Adventists, Abortion, and Principled Integrity

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in 2019 in the Spectrum journal (Volume 47 Issue 3) and references the 1992 General Conference guidelines on abortion. Later in 2019, the General Conference voted a new statement on abortion, which can be found here. For more context about the change, one can read a response to that 2019 statement by Professor David Larson.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/11778
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Let me begin : I myself have writtten two certificates for abortion in all my career - you know, psychiatric evaluation ! - -the one especially wiht my human sight of rather saving the mothers and wifes life than loosing the mother and the unborn child - -

    • and we here in Austria have throroughly discussed the matter - our results were just according to the last statements of the GC - fifty years later.

What I missed during those fifty years of discussions within SDA ? Well, apt or not apt, in so many occasions on pepper or fresh air or drinking water the favorite verse from Paul in 1. Cor. 6 : 19 is stressed. Did I miss such quotations on the very matter until now ? Or was such never or just rarely considered ??

(i Cor 6 : 19 is essential for my Biblical anthropology !)

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The hypocrisy of those who cry the loudest for laws forcing women to carrying a fetus is telling as they are also the same ones who in truth are pro-birth not pro-life.

They are of two opposing opinions who with emotionally charged speeches and pleas to save the unborn are the very same ones who with equal passion decry efforts to care for them. They demand rights for the unborn but are outraged when for example tax dollars are spent for medical care of the mother and child during pregnancy or when the childs mother or father needs to take time off work to care for them. They express outraged for when money, resources or time is spent to care for and feed the same ones whom only a short time prior they claimed had a right to life regardless of circumstances.

If they were really concerned about babies they would also be concerned about the full lifecycle of the yet unborn. But they are not, through legislative effort, labor laws for parents, and ideology thwart efforts to support them in utero and postpartum. With often hateful and dismissive rhetoric they blame the same littles ones for the ills of society. Indeed they are pro-birth for they have no interest in or compassion for them after arriving in the world let alone ensuring they are cared for prior to that time. Such persons think they are pious and performing righteous acts but instead the every watchful Angel records their hypocrisy and selfishness in the books of heaven. These are not guiltless and will be held to account for the results of their actions.

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The biological reality is that EVERY pregnancy poses a significant risk to the woman, even with reasonable modern care.

I always ask the person telling me they are ‘pro-life’…how many, if any and what color, are you going to adopt??

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Let’s add one more point to this. These are the same people who cried the loudest when our government tried to protect us with mask mandates and vaccination mandates in order to protect the rest of us. Their cry was that we were violating the right for them to make choices about their own bodies. But they are the very same ones, in the most part, who are now screaming that the unwed mother, the rape victim, the pregnant 15 year old or the pregnant mother who has just been told that her fetus will be most likely born with a defect that will hinder their thriving throughout their entire life, to ask for relief for themselves, as well as their potential baby, they are demanding that the mother must carry that pregnancy to full term. But as soon as that infant comes into the world, their gone. They don’t want to support the mother or the child. They don’t want their tax dollars to support that mother or child. They don’t care about the “life” that they forced into this world.

To say that the right-wing pro-life advocates are truly pro-life is a joke. Most of them are opposed to any kind of social safety net. They are the ones who hated Obama Care, even though it provided health care to the most disadvantaged. They are the ones who mumble under their breath in the grocery lines when they see some struggling single mother paying for her groceries with food stamps. They are the ones who turn their heads the other way and walk past people who are collecting funds for the poor. They are the ones who are demanding that the various agencies clear the streets of the transients sleeping on the sidewalk, not giving a rip as to what happens to them when they are hauled off.

So don’t you dare tell me your pro-life…your just pro-fetus, and when it comes into the world your indifferent. It’s extremely disheartening to see the utter selfishness we are observing in our country today. And…of course, it’s politics. Which is the biggest problem of all.

I loved Howard Stern’s take: All of these children that will be forcefully brought into the world should be dropped off at the supreme court and let those justices take care of them. Great point.

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When surveyed (in at least one survey), many of these types said they really liked the ACA, the exchange where they got cheap insurance with confidence. But when they were asked about Obama care, they said they hated it.

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well, in the context of abortion, if you say you are not your own, and in fact your body isn’t yours, it kind of torpedos the main abortion rights argument…of course the big thing to notice is that this is a christian biblical principle that cannot be made to apply to non-christians without blow back…

substantively, i think this is the major problem with anti-abortion legislation…that is, it’s imposing an essentially christian view that life begins at conception on those who aren’t christians…for instance, Jewish law holds that person status begins at birth…in Islam, life begins at 150 days of gestation…the point is that liberal democracies cannot favour christian beliefs and traditions over other beliefs and traditions and still be democratic…

the fact that we see a GOP continually trying to force what they believe through the courts is troubling…who would have thought that two GOP presidents who lost the popular vote - G.W. and Trump - would be responsible for the hard-core conservative margin we’re seeing on SCOTUS today…it’s interesting that the GOP is all crickets on the substance of the SCOTUS leak, but are instead focusing on the leak itself…and now that Mike Pence is calling for national adoption reform - yes Mike, adoption laws have been the problem all along - will republicans vote for elements of Biden’s Build Back Better plan that call for a stronger social safety net…

Canada’s Liberal government is now distancing itself from anything anti-abortionist…in fact it’s promising to pass legislation enumerating abortion as a right that cannot be overturned in the event of a Conservative government (which seems much less likely now)…

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Jeremy, there we have some problems - I mean, we in a “special” church ! Lagislationj is one thing, my guidelines for my decisions is another !! And what ideas does this very church stress ?

