your ethics, it affects your economics, it affects everything” (E5).
    • p.90

”Evangelium vitae”, (March 25, 1995)[edit]

John Paul II, “Evangelium vitae”, (March 25, 1995); Archived October 27, 2014, at the Wayback Machine

  • In order to facilitate the spread of abortion, enormous sums of money have been invested and continue to be invested in the production of pharmaceutical products which make it possible to kill the fetus in the mother's womb without recourse to medical assistance. On this point, scientific research itself seems to be almost exclusively preoccupied with developing products which are ever more simple and effective in suppressing life and which at the same time are capable of removing abortion from any kind of control or social responsibility.
    • 13
  • The texts of Sacred Scripture never address the question of deliberate abortion and so do not directly and specifically condemn it. But they show such great respect for the human being in the mother's womb that they require as a logical consequence that God's commandment "You shall not kill" be extended to the unborn child as well.
    • 61
  • Christian Tradition-as the Declaration issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith points out so well61-is clear and unanimous, from the beginning up to our own day, in describing abortion as a particularly grave moral disorder. From its first contacts with the Greco-Roman world, where abortion and infanticide were widely practised, the first Christian community, by its teaching and practice, radically opposed the customs rampant in that society, as is clearly shown by the Didache mentioned earlier. 62 Among the Greek ecclesiastical writers, Athenagoras records that Christians consider as murderesses women who have recourse to abortifacient medicines, because children, even if they are still in their mother's womb, "are already under the protection of Divine Providence". Among the Latin authors, Tertullian affirms: "It is anticipated murder to prevent someone from being born; it makes little difference whether one kills a soul already born or puts it to death at birth. He who will one day be a man is a man already".
    Throughout Christianity's two thousand year history, this same doctrine has been constantly taught by the Fathers of the Church and by her Pastors and Doctors. Even scientific and philosophical discussions about the precise moment of the infusion of the spiritual soul have never given rise to any hesitation about the moral condemnation of abortion.
    • 61
  • The more recent Papal Magisterium has vigorously reaffirmed this common doctrine. Pius XI in particular, in his Encyclical Casti Connubii, rejected the specious justifications of abortion. 65 Pius XII excluded all direct abortion, i.e., every act tending directly to destroy human life in the womb "whether such destruction is intended as an end or only as a means to an end".66 John XXIII reaffirmed that human life is sacred because "from its very beginning it directly involves God's creative activity".67 The Second Vatican Council, as mentioned earlier, sternly condemned abortion: "From the moment of its conception life must be guarded with the greatest care, while abortion and infanticide are unspeakable crimes".68
    The Church's canonical discipline, from the earliest centuries, has inflicted penal sanctions on those guilty of abortion. This practice, with more or less severe penalties, has been confirmed in various periods of history. The 1917 Code of Canon Law punished abortion with excommunication. 69 The revised canonical legislation continues this tradition when it decrees that "a person who actually procures an abortion incurs automatic (latae sententiae) excommunication". The excommunication affects all those who commit this crime with knowledge of the penalty attached, and thus includes those accomplices without whose help the crime would not have been committed. 71 By this reiterated sanction, the Church makes clear that abortion is a most serious and dangerous crime, thereby encouraging those who commit it to seek without delay the path of conversion. In the Church the purpose of the penalty of excommunication is to make an individual fully aware of the gravity of a certain sin and then to foster genuine conversion and repentance.
    Given such unanimity in the doctrinal and disciplinary tradition of the Church, Paul VI was able to declare that this tradition is unchanged and unchangeable. 72 Therefore, by the authority which Christ conferred upon Peter and his Successors, in communion with the Bishops-who on various occasions have condemned abortion and who in the aforementioned consultation, albeit dispersed throughout the world, have shown unanimous agreement concerning this doctrine-I declare that direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, always constitutes a grave moral disorder, since it is the deliberate killing of an innocent human being. This doctrine is based upon the natural law and upon the written Word of God, is transmitted by the Church's Tradition and taught by the ordinary and universal Magisterium. 73
    • 62
  • I would now like to say a special word to women who have had an abortion. The Church is aware of the many factors which may have influenced your decision, and she does not doubt that in many cases it was a painful and even shattering decision. The wound in your heart may not yet have healed. Certainly what happened was and remains terribly wrong. But do not give in to discouragement and do not lose hope. Try rather to understand what happened and face it honestly. If you have not already done so, give yourselves over with humility and trust to repentance. The Father of mercies is ready to give you his forgiveness and his peace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
    • 99

"Religious Groups Official Positions on Abortion" (September 30, 2008)[edit]

ANALYSIS. "Religious Groups Official Positions on Abortion". Pewforum.org. (September 30, 2008).

  • Recognizing the different views on abortion among its members, the American Baptist Churches’ General Board encourages women and couples considering the procedure “to seek spiritual counsel as they prayerfully and conscientiously consider their decision.” Though the board opposes abortion “as a primary means of birth control,” it does not condemn abortion outright.
  • In accordance with its widely publicized anti-abortion teachings, the Catholic Church opposes abortion in all circumstances and often leads the national debate on abortion.
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches that “elective abortion for personal or social convenience is contrary to the will and the commandments of God.” Therefore, the church says, any facilitation of or support for this kind of abortion warrants excommunication from the church. However, the church believes that certain circumstances can justify abortion, such as a pregnancy that threatens the life of the mother or that has come about as the result of rape or incest.
  • While the Episcopal Church recognizes a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy, the church condones abortion only in cases of rape or incest, cases in which a mother’s physical or mental health is at risk, or cases involving fetal abnormalities. The church forbids “abortion as a means of birth control, family planning, sex selection or any reason of mere convenience.”
  • The official position of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America states that “abortion prior to viability [of a fetus] should not be prohibited by law or by lack of public funding” but that abortion after the point of fetal viability should be prohibited except when the life of a mother is threatened or when fetal abnormalities pose a fatal threat to a newborn.
  • The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod states that “[s]ince abortion takes a human life, it is not a moral option except to prevent the death of … the mother.”
  • The National Association of Evangelicals has passed a number of resolutions (most recently in 2010) stating its opposition to abortion. However, the organization recognizes that there might be situations in which terminating a pregnancy is warranted – such as protecting the life of a mother or in cases of rape or incest.
  • Because of the diverse theological teachings of its member churches, the National Council of Churches does not have an official position on abortion. The NCC instead seeks to provide a space where members can come together and exchange views.
  • In 2006, the Presbyterian Church’s national governing body, the General Assembly, reaffirmed its belief that the termination of a pregnancy is a personal decision. While the church disapproves of abortion as a means of birth control or as a method of convenience, it seeks “to maintain within its fellowship those who, on the basis of a study of Scripture and prayerful decision, come to diverse conclusions and actions” on the issue.
  • In a 1996 resolution on partial-birth abortion, the Southern Baptist Convention reaffirmed its opposition to abortion, stating that “all human life is a sacred gift from our sovereign God and therefore … all abortions, except in those very rare cases where the life of the mother is clearly in danger, are wrong.”
  • Beginning in 1963, the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations passed a series of resolutions to support “the right to choose contraception and abortion as a legitimate expression of our constitutional rights.”
  • The United Church of Christ is a firm advocate of reproductive rights, including the right to a safe abortion.
  • While the United Methodist Church opposes abortion, it affirms that it is “equally bound to respect the sacredness of the life and well-being of the mother and the unborn child.” The church sanctions “the legal option of abortion under proper medical procedures” but rejects abortion as a method of gender selection or birth control and stresses that those considering abortions should prayerfully seek guidance from their doctors, families and ministers.

