Friday, October 2, 2009

Christians who Embrace Abortion

Image of 6-day old Human embryo (with a soul) implanting itself onto the wall of the womb.

The Religious Institute released an open letter that maintains that abortion is a “morally justifiable decision” that should be left to women to decide. The letter is a response to amendments in the Senate that would cut abortion coverage in private insurance plans that receive federal funding.

“Already, federal policy unfairly prevents low-income women and federal employees from receiving subsidized reproductive health services, but the new proposals would mean that even more women and families would lose access to these vital services,” said the Rev. Debra W. Haffner, executive director of the Religious Institute.

Haffner added, “Placing restrictions on private insurance plans that make abortion accessible to women represents a serious moral injustice.”

The letter itself contends that the sanctity of human life is “best upheld” when it is made carefully, not when women are “coerced to carry a pregnancy to term.”

Religious denominations that have endorsed the letter include: American Baptist Churches, Church of the Brethren, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), United Church of Christ, and The United Methodist Church, among others.

Supporters of access to abortion call on government leaders to respect religious differences on the contentious issue.

Read it all here.

These who call themselves "Christians" are ignorant of Christianity. Here is what Christians have always believed concerning abortion:

The oldest Christian document of authority that condemns abortion is the “Didache” (The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles), dating to the late 1st century says “Do not murder; do not commit adultery; do not corrupt boys; do not fornicate; do not steal; do not practice magic; do not go in for sorcery; do not murder a child by abortion or kill a newborn infant.” (2:2)

There is also the Epistle of Barnabus (early 2nd century) which says “You shall love your neighbor more than your own life. You shall not slay the child by abortion. You shall not kill that which has been generated.” (19:5)

St. John Chrysostom considers abortion worse than murder and blames both the woman and the man for the act. He asks “Why sow where the ground makes it its care to destroy the fruit? Where there are many efforts at abortion?...Why do you …arm for slaughter the woman who was given for childbearing?...if the daring deed [of aborting the child] is hers, nevertheless the causing of it is yours!" (Homily 24 on Romans)

Tertullian (3rd century) says, “Abortion is a precipitation of murder, nor does it matter whether or not one takes a life when formed, or drives it away when forming, for he is also a man who is about to be one.”

St. Basil the Great (4th century) writes that “A woman who deliberately destroys a fetus is answerable for murder.” He also states “Those who give potions for the destruction of the child conceived in the womb are murderers, as are those who take potions which kill the child.” …we do not have a precise distinction between a fetus which has been formed and one which has not yet been formed.” And “…any hairsplitting distinction as to its being formed or unformed is inadmissible with us.”

St. Clement of Alexandria, St Augustine, and Jerome likewise condemn abortion, regarding it as murder.

Similar condemnations of abortion are found in Canon 63 of the Council of Elvira (306AD); Cannon 21 of the Council of Ankara (314AD); but it is in Cannon 91 of the Quinsext Ecumenical Council (Trullo, 692AD) that the Church’s teaching on abortion took its final expression and was formally codified in The Photian Collection in 883AD, which remains unaltered to this day.

Christianity maintains that abortion is premeditated murder and considers the abortionist, the one who procures the abortion, and the woman who terminates her pregnancy as murderers. In the early canons excommunication (for life and later up to ten years) is prescribed for the penitent, which is the same as for a repentant murderer. Such penances largely are not applied today, the Russian church being an exception. The emphasis is more pastoral in the United States, emphasizing repentance, reconciliation, and the reintegration of the individual into the Church community. The only time that termination of a pregnancy has been tacitly condoned by Christians is where the life of the mother is at stake as in an ectopic pregnancy or a cancerous uterus. These are cases where the surgical procedure to save the life of the mother results in the death of the unborn child. Without medical intervention, both mother and child would likely die.


John (Ad Orientem) said...

"Christians who Embrace Abortion" is an oxymoron.


Alice C. Linsley said...

Your's is a better title!