For a long time "we " - as SDAs could hide behind our “State”, there just was the Criminal Law § 144 StGb. Then the Sixties - 1968 ! - were roaring up. - Not our matter ! When I suggested to discuss the Socialists program for the next election, binging the red leaflet into the program session füor our youth program of the season then - this promising the cancelling of § 144 - Gerhard Pfandl heavily opposed : “This for us is no issue !!” - - Soon we had a Socialist government ! And - as a now for long retired SDA pastor told me , sadness in his eyes : Free ways for the abortion of an elders daughter,
who just hoes not have to get pregnant, (such a scandal for us all !all of us !)) because - hurrah ! - now it is possible !

And didn’t you read the words, presented with a smile, by one of SDAs pathologists about stem cell “usage” : “My Church has no stance on it !” - On the matter of those fertilized eggs then not coming to be implated when you practize IVF ?

But we oppose pepper, but not cardamon !

(Since the beginning hereuin Austria we also did not have troubles with “No Sex!!” - Simply we had a criminal law strictly threratening the managers / clercs of hotels, inns, lodges , youth hostels - - and parents and grandparents and aunts !! - with pesecution when making illicent (out of wedlock) sex possible ! §§ 213 ff. StGb ! - "procuring ") - And the kids did not have the back seat of a car available !) (Once upon a time !!)

The religious right is putting in the apparatus needed for enforcement of a Sunday Law:
First, you need highly politicized and polarized justices on the US Supreme Court who are not reticent about depriving Americans of constitutional rights. The right-wing justices on the Court are willing to deny Americans various rights to privacy. Given certain circumstances, these justices could very easily deny Americans, particularly Sabbath-keepers, other rights such as freedom of religion.
Second, you need private vigilantes to assist the state in persecuting Sabbath-keepers. The anti-abortion laws that many states are passing enact a private vigilante system in which the authority of the state is conferred upon private individuals, who are financially rewarded.
Third, you need a justice system that privileges particular special interests while oppressing others. Specifically, you need justices on the Court who have an authoritarian mindset requisite to being willing to uphold freedom of religion for a favored group, such as Southern Baptists, while denying freedom of religion to a disfavored group, such as Sabbath-keepers. The right-wing justices of the Court possess that mindset. For example, the Court has ruled that a Muslim on death row is not entitled to the spiritual assistance of an Imam but a Christian on death row is entitled to the spiritual assistance of a pastor.
Fourth, you need justices on the Court who are pious, full of religious fervor, and eager to engage in culture wars.

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Oh please! There is as much chance of an EGW-style “sunday law” ever being adopted in the US as there is of the trees in the redwood forest sprouting legs and marching on Washington.

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I think the idea was a “universal Sunday law”, which I was taught meant the entire world.

Absolutely zero chance of it happening - either way.

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i think hypocrisy abounds simply because most people don’t think through the implications of what they advocate…it sounds like German adventists are as short-sighted as the rest of us…

no doubt many adventists think Alito’s proposed repeal of Roe v. Wade is exactly right, but they’re not thinking through what the removal of privacy as an implied constitutional right implies…sure, it will overturn abortion, contraception, same sex marriage, essentially all LGBT provisions, inter-racial marriage, and on and on, which i think not a few adventists secretly support…but just wait till it overturns special adventist privileges, like Sabbath observance rights in the work place, and in fact brings in overt Sunday laws, which are intellectually related to what Alito is proposing, despite his assurances…

i just think this entire conservative SCOTUS is illegitimate from start to finish…certainly 4 of the 5 conservative justices - Coney Barrett, Kavanaugh, Gorsuch, Alito - nominated by presidents who lost the popular election - are by definition illegitimate…even the 5th conservative justice, Thomas, is illegitimate, given Anita Hill’s accusations which, in retrospect, should have received much more serious consideration from Biden…and there is additional illegitimacy in the Gorsuch nomination as a result of Garland’s nomination being unethically side-lined; the Kavanaugh nomination in the face of credible rape accusations; and the Coney Barrett nomination that took place in record time while Trump was losing an election, of all things…