“The Covenant of Life and the Caring Community and Covenant and Creation: Theological reflections on Contraception and Abortion” (1983)[edit]

“The Covenant of Life and the Caring Community and Covenant and Creation: Theological reflections on Contraception and Abortion”, The 195th General Assembly (1983)

  • “We are deeply aware of the concern and pain in the church as expressed in the many overtures from presbyteries which deal with the question of abortion. We are disturbed by abortion which seems to be elected only as a convenience or to ease embarrassment. We affirm that abortion should not be used as a method of birth control.”
  • We are not yet home, but we are going home. Going home to that homecoming banquet where elder brother and prodigal son . . . exile and stranger, man and woman, white and black, East and West, Arab and Jew, poor and rich, lion and lamb will sit down together in peace ... As in the Nicene Creed, “ I look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Yes, I look and keep on looking, and sometimes I think I glimpse it from afar....” (Robert Raines, Going Home.)
    There is a part of each of us that has an eye on the homeward journey. We are making that journey together, not always speaking of it, but always moving toward that time when we shall all be made whole and when the human family, the covenant community, will become whole and perfect.
    It is this yearning toward whole-ness, part of which is the need to be relieved of suffering, that has stimulated the revolution in medicine that has occurred during the last thirty years. It is this same yearning that leads us to reflect upon and question the use of those advances. Within the memory of most adults, organ transplants, open heart surgery, and prenatal diagnosis of genetic disease have become everyday occurrences. We can scarcely imagine the new frontiers and the new heroes of the next few years. As new options are offered in the realm of health and new possibilities found for the quality of both living and dying, no one can remain detached from the discussion of the meaning of these developments. They speak to us about our dreams of being healed.
    • p.1
  • The 191st General Assembly (1979) requested the Advisory Council on Church and Society to study the implications of genetic research and human engineering. The ad-visory council appointed a task force that prepared a resource issue of Church and Society magazine entitled “Genetics, Health and Personhood” (Sept.−Oct. 1982). Through its work, the advisory council now submits a report with a policy statement and recommendations entitled “The Covenant of Life and the Caring Community.” The report seeks to identify and provide a context of theological and ethical interpretation for the personal and social decisions that recent advances in medicine make both possible and necessary, particularly at the beginning and end of life. It also identifies the impact of these advances in health care needs and the system for responding to them.
    • p.1
  • Several General Assemblies in recent years have briefly considered issues related to abortion and the church’s attitude and policy in regard to it. In response to one such request in 1981, the Advisory Council on Church and Society agreed to a full policy review of these concerns, which had not been analyzed in a major way since the early 1970’s. The General Assembly, by referring several overtures to the advisory council, suggested that such a review link the “dual affirmation of the freedom of conscience and the sacredness of life.”
    • pp.1-2
  • Central to the Reformed understanding of faith and obedience is that they are ever becoming new, reforming, rather than reformed and finished, under the Word of God. Recent advances in biomedicine have pushed Christians to seek anew the basis for faithful response to basic issues of life. Throughout history, it could be argued, ques-tions of the meaning of human life have been raised with each biomedical advance; but these recent developments are perhaps the most disturbing in the history of medi-cine, for they go to the heart of the definition of life and the nature and limits of our responsibility for it and they come at a time of deep politicization within the church as well as society over many of the issues. Moreover, even while definitions are still in flux and no societal consensus has been reached, persons of faith are forced to act on these hard issues regarding their own health care and that of ones they love. This pa-per, thus, is offered as an attempt to enter the dialogue from a reforming theological perspective and to be of service to the pastoral needs of the Presbyterian family of faith.
    • p.3
  • The World Council of Churches has been monitoring genetic research for a number of years. The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. (NCCCUSA) during the lifetime of this task force’s work, created a Panel on Bio-ethical Concerns, which has distributed a paper for study throughout the Protestant communions in the United States. The NCCCUSA also prepared one of the first church study resources on the ethical dilemmas raised by amniocentesis and fetal diagnosis. Several denominations have done work in this area in recent years. Most recently the United Church of Christ completed a book, Genetics, Ethics and Parenthood, which deals, at much greater length, in much more depth than this paper can, with the is-sues of genetics and new means of procreation.
    • p.3

=== "The "Chicago Method": Sidewalk Counseling that appeals to the Mother's concerns for her own well-being" (November 5, 2008) === "The "Chicago Method": Sidewalk Counseling that appeals to the Mother's concerns for her own well-being", Priests for Life. November 05, 2008

  • When you approach the pregnant woman and her escort, say, "Excuse me. Are you going to the medical center here? Did you know about the medical malpractice lawsuits against this place?"
    Give the pregnant woman and her escort factual information about the specific abortuary they are about to enter. Repeat this information until it produces the desired effect of disturbing them. Develop visual aids, such as a sheet that summarizes the malpractice lawsuits against the mill, especially the abortion-related lawsuits. Newspaper articles about scandalous conditions in the abortion mill are also helpful.
    After a minute or two, when the potential abortion client is sufficiently and justifiably disturbed by negative factual information about the abortion clinic, give her literature about an alternative center where she can go immediately for a free pregnancy test and counseling help.
    The pregnancy help agencies used in conjunction with this method will ideally have a neutral-sounding name like "Women's Aid Center." It's purpose is to attract and help women who are undecided about abortion or who think they need abortion.
    You might mention that the alternative center is a non-profit group concerned with women's health and safety, that it has no malpractice lawsuits against it, and that its services are free. Encourage her to go there immediately. You might even offer to escort her there.
  • In situations where there is no pregnancy help agency available, use the same technique to draw women to a nearby restaurant or coffee shop for more extensive counseling.
    It is absolutely vital to the success of the technique that you not disclose that you are an anti-abortionist or that the agency you are taking your clients to will not give them an abortion or a referral. You need not lie to accomplish this. Just reveal as much of the truth as you need to and no more.
    It is important to meet potential turnaways as far away from the abortuary door as possible. Walk up the sidewalk or street to meet them whenever you can. The closer the pregnant woman gets to the abortuary door the greater the temptation is for her to rush past you and go in. This is especially true if she is being led in by a deathscort or boyfriend.
  • If a woman refuses to stop and listen to you, say something like "That place has many lawsuits against it, Miss. We're trying to warn people about it." Sometimes this warning will make her curious enough to come out after thinking things over.
    The "Don't kill your baby!" approach often makes future communication difficult. Remember that at a busy abortion mill women may go in and out of the building several times before having their abortions. They are more likely to come out if you are not picketing or waving pro-life literature at them, telling them not to kill their baby. Picketing and last effort tactics have their place, but usually not in conjunction with this counseling technique.
    If a woman asks you whether the alternative center does abortions, say something like "They'll give you all the help you need. They give abortion information and confidential medical referrals. They'll be glad to talk to you about it, and their services are free." This is precisely the truth.
    Do your best to change the subject by telling her how to get to the alternative center. It is helpful to have professionally printed cards from the pregnancy center that relates general facts, such as that no appointment is needed for free confidential pregnancy tests, and that gives directions, and hours. Let the prospective turnaways find out for themselves that the pregnancy help center is in the business of saving lives and not destroying them.
    Two counselors is the optimum number for effectively counseling one pregnant woman. Large groups tend to intimidate her.
    You should escort the turnaway to the pregnancy help center if possible. She may need your support at this point until she can talk with the counselor at the center. The pro-life escort should preferably be a woman, since most turnaways will feel more comfortable going into a strange building escorted by a woman.
    Do not take too much time with each client, The quicker the turnaway the better. The average time for this method is two minutes from initial contact to the escort phase. This will free you up to talk to other women going to the clinic.

"Current beliefs by various religious and secular groups"[edit]

Religious Tolerance [www.religioustolerance.org/abo_hist1.htm "Current beliefs by various religious and secular groups"]

  • Liberal and some mainline denominations: In general, these either promote a woman’s right to choose an abortion, or are relatively silent on the matter. A number of liberal and mainline Christian and Jewish faith groups and organizations have publicly state that abortions are sometimes an acceptable option, and should remain legal.
  • There are approximately 1,000 denominations in North America who take a pro-life stand and oppose abortion access. The largest of these are::
    The Roman Catholic Church, the largest Christian group in the world with about one billion members. They teach that abortions are a form of murder, no matter what the situation or conditions leading up to the pregnancy. The only exception is when a medical procedure needed that has the death of the embryo or fetus as an undesired and unintended side effect. Contrary to the historical record, the church also teaches that is current position has remained unchanged from the beginning of Christianity.
    The Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination in the U.S., also opposes elective abortions.
  • An exception among conservative Christian groups is the Seventh Day Adventist Church. They are pro-choice to the extent that they believe that “the final decision whether to terminate the pregnancy or not should be made by the pregnant woman after appropriate consultation.” However, they do not condone abortions “…for reasons of birth control, gender selection, or convenience…” they recognize that abortion can be a legitimate option for some women who “face exceptional circumstances that present serious moral or medical dilemmas, such as significant threats to the pregnant woman’s life, serious jeopardy to her health, severe congenital defects carefully diagnosed in the fetus, and pregnancy resulting from rape or incest.
  • The General Board of American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A adopted a statement in 1988-JUN, and modified it in 1994-MAR. It recognizes that no consensus exists within the denomination concerning abortion access. They did agree that they opposed abortion “as a means of avoiding responsibility for conception, as a primary means of birth control, and without regard for the far reaching consequences of the act.” They condemn violence and harassment directed at abortion clinics. They feel that physicians should be able to opt out of performing abortions without sanctions and discrimination.

“Contraception and Abortion from the Ancient World to the Renaissance” (1992)[edit]

John M. Riddle, “Contraception and Abortion from the Ancient World to the Renaissance”, Harvard University Press, 1992

  • The Apocalypse of Peter (26) spoke unfavorably about those women who “procured children outside arriage and who procured abortions.” The Gospel According to Egyptian has Salome saying: “I will have done better had I never given birth to a child” To her the Lord replied: “Eat of every plant, but do not eat a plant whose content is bitter” since many birth control plants are bitter, among them Artemisia and willow bark, the obvious inference is that god prohibited birth control drugs in this unaccepted Gospel. These passages indicate that among some Christians there had developed a notion that the fetus should be protected and that abortion, at any point, was religiously wrong.
    In Elvira (now in Spain), a church synod was held in the year 309. This was just after the Diocletian persecutions, and one would expect the Christians assembled from around Spain to be the most concerned with political issues, as the Church was moving toward victory over the pagans. As judged by the number of synodal resolutions, however, the primary concern was sexuality. Sexual behavior was a focus of attention because it was a means by which the Church, at least in Spain, sought control and definition. All sexual activity outside of marriage was forbidden and in marriage discouraged. In numerous synodal acts abortion was regarded as a sin without forgiveness, but contraception was not mentioned in the acts. No means were stated for birth control and, when sexual acts were discussed, the point of view was that of the male.
    Four Christians of the second and third century who were very much opposed to abortion and contraception were Athenagoras, Marcus Minuciu Felix, Tertullian, and Clement. In relating their attitudes, they left a record of antifertility methods. All but Athenagoras revealed the means by which birth control was accomplished. And Athenagoras asserted unambiguously that abortions were homicides and that the fetus should be regarded as an animal, stopping just short of saying it was a person: How can we kill a man when we are those who say that all who use abortifacients are homicides and will account to God for their abortions as for the killing of men. For the fetus in the wob is not an animal, and it is God’s providence that he exist.
    • p.83
  • Minucius contrasted Christian women with pagan women who “by drinking drugs extinguish the beginning of a future man, and, before they bear, commit parricide [i.e., the murder of one’s father].”Tertullian said that “we [Christians] may not destroy eventhe fetus in the womb.” In the same vein Clement denounced women “who, in order to hide their immorality,, use abortive drugs which expel the matter completely dead, abort at the same time their human feelings.” Tertullian may have been the first Christiaan writer who connected abortion with the Scriptures. He cited God’s word to Jeremiah (1:4): “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.” To which Tertullian rhetorically asks, “Was it, then, a dead body at that early stage? Certainly not. For God is not the God of the dead, but of living.”
    • p.83-84
  • Irrespective of Tertullian and Clement, Augustine of Hippo was the Church Father who handed down most later Church interpretations regarding abortion. In elucidating Exodus 21:22, Augustine wrote:
    If what is brought forth is unformed (‘’informe’’), but at this stage some sort of living, shapeless thing (‘’informiter’’), then the law of homicide would not apply for it could not be said that there was a living soul in that body, for it lacks all sense, if it be such as is not yet formed (‘’nondum formata’’) and therefore not yet endowed with its senses.
    The Greek Church Father Gregory of Nysa (ca. 330-395) expressed similar sentiments. Augustine and Gregory shared the sameview as held by Aristotle and central Jewish thought.
    Augustine and Gregory set the prevailing opinion on abortion, but other voices arose among the Christians. Basel (ca. 330-379) spoke harshl against women who “destroyed a fetus” . . . “whether the fetus was formed or unformed.” Such women have sinned doubly; first, they risk their own lives and, second, they rob the fetus of life to come. The observation that abortion was fatal to a person-inn-the making raises the question of whether Basel was primarily referring to late-term, surgical abortions. Most of the written evidence does not indicate that early-term drug abortions were potentially dangerous, much less fatal. Even though he said that abortion was the equivalent of murder, he mitigated the penance required of the sinner because it ought not extend to death. Roughly ten years’ repentance was appropriate, although “the manner of repentance” was more important than the time of the term.
    • p.84

“Personhood, the Bible, and the Abortion Debate”[edit]

Paul D. Simmons, “Personhood, the Bible, and the Abortion Debate”