SCOTUS is tainted, no question…some of its 5-4 decisions “stink”, to use Sotomayor’s characterization, which we know is true, given that Roberts is contorting himself to look liberal in order to salvage as much as he can…and how long can it be tolerated that SCOTUS’s privacy (translated as secrecy) imperative must be held sacrosanct while citizens’ privacy concerns are being stripped away…certainly all the signatories to the Alito Draft, including Alito, need to be impeached for lying to congress about their regard for Roe during their confirmations…in addition, Thomas should be impeached for not recusing himself while being the sole dissent during the decision to turn over Trump documents to the Jan 6 Committee…the fact that SCOTUS isn’t bound by the ethical standards that all lower courts are is outrageous…

this is undoubtedly true…and i’m not sure all your enumerated considerations are necessary, really…the important point now is the removal by the Alito Draft of the concept of privacy as an implied constitutional right…clearly, the door is now wide open for a Sunday law, which i believe will start when climate change havoc forces serious consideration of the pope’s proposed weekly “family day” to slow down emissions…

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This pokes a hole in the wall of separation between church and state. You need to pull your head out of the sand. Jews believe that life begins at the first breath…Muslims don’t believe it starts at conception. And non-religious people could care less. In the 50’s anti-abortion sentiment was, pretty much restricted to Catholics. Remember, 7 of the 9 justices on the supreme court are Catholic, with a clarification that Thomas is an Episcopalian, who attends a Catholic church.

Start to expect rapid loss of religious freedoms as there will be numerous advances by this satanic force to “Christianize” this country, and I can now see how this could easily spread to the world with Putin, hopefully, soon out of the picture.

And you can thank Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson and James Dobson for their efforts to bring this all down on our heads. They are, or were, about as Christian as my garbage can.

Here’s a quote I coined…so I think it says it all…but since I came up with it, that is only reasonable. “Just having an unwanted child does not a good loving parent make.”

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I may have several posts on this. Here is the first one. A story about an acquaintance.

45 year old female married to an abusive husband. Separates, attempts to reconcile but he is still abusive. After leaving him the final time, she discovers she is pregnant. At this point she is shattered emotionally and financially. She was living in camper on a pick-up truck. No job and enormous debts from the failing business he had put in her name. She already had two children who were grown.

She was healthy but would have been 46 if she carried the fetus to term, the definition of a high-risk pregnancy with no money, no health insurance and not living in a home suitable to raise an infant.

She elected to terminate the pregnancy. She never shared this information with the church. The same church where a pastor told her the only acceptable reason for leaving her husband were if he committed adultery (never mind the verbal and emotional abuse that included him threatening to kill her. The pastor did say “well, she should make sure she’s safe”). She eventually left the church due to the church’s impossibly high standards of perfection that no one was meeting and the hypocrisy of it all (like the church singles group she later joined, only to find out they were all sleeping with each other). She’s much happier no longer being an Adventist.

If the leaked SCOTUS draft is correct, in various states of the US they can force her to carry to term; have her, her doctor and anyone who might have helped can be sued. And at least one state is working on a bill that could have her charged with homicide.

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I’m glad I’m not the only (former) SDA who believes this.

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Abortion has become a political football. To me it a disgrace that it has come to political talking points. I was adopted at birth. I was conceived as a result of a rape in 1951. I often wonder if I would be here if Roe v Wade had be come the law of the land 22 years earlier. So I have a personal reason for opposing abortion. However, I believe some pro life people are just pro birth. They oppose any social programs that would help would be mother’s choose life instead of abortion. What a travesty. I find myself now opposing anti abortion laws that would basically create a bounty to pay someone who rats on a doctor who performs an abortion. My own state of Idaho, basically doubled the Texas bounty to 20k. How pathetic.

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I read the link to the SDA statement on abortion. I don’t see anything that says decision is up to the pregnant woman. I’m guessing in 2019 they removed that?

I read the accompanying texts. Principled people can come to different conclusions. To me, the key issues are in item #2 along with the texts in support of the statement that “God considers the unborn as human life.”.

I would suggest that there is a place for divergent opinions here. When a sperm implants an egg, is this then a human being? Or is it yet a cell or collection of cells that may become a human being someday, but as of yet are just cells?

I find the expressions of support for women in difficult situations to be thin at best.

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Last post. In my view in the public sphere (separate from Adventism, and yet not separate), this subject is not really about either the fetus or the mother. Rather it is a cudgel that each political side can use as a weapon to stir passions and hatred of the other side for the purposes of increasing money, power and influence. As such, we ought to reject both sides because their purpose is bad for democracy.

The reality is that there are solutions to this issue (as there are to all of the contentious issues in our society. That solution will require individuals of good will to be willing to meet and discuss and earnestly work together. That solution would require some sacrifice of deeply held positions on both sides. I think the solutions are relatively simple. I also think they won’t happen because it’s not to the benefit of those in charge to have solutions.

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I see that the real issue is that the GOP believes that the states should decide on the issue of killing babies and not the federal government. The federal government has been led down a path of powers they were never meant to have. Relying on the federal government seems to be a flaw within the democrat part.

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