  • The primary theological issue posed by the abortion debate centers on the personhood of the fetus. Evangelical Christians who have worked for a constitutional “human life” amendment to ban abortion argue that the Bible teaches that the fetus is a person and that abortion is murder. Harold Brown stated the position strongly: “The Bible prohibits the taking of innocent human life. If the developing fetus is shown to be a human being...[or] if human life has begun, then abortion is homicide and not permissible.” Although their starting points are ostensibly different Brown’s statement is in essential agreement with that of Pope Pius XII: “Innocent human life, in whatever condition it is found, is withdrawn, from the very first moment of its existence, from any direct deliberate attack.”
    • p.1
  • Morally speaking, to claim that a conceptus is a human being is to introduce what Sissela Bok has called “a premature ultimate”. People have an absolute value in Western morality, but fetuses do not. They have value, but they are not of equal moral value with actual persons-in particular, the pregnant woman.
    This distinction seems basic to the biblical story in Exod. 21:22-25, which is important for the abortion debate. This passage from the Covenant Code sets forth procedures to be followed when a pregnant woman who becomes involved in a brawl between two men has a miscarriage. A distinction is made between the penalty that is to be exacted for the loss of the fetus and the penalty for any injury to the woman. For the loss of the fetus, a fine is paid, as determined by the husband and the judges (v. 22). However, if the woman is injured or dies, lex talionus is applied: “Thou shalt give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe” (vv. 23-25). The story has only limited application to the current abortion debate because it deals with accidental, not willful, termination of pregnancy. Even so, the distinction made between the protection accorded the woman and that accorded the fetus under covenant law is important. The woman has full standing as a person under the covenant; the fetus has only a relative standing, certainly inferior to that of the woman.
    • p.2
  • The belief that the workings of nature are virtually the actions of God is important to the absolutism of the fundamentalists’ stance against abortion. Not only is the conceptus regarded as being equal in value and personhood to the woman, but conception is seen as an act of God. The pregnancy would have to be a direct threat to the life of the woman for termination to be justifiable or an act of self-defense. All other pregnancies are to be accepted, regardless of such extenuating circumstances as rape, incest, or fetal deformity.
    • pp.6-7
  • The biblical understanding of personhood explains the profound silence of the Bible on the matter of elective abortion. That it contains no prohibitions against abortion is rather amazing if, as some contend, the Bible is so clear in its teaching against the practice. Certainly we know there were harsh penalties for abortion among the Hebrews’ mid-eastern neighbors. The Assyrian code (ca. 1500 B.C.) declared that “any woman who causes to fall what her womb holds...shall be tried, convicted and impaled upon a stake and shall not be buried.” The Hebrews knew of such codes, which tacitly acknowledged that abortion was practiced. The absence of specific prohibitions in Scripture could mean either (1) that no Hebrew or Christian ever terminated a problem pregnancy or (2) that abortion was a private, personal, and religious matter not subject to civil regulation. The latter seems the most plausible explanation. Hebrew law, in contrast to the harsh and repressive attitudes found in neighboring cultures, gave considerable status to women. Women were equal bearers of God’s image and equal sharers in the task of stewardship (Gen. 1:28-30). Th e emphasis fell upon the woman as one with the godlike ability and responsibility to make reproductive choices. Such choices were not socially regu-lated except as specifi ed in Exodus, Chapter 21.Th e same pattern prevailed in the New Testament era. Even Paul, the great apostle who gave directions for moral living to Christians in a pagan society, made no mention of abortion. For all his practical guidance, not once does the subject appear in his lists of vices or prohibited actions. Apparently he regarded abortion as a matter to be dealt with on the basis of faith, grace, and Christian freedom. In such matters, the believer was to “Work out your own salvation in fear and trembling...” (Phil. 2:12).
    The absence of prohibitions against abortion in the Bible does not mean either that abortion was widely practiced or that there was a cavalier attitude about pregnancy termination. Th en as now elective abortion posed substantive issues with which a woman or couple must come to terms. Respect for germinating life, one’s own beliefs, and one’s life plan all enter into the decision. Certainly reasons beyond mere convenience are needed to make the morally serious decision to terminate a germinal existence. Abortion is never to be taken lightly, but it is not a forbidden option.
    • pp.10-11
  • Contemporary Christians will do well to follow the biblical pattern in treating the subject of elective abortion. The claim that the Bible teaches that the fetus is a person from the moment of conception is problematic at best. Such a judgment rests on subjective and personal factors, not explicit biblical teachings. The Bible’s portrait of personhood centers on the woman and the man who unquestionably bear the image of God and live in responsible relation to God. Further, the absence of civil prohibition—even in a theocratic society such as that of the Hebrews—is a worthy model to follow. The biblical writers’ silence reveals a becoming reticence to judge too quickly the morality of another person’s choice. It is eloquent testimony to the sacredness of this choice for women and their families and to the privacy in which it is to be considered. God’s grace is extended to those who accept the responsibilities of parenthood and to those who must make difficult choices in the midst of the moral ambiguity of tragic and perplexing circumstances.
    • p.11

“Today’s Abortion Conversation” (Fall 2019)[edit]

Kelly Rosati, “Today’s Abortion Conversation”, National Association of Evangelicals, (Fall 2019)

  • [W]hile abortion in the United States has been declining from a high of 1.3 million in 1984, according to the Centers for Disease Control, some 60 million little ones have lost their lives to abortion since 1973.
  • Americans have complex views about abortion. In a February 2019 Marist poll, Americans were equally divided between describing themselves as pro-life or pro-choice (47 percent each). In May, Gallup noted that 77 percent of Americans — including 57 percent of pro-lifers — gen-erally support abortion rights in cases of rape and incest.
  • According to surveys by the Guttmacher Institute, 73 percent of women who have had abortions indicated they did so because they couldn’t afford a baby. Women facing unexpected preg-nancies need affordable housing, health care, jobs and supportive communities. While churches can meet some of those needs directly, we can’t meet all of them. But we can advocate for poli-cies to ensure necessary solutions. If we won’t do that, we aren’t effectively speaking up for the unborn babies whose very lives depend on having these supports in place.

“At the Roots of Christian Bioethics” (2010)[edit]

Christopher Tollefsen; in Ana S. Iltis, Mark J. Cherry, “At the Roots of Christian Bioethics” (M & M Scrivener Press 2010 ISBN 978-0-9764041-8-7), “Missing Persons: Engelhardt and Abortion”

  • No orthodox (small ‘’o’’) Christian would contend that, as to the authoritative and specific position held by Christianity on the morality of abortion, H. Tristram Engelhardt, Jr. was in error. In ‘’The Foundations of Bioethics’’, Engelhardt writes, with characteristic elan, that he is more in doubt as to the nature of the relevant kindling-mesquite? Live oak? Trash cedar?-than he is of the fact that the fires of hell await those who procure or provide abortion on demand, in the absence of God’s saving grace (1996, p. xi). More soberly, in ‘’The Foundations of Christian Bioethics’’, he cited Father Pilotheos Zerkavos, who held that “there is no worse crime than abortion. It surpasses all heresies and evils” (2000, p. 304 n. 133). In short, Engelhardt holds, correctly, that the constant teaching of the Christian Church is to reject abortion, and Engelhardt accepts this teaching himself.
    However, Engelhardt’s position is, in at least certain particulars, deliberately the position of the first millennium or more of Christianity, rather than the position of, to take the most prominent recent Christian opponent of abortion, Pope John Paul II. For Engelhardt, like some thinkers in that early tradition, holds that “the position regarding abortion is independent of concerns regarding personhood, ensoulment, or distinctions in utero between human personal and human biological life” (p.279).
    • p.165
  • It appears to be true that a significant strand of thought in the early Christian Church did not primarily address abortion in terms of the language of personhood, and the killing of persons. Indeed, in the early Church, there is sometimes no sharp distinction between contraception and sterilization, on the one hand, and abortion on the other. This was neither because the Church wished to downgrade the evil of abortion, nor necessarily to elide the distinction between contraception and murder in the sense in which the fifth commandment prohibits it. Rather, both contraception and early abortion were looked upon as grave contra-life sins. Practically speaking, however, there could have been little profit, as the work of Aristotle and Aquinas inadvertently reveals, in speculation about the nature of the early embryo or even fetus, given the paltry biology at hand.
    When, in the Middle Ages, the Thomistic position on delayed ensoulment became the norm, a distinction was subsequently drawn between the sin involved in killing an early embryo and that involved in killing a later embryo. Engelhardt rejects this approach, in favor of the earlier tradition, unconcerned, as it apparently was, with the issue of personhood or ensoulment.
    the Catholic position as promulgated by Pope John Paul II, at any rate, no longer fails to draw a sharp distinction between contraception and abortion. In Evangelium Vitae, for example, the Pope clearly states that, although intimately linked in their nature and consequences, the evils of contraception and of abortion are different:
    …from the moral point of view contraception and abortion are specifically different evils the former contradicts the full truth of the sexual act as the proper expression of conjugal love, while the latter destroys the life of a human being; the former is opposed to the virtue of chastity in marriage, the latter is opposed to the virtue of justice and directly violated the divine commandment ‘You shall not kill.’ (1995, p.24)
    • p.166
  • Abortion is now common in a way it never was previously. An estimated 1.3 million abortions are performed in the United States alone each year, and many millions more are performed in other parts of the world. Moreover, abortion in linked, practically and conceptually, to a number of other phenomena: sexual immorality, the failure of the family, and various additional forms of anti-life attitudes, collectively referred to by the Pope as the Culture of Death, and including, prominently, a new interest in euthanasia. Finally, abortion is now a part of the everyday consciousness of millions of young people, who take it for granted, and in many cases obtain abortions without a great deal of thought. Abortion is not, in short, an insignificant feature of our contemporary cultural landscape. It is, arguably, the single most important and culturally defining feature of our world.
    • p.171
  • [T]he biology necessary for understanding the nature of the zygote, embryo, and fetus, which was missing through eighteen hundred years or so of the Church’s existence, is now available. It is not idle speculation, doomed from the start, to consider with biological accuracy when a particular human being begins, and to consider this evidence in light of some basic reflections on the nature of persons. We are in a radically different epistemic position with respect to the embryo or fetus then were the early Church fathers, Albert and Aquinas, and even more modern thinkers, such as those who imagined that they saw homunculi in sperm when looking through a microscope.
    • p.172
  • [L]ove of neighbor surely makes strongly interventionist demands in the face of 1.3 million persons condemned to an unjust death. If the unborn are persons, then Christians cannot meet Christ’s demands by simply being a good example when they become pregnant in a difficult situation: Christian’s must work, in various ways, to bring an end to abortion. The unborn are presently that part of God’s children who are radically denied the status of neighbor; Christians have an obligation, if the unborn are persons, to be neighbors to them. This, in turn, means that they have an obligation to discover whether the unborn ‘’are’’ the sorts of beings for whom we are required to become neighbors. Another way to put this is to say that abortion is ‘’the’’ foundational problem for any Christian bio and social ethics.
    • p.174

“Lawmakers Lawbreakers” (January 17, 2004)[edit]

Gene Edward Veith, “Lawmakers Lawbreakers”, from World Magazine, (January 17, 2004) Volume 19, Number 2

  • “I DON'T BELIEVE IN ABORTION myself,” goes the line, “but other people should have the right to choose for themselves.” Or, in another version, “My religion is against abortion, but I don't have the right to impose my religious beliefs on anyone else.”
    The assumption is that moral and religious beliefs are nothing more than individual preferences, that they have no refer-ence to objective reality, to a transcendent authority that reigns over everyone. Christianity af-firms that its tenets are true—not just a sentiment inside a person's head but a revelation that is universally valid, like it or not. So what about a member of a church, particularly a church with a strong pro-life theology, who assumes that personal beliefs are not transferable to the real world? A typical pew-sitter who is mixed up about theology may be just in need of teaching,
    and a member who falls into sin—such as the sin of abortion—needs to be brought by the church to a state of repentance and forgiveness.
    But what about a church member who personally does not get an abortion but runs an abortion clinic? Or what about church-going lawmakers who use the power and authority of their offices to increase the number of unborn children who are legally killed? Shouldn't churches have the right to enforce their beliefs on their own members?
    • p.1
  • Some of the most adamantly pro-abortion politicians are members of the Roman Catholic Church, an institution with a rigorous, well-defined pro-life theology as well as a tradition of en-forcing adherence to its beliefs. Now, a committee of American bishops is devising policies to deal with its renegade politicians, and some bishops are already taking actions to hold Catholic lawmakers accountable.
    There are Protestant politicians too, especially in the South, who are members of pro-life churches but promote abortion in their votes and policies. Could church discipline bring them to repentance and a change of heart?
    Church discipline might awaken politicians to their spiritual danger in participating in the slaughter of innocents. Or it could result in expelling nominal members who are eager to vaunt their status as Catholics or Baptists while campaigning but who do not believe what their churches teach.
    Either way, though the influence of Christianity on society has been weakened, churches at least have authority over their own members. For pro-life churches to keep their position theoretical, without insisting that it be lived out by their members, is to fall into the same belief-without reality fallacy as their erring members.
    • pp.1-2
  • Protestant churches have, historically, been willing to discipline their members when they strayed. In the Reformed tradition, church discipline is seen as no less than one of the marks of the church, along with the Word and the Sacraments.
    Baptist theologian Al Mohler, presi-dent of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, called on Immanuel Baptist Church in Little Rock, Ark., to exert church discipline on one of its members, the president of the United States, Bill Clinton (see WORLD, Sept. 19, 1998).
    “"I do most emphatically believe that church discipline is called for in the case of a church member who defies church teaching or breaks the moral law while in political office,” Mr. Mohler said. He noted that while matters of political judgment would seldom be grounds for church action, advocating abortion crosses the line from politics into a clear sin against God's Word.
    • p.6
  • Politicians who are willing to reject their church's teachings about abortion are, of course, un-likely to care much about their church's teachings about church discipline. And if they were to be cast out of their church, they would easily find another one, if it matters to them, since prominent and powerful members are much in demand by socially ambitious congregations.
    So churches cracking down will not necessarily change politicians' minds or turn the tide against abortion. God, though, can change their minds, and their conversion can come through the con-scientious application of spiritual care, in the classic description of the church's ministry as “the cure of souls.”
    But if it comes to the point of casting out the unbeliever, at least the church would have its integrity.
    Sin is more than just an individual action. It is a sin to cause someone else to sin. This is why sexual sin is so problematic. It involves not just oneself but the corruption of another person— one's sexual partner or even the pornographic actors being de-graded and sexually abused. Sexual immorality is a sin against the love we should have for our neighbors.
    Whereas an individual transgression can be repented of and forgiven, causing someone else to stumble has untold consequences. A man may have a fling with a prostitute, who, unknown to him, becomes pregnant and has an abortion, killing his own child. A politi-cian's scope is even wider, as a vote can be turned into a law that enables the slaughter of millions of innocents.
    Churches must shape the way their members think about such things, forming them morally and spiritually for their eternal salvation. The problem is not just that some of their members are in need of church discipline. Churches need it.
    • p.7

"Abortion" (July 2011)[edit]

"Abortion". WELS. (July 2011).

  • On January 22, 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court declared abortion a constitutional right for all women. The WELS noted this sad development. In the February 25, 1973, issue of the Northwestern Lutheran an article read, “To approve of abortion as an expression of the right of a woman to have control over her body is not biblical. Neither man nor woman are masters of their own bodies. Both are responsible to God Himself for how they use them. . . . It is fervently hoped that no Christian woman will permit herself to be misled. Just because abortion may be legal, does not make it right.”
    The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, which had adopted its first pro-life resolution back in 1971, adopted another such statement in 1977. In 1978 the Evangelical Lutheran Synod adopted a resolution calling abortion a “grievous sin except in the rare instance of it being used to save a mother’s life.” That resolution resolved to “encourage its congregational members to confess publicly that the unborn child is a living person whose right to live must be protected.”
    Such public and formal proclamations may appear to be a startling departure from traditional conservative Lutheranism. In the past the Wisconsin Synod hesitated to take any such action in fear it may be a first step into a diluted theology marked by social activism. While that concern is legitimate, significant external factors compelled WELS to be silent no longer.
    First, the number of abortions had risen to a startling level. When abortion was legalized nationally in 1973, proponents suggested the abortion rate would not vary much from the expected 300,000 per year. Within a few years that number jumped to around 1.5 million annually and has remained at that level.
    Secondly, the religious community appeared divided on the issue in the public forum. In 1974, one year after abortion was legalized, the U.S. Congress held public hearings on the prospect of a Human Life Amendment. Among those testifying were the following religious leaders: Bishop A. James Armstrong, president of the Board of Church and Society for the United Methodist Church; Mr. William Thompson, Executive Officer of the General Assembly of the United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America; and Rev. Sidney Lovett, Jr., Conference Minister for the Central Atlantic Conference of the United Church of Christ. Each spoke in favor of the right to abortion.
    Thirdly, sprouting from the United Methodist Church came an organization called the Religious Coalition for Abortion Rights (RCAR). A 1978 pamphlet produced by the agency contained pro-abortion position statements of its member agencies. Among those agencies were the following: American Baptist Churches, Disciples of Christ, Lutheran Church in America, Presbyterian Church in the U.S., United Church of Christ and the United Methodist Church. Of particular concern is the prominent mention of Lutheran agencies in RCAR listings. Many publications listed the position statements of both the Lutheran Church of America and the American Lutheran Church as supporting a woman’s right to choose abortion.
    These factors raised questions in the public’s mind concerning what God’s Word says concerning abortion. Some clergy within the WELS also admitted that unclarity existed in the minds of some WELS members.
  • WHEREAS 1)
    the Holy Scriptures clearly testify to a reverence for the life of the mother and the life of her unborn child as both being equal in value, each being accountable for sin, each the object of God’s precious gift of salvation and therefore each being worthy of protection; and
    WHEREAS 2)
    the Holy Scriptures demonstrates its reverence for life by commanding its protection and condemning as sin the selfish and wrongful termination of life (see below); therefore be it
    Resolved, a) that we acknowledge when an abortion procedure is performed with the specific intent not to preserve life but to terminate life, it is rightfully called sin and condemned by God; and be it further
    Resolved, b) that we encourage the editors of our synodical periodicals, as well as our pastors and teachers, to continue fervently and faithfully testifying against sin and, in particular, the sin of abortion that involves the intentional and willful killing of any human life whether inside or outside of the womb; and be it further
    Resolved, c) that in those extremely rare circumstances in which a pregnancy directly endangers the physical life of the mother, or the mother’s condition directly endangers the life of her unborn child, we call for action towards preserving both lives however possible or preserving at least one life when preserving both lives is not possible; and be it further
    Resolved, d) that we encourage our membership to express its concern and compassion for distressed pregnant women by supporting all God-pleasing options in the face of unplanned pregnancies and that our congregations regularly review the teaching of Scripture on the high price of sin and of the inherent value of God’s gift of life; and be it finally
    Resolved, e) that we more zealously pursue the pure proclamation of the Gospel of Christ which alone can change wicked hearts from sin to righteousness and then to practice Christ-inspired love as we seek to care for both the mother and her unborn child.

“The Partisan Trajectory of the American Pro-Life Movement: How a Liberal Catholic Campaign Became a Conservative Evangelical Cause” (16 April 2015)[edit]

Daniel K. Williams, “The Partisan Trajectory of the American Pro-Life Movement: How a Liberal Catholic Campaign Became a Conservative Evangelical Cause”, Religions 2015, 6(2), 451-475; (Received: 25 February 2015 / Revised: 2 April 2015 / Accepted: 3 April 2015 / Published: 16 April 2015)

  • For Catholics, a prohibition on abortion would not be a gratuitous addition to the UN’s Declaration, but instead a recognition of the principles that supported the entire human rights tradition. Human rights, Catholics believed, were not the product of modern secular values, but were instead derived from the natural law—an unwritten code which, in accordance with the view of the medieval theologian Thomas Aquinas, could be discovered through reasoned reflection on the purposes for which God had created human beings. Pope Pius XI’s papal encyclicals of the early 1930s had defended both the “sacred rights of the workers that flow from their dignity as men and as Christians” and the “sacred” life of the unborn as inviolable principles derived from the “law of nature”. One of the most influential Catholic proponents of international human rights in the mid-twentieth century—and a contributor to the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights—was a natural-law philosopher, Jacques Maritain, who grounded his ethical principles in the thought of Aquinas (pp. 199–201). Though proponents of abortion law reform often appealed to the principles of New Deal liberalism in arguing that the legalization of therapeutic abortion would save women’s lives and alleviate poverty, Catholic opponents of abortion legalization believed that they were the true guardians of liberal values and the human rights tradition, because their arguments against abortion were grounded in the claim that all people—born and unborn—had the right to life. Without protection for that fundamental right, they believed, no one’s rights would be secure and the “law of the jungle will prevail”.
    • “The Liberal Origins of the Pro-Life Cause”
  • When Washington, DC, a city that was 71 percent black, legalized abortion in the summer of 1972, Cardinal Patrick O’Boyle, who had given the invocation at the March on Washington nine years earlier, warned, “No one can ignore the implications of genocide”. Later that fall, pro-life advocates in Michigan brought a similar charge against proponents of legalizing abortion in their state. “Is abortion black genocide???” a flyer distributed by African American Democratic state representative Rosetta Ferguson, director of Michigan’s Voice of the Unborn, asked in 1972. As her flyer pointed out, population control measures, including legalized abortion, would likely affect the black population disproportionately. Poor minority women might be coerced into having abortions in order to continue receiving welfare benefits, just as some women, especially those in southern states such as North Carolina, had already been coerced into accepting sterilization as a prerequisite for public assistance. “Claims that no one is coerced, that the welfare client is merely ‘informed’ of her options have the ring of pious hypocrisy,” John T. Noonan, a Catholic law professor at the University of California at Berkeley, told a California Assembly committee when testifying against an abortion legalization bill in 1970.
    • “The Liberal Origins of the Pro-Life Cause”
  • By 1980, a Gallup Poll showed that evangelical Protestants—most of whom were political conservatives—were more likely than either Catholics or mainline Protestants to oppose abortion. In 1986, the Southern Baptist Convention, which only a decade before had held an official stance on abortion that allowed for the procedure in extreme situations, adopted the Catholic Church’s practice of observing Sanctity of Human Life Sunday each January in protest against Roe v. Wade.
    • “Evangelicals’ Role in the Pro-Life Movement’s Conservative Turn”
  • Politically progressive Catholics viewed the campaign against abortion as a human rights cause, but evangelicals reframed it as a campaign to restore the nation’s moral order. This contrast reflected larger differences both in their theological view of abortion and their political priorities. Theologically, Catholics and Protestants differed in their view of the beginning of life, because Catholics based their understanding of the issue on a well-developed natural law tradition and body of church dogma, whereas conservative Protestants, with only competing interpretations of a handful of biblical passages as their guide, lacked a coherent theology on the matter. While Catholic right-to-life activists of the mid-twentieth century received a steady diet of church teaching about conception and the beginning of human life, and had no doubt that human personhood began in the womb, Protestants, regardless of whether they were mainline or evangelical, received almost no church teaching on these issues in the 1950s and 1960s, and were unsure about the personhood of the fetus, which made it unlikely that they would view the effort to save the unborn as a human rights cause.
    • “Evangelicals’ Role in the Pro-Life Movement’s Conservative Turn”
  • Although the sexual revolution and other alleged signs of social disorder received far more coverage in evangelical magazines during the late 1960s than abortion did, conservative Protestant magazine editors of the era felt compelled to react to the rapid political ascendancy of the abortion law reform movement and the liberalization of abortion policy in several states, including California. They were thus forced to take a side on an issue that few of them had spent much time thinking about. Some Protestants, including a few evangelicals, believed that human personhood did not begin until birth and that abortion was acceptable. Some self-identified fundamentalists, on the other hand, believed that human life began at conception and that abortion was therefore “murder”. But most Protestants, including the majority of evangelicals, took a position between these two extremes. They believed that the fetus had value as either a potential human life or an actual human life, which meant that, in their view, the law should protect unborn human life in most circumstances, but should also allow for abortion in extreme situations to preserve the life or health of the mother.
    • “Why Evangelicals Became Concerned about Abortion”
  • Between 1967 and 1969, Christianity Today, Eternity, and Christian Life magazines published several articles on abortion, all of which presented a similar conclusion: it was wrong to use abortion as a means of birth control, because abortion constituted the taking of an actual or a potential life, but abortion was probably acceptable in cases of rape or in instances when a pregnancy threatened the life or health of a mother [89,90,91]. A Christianity Today editorial from 1969 summarized the dominant evangelical view at the time when it declared: “Surely we should resist the taking of innocent lives of unborn infants merely on demand or for convenience. There must be substantial medical and other grounds that are biblically licit. Otherwise abortion becomes murder”.
    • “Why Evangelicals Became Concerned about Abortion”
  • The vast majority of evangelicals, including Billy Graham and evangelical theologian Carl F. H. Henry, accepted rape as a legitimate reason for abortion, even when they condemned the procedure as “murder” in most other cases. Nancy Hardesty, for instance, declared in Eternity magazine in 1967 that “abortion is the killing of a human being,” but nevertheless asked rhetorically, “Do we have the right to force a woman who has gone through the horrible experience of being raped to bear in her body for nine months a growing reminder of that horror?”. Evangelicals’ insistence that there were legitimate reasons for abortion in at least a few extreme cases alienated them from the Catholic right-to-life campaign of the late 1960s, which claimed that all abortion was evil.
    • “Why Evangelicals Became Concerned about Abortion”
  • When the Southern Baptist Convention passed a resolution in 1971 condemning legislation that would remove all restrictions on abortion, it called not for the restoration of absolutist abortion prohibitions in response but for the passage of the sort of “therapeutic” abortion laws that most evangelicals had favored in the late 1960s. Abortion should be legal, the SBC said, in cases of “rape, incest, clear evidence of severe fetal deformity, and carefully ascertained evidence of the likelihood of damage to the emotional, mental, and physical health of the mother”—a stance that was very close to the position that Christianity Today had taken prior to 1970 [99]. It was also the stance taken by the vast majority of Southern Baptist pastors, according to a Baptist Viewpoint poll of 1970. As the poll revealed, 80 percent of Southern Baptist pastors opposed the removal of all restrictions on abortion in the first trimester (the position later mandated by Roe v. Wade), but 70 percent favored allowing abortion in cases where it was necessary to preserve a woman’s health, and 71 percent favored legalizing it in cases of rape or incest. Such a stance, the SBC declared, maintained a “high view of the sanctity of human life, including fetal life,” while still allowing for abortion in exceptional circumstances.
    • “Why Evangelicals Became Concerned about Abortion”
  • “The Roman Catholic bishops have been pushing very hard with a well-organized and well financed campaign to enact their absolutist position about abortion into law in this country,” Foy Valentine, director of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Christian Life Convention, complained in 1977. While he insisted that “all life is sacred including fetal life”—a line taken almost verbatim from the denomination’s official resolutions on abortion—he did not believe that “all abortions are murders.” There were at least some situations, he said, in which “abortion is the lesser of two evils”.
    • “Why Evangelicals Became Concerned about Abortion”
  • [M]any evangelicals who had once accepted the legitimacy of abortion in a few extreme cases decided, by the end of the 1970s, that all human life began at conception and that therefore, any abortion that was not necessary to save a woman’s life was murder. Those who made this transition insisted that they were guided by biblical passages, such as Psalm 139, that seemed to treat the fetus as a person in the eyes of God, as well as by scientific findings that demonstrated the presence of a fetal heartbeat and brain activity even in very early stages of pregnancy and that showed that a unique human DNA was present in each zygote from the moment of conception. Evangelicals were people of the Bible, so it was therefore not surprising that they cited biblical guidance as a primary reason for changing their position on abortion. Yet the evangelicals of the late 1960s who had allowed for abortion in cases of rape or medical necessity had also cited a biblical proof-text (Exodus 21:22–25) for their assertion that the Bible differentiated between the value of a fetus and the value of an adult woman; they, too, claimed to be guided by the Bible in resisting the Catholic view that all abortions were murder. It was not the Bible alone that guided evangelicals to oppose abortion; it was instead a realization that the campaign against abortion, which Catholics had viewed as a human rights cause, was in reality a battle against moral disorder in American society. As the number of legal abortions per year in the United States rose from fewer than 750,000 in 1973 to more than 1.5 million in 1980, and as abortion clinics sprang up even in such Bible Belt cities as Birmingham, Alabama, evangelicals who had expressed mere ambivalence or discomfort about abortion reconsidered their stance and decided to join the pro-life side.
    • “Why Evangelicals Became Concerned about Abortion
  • In 1976, the Southern Baptist Convention responded to lobbying pressure from pro-life pastors in the denomination by passing a stronger antiabortion resolution than it had previously. “Every decision for an abortion, for whatever reason must necessarily involve the decision to terminate the life of an innocent human being,” the SBC declared in 1976. Yet the denomination still allowed for abortion in extreme cases; it was not yet ready to say that abortion was never justified except to save a woman’s life, despite demands from some Southern Baptist pastors to do so. John Wilder, a leader in the recently formed organization Baptists for Life (which Texas Baptist pastor Robert Holbrooke had founded in 1973), blamed a residual anti-Catholicism for this hesitancy.
    • “Why Evangelicals Became Concerned about Abortion”
  • Francis Schaeffer gave evangelicals the framework that they needed to turn the campaign against abortion into a uniquely Protestant battle against moral disorder. The Presbyterian missionary and bestselling Christian apologist had already become a household name among many American evangelicals because of the persuasive power of his arguments against secular humanism and situation ethics, so when he made abortion a primary target in the late 1970s, American evangelicals paid attention. In three major works that called evangelicals to fight abortion—How Should We Then Live? (1976), Whatever Happened to the Human Race? (1979), and A Christian Manifesto (1981)—Schaeffer repeated many of the traditional Catholic arguments against abortion by appealing to scientific evidence to support his assertion that the fetus was a human being and by linking abortion with infanticide and euthanasia [114,115,116]. But there was one major difference between Schaeffer and the Catholics: instead of grounding his arguments against abortion in an appeal to the liberal social welfare state’s concern for human life, Schaeffer portrayed abortion legalization as a product of a malevolent secular state. He said little about abortion legalization prior to Roe, and instead placed sole blame for abortion on the Supreme Court decision of 1973 and the secular values that the Court represented. The fight against abortion was therefore a fight for the return of Christian values in government and society; it was thus the same fight that evangelicals were waging in their battle against pornography, homosexuality, the sexual revolution, and the culture of moral relativism. “In regard to the fetus, the courts have arbitrarily separated ‘aliveness’ from ‘personhood’,” Schaeffer declared in How Should We Then Live? “Law has become a matter of averages, just as the culture’s sexual mores have become only a matter of averages. As the Christian consensus dies, there are not many sociological alternatives”.
    • “Why Evangelicals Became Concerned about Abortion”
  • Shortly after Schaeffer issued his call to action on abortion, several of the nation’s leading evangelical denominations registered their support for the pro-life cause by passing resolutions condemning abortion for any reason other than saving a mother’s life. The Evangelical Free Church passed such a resolution in 1977, followed the next year by the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). In 1980 the Southern Baptist Convention replaced its moderate language on abortion with a staunchly pro-life resolution that, like the resolutions of the Evangelical Free Church and the PCA, allowed for abortion only when a woman’s life was endangered. The Christian and Missionary Alliance Church adopted a similarly worded statement in 1981, and the Assemblies of God did so in 1985. These resolutions asserted that the fetus was a human life from the moment of conception, and that abortion was therefore murder—a position that the Catholic Church had long taken. But in contrast to the Catholics of the 1960s and 1970s, the evangelicals who passed pro-life resolutions in the late 1970s and early 1980s linked abortion not to a violation of a human rights tradition, but to “moral relativism and sexual permissiveness,” as the antiabortion resolution of the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church stated. The Southern Baptist Convention paired its antiabortion resolution with resolutions condemning homosexuality and cohabitation outside marriage, and affirming the “biblical definition of the family”.
    • “Why Evangelicals Became Concerned about Abortion”

Dialogue[edit]

“A Pastor’s Case for the Morality of Abortion” (May 26, 2019)[edit]

Jes Kast as interviewed by Emma Green, “A Pastor’s Case for the Morality of Abortion”, The Atlantic, (May 26, 2019)

  • Jes Kast: My family has deep roots in the pro-life movement. When I was a child, before I even knew this language of pro-life and pro-choice, my family would talk with vigor about protecting the unborn. I heard that at church. I heard that at the dinner table. One of my family members had a sweater that said, “Endangered Species,” with all of the different animals. One of the pictures was a fetus inside of a womb.
    That’s what it meant to be Christian: to protect the unborn.
  • Green: When would you say you first started questioning the values you had been taught around abortion?
Kast: It began with other issues, which led to abortion. I was in college, a private Christian school in Michigan. At that time, President [George W.] Bush was talking about [weapons of mass destruction].
I remember sitting with my mom and my dad at Chili’s. And I said, “I don’t believe that there are WMDs, and I’m not sure I trust President Bush.” In that mind-set, to be Republican is to be Christian. That all went together. And I began questioning it.
Green: How did that connect with the question of abortion?
Kast: I began to understand myself as a woman in ministry. I began to see myself as this Christian feminist. I began to own my voice differently, and to question the rules of engagement of Christianity that I was raised with.
I began saying things like “Why is it that abortion is the only issue that my parents and family really care about?” I have a very good relationship with my family. I’m not trying to paint them in negative light. But why? Why is this the only issue?
Like many Millennials coming out of evangelicalism, I began to care about different justice issues. I began to care about the Earth, and racial justice, and interfaith justice. And one of the topics that arose for me was abortion.
I began questioning: What about bodily autonomy? Isn’t that justice? How would God ever infringe upon that?
And this was a big one for me: Why is it that when it comes to this topic, it’s almost always white, straight, Christian men who are the loudest?
  • Kast: I believe reproductive rights and bodily autonomy are deeply important. I believe that is faithfulness to Christianity. I believe in access to safe and legal abortions. I believe that the person who can best make these decisions is the person who’s considering these decisions.
    I meet one-on-one with people in my congregation. Although I am ordained, and I carry a certain authority with me, my job is to walk with people through those decisions. I have known people who have accessed abortion and reproductive care. Some haven’t had any emotional turmoil over it; it has been more like celebration for them. And I know people who saw it as a hard decision.
    I believe every person I encounter, including myself, has the right to their body. When that bodily autonomy is taken away, to me, that is against Christian scripture, and is against the Gospel I believe in.
Green: So, just to be clear, what do you think is the Christian theological argument for abortion?
Kast: When people talk about “Our body is a temple of God, and holy,” I see that as I have the right to choices over my body, and the freedom to make the decisions that are right for me.
Genesis, it says that God breathed God’s spirit into our lives—Christians would say “the Holy Spirit.” Because of that, we’re not puppets controlled by God. Because of the image of God in us, we have freedom. That’s what’s really clear to me, is freedom.
  • Green: How do you wish abortion was talked about in Christian circles in the United States?
Kast: I wish there was more clarity of conviction with compassion. I wish one section of Christianity didn’t demonize another section of Christianity, because there are Christians like myself, and like my denomination, who see safe and legal abortion access as part of what it means to do justice. We are deeply faithful Christian people. I would love that respect from my more conservative siblings in faith.

External links[edit]