By the Reverend Dr. Ray Wm. Smith,
National Board-Certified Counselor and Coach
1 THE NATURE AND VALUE OF HUMAN LIFE, p. 292, https://www.pcusa.org/site_media/media/uploads/_resolutions/the-nature-and-value-of-human-life.pdf
2 THE NATURE AND VALUE OF HUMAN LIFE, p. 286, https://www.pcusa.org/site_media/media/uploads/_resolutions/the-nature-and-value-of-human-life.pdf
5 THE NATURE AND VALUE OF HUMAN LIFE, p. 295, https://www.pcusa.org/site_media/media/uploads/_resolutions/the-nature-and-value-of-human-life.pdf
6 THE NATURE AND VALUE OF HUMAN LIFE, p. 295, https://www.pcusa.org/site_media/media/uploads/_resolutions/the-nature-and-value-of-human-life.pdf
Abortion and Christians:
Since by definition abortion involves doing harm to the fetus, the question becomes whether there are circumstances in which the obligation to protect from harm is (a) in conflict with the obligation to do no harm and (b) more consistent with the value of respect for life. There are several sets of circumstances which may raise this question, including the circumstances of the fetus, of the woman and of dependents. 1
She was a teenager and I was her 26-year-old pastor. She was pregnant due to incest and rape. She had decided to have an abortion, and I decided, for her to make an informed decision, to discuss with her a resource on the biblical theology of the Presbyterian Church I served. She studied with me and was certain she made the best decision at the time. I held her hand during her abortion and wiped her tears as she wept. I will never forget it. I’m certain she will never forget it either.
I pray God used my presence there to show her His grace and unconditional love.
The resource on this matter is over 40 years old and still available online. “The purpose of this paper2 shall be both to provide resources for persons as they deal with such matters as abortion, euthanasia, human experimentation, bio-medical ethics, capital punishment, war and other matters where the issue of the beginning or termination of human life must be faced, and to set forth the worth of human life as we experience it, following Jesus Christ.” (Suicide was later added to the matters.)
There are passages in the Old Testament when God was angry about sin and included killing the unborn as part of the punishment of sin. Other biblical passages support the value of human life from conception or first breath. For Christians to make decisions about abortion, there is wisdom in seeking good counsel, biblical principles, probable emotional and psychological consequences, and the ethical question, “what is best for all concerned?”
The values conflict is the obligation to do no harm and to protect from harm.
In 1975, about the same time the church struggled with the sanctity of human life, American advice columnist Ann Landers asked her readers if they wished they had never had children due to the grief they suffered from their kids.3 Drugs, sex, Watergate and Vietnam took a toll on the children of parents who were mad and sad. Thousands of parents wrote to the newspapers saying they wished they had not had their child. Many people alive today might be glad the parents did not have a chance for a “do-over” regarding a pro-life choice.
Researchers say “Abortion is not a cause of mental health problems” based upon many good studies.4 As a parish pastor and then a pastoral counselor, I have seen a variety of emotions from grief to relief experienced by people who have obtained or rejected an abortion.
For your further consideration:
1) Induced abortion is the willful destruction of the fetus. Therefore, the decision to terminate a pregnancy should never be made lightly or in haste.
2) The willful termination of pregnancy by medical means on the considered decision of a pregnant woman may on occasion be morally justifiable. Possible justifying circumstances would include medical indications of physical or mental deformity, conception as a result of rape or incest, conditions under which the physical or mental health of either mother or child would be gravely threatened, or the socioeconomic condition of the family. The procedure should be performed only by licensed physicians under optimal conditions and with appropriate medical consultation and ministerial counseling, preferably by her own Minister.
3) Laws concerning abortion should reflect principles set forth in this paper.
4) Medical intervention should be made available to all who desire and qualify for it, not just to those who can afford preferential treatment.
5) The church should develop a greater pastoral concern and sensitivity to the needs of persons involved in “problem pregnancies.” Such persons should be aided in securing professional counseling about the various alternatives open to them in order that they act responsibly in the light of their moral commitments, their understanding of the meaning of life, and their capacities, as parents.”5
The Resolution continued:
One of the greatest needs is for guidance for young persons, pregnant women, persons engaged in medical service, and others faced with immediate and pressing decisions about abortion. To such persons we offer the following considerations for their guidance:
(1) Any decision involving the possibility of new life is a serious moral decision, not to be taken lightly. Persons involved need to think through carefully, prayerfully and responsibly their decisions. There is no place for casualness, either by those persons who confront the issue most directly, or by those whose involvement is more indirect.
(2) The emergence of human life is a continuing process, in this process there is no point at which we can clearly say, ‘Here for the first time we have to do with a human being.’ “However, there seems to be a qualitative difference between decisions made before conception and decisions which interrupt the process after conception, when ‘new life’ (genetically defined) is present. The closer one moves to birth, the more agonizing is the decision about ending a pregnancy. Therefore, contraception is morally preferable to abortion, and abortion becomes less justifiable (and less safe medically) as pregnancy proceeds.
(3) There are situations where existing life and relationships are so endangered by the birth of a child that abortion may become a responsible step to take.
(4) The legal and medical developments are likely to thrust the issue of abortion more and more upon the individual as a personal decision. However, the good of the community and of society at large must be factors in the decision that a person makes. Laws establishing the freedom and integrity of persons to make such decisions do not concede the moral issues involved.
(5) Not only do persons in this situation need moral guidance, they need the care and support of others, especially the church. While we respect the freedom and integrity of persons as they make these decisions, we are called to act in the knowledge that we are members of one another. The church through its counselors and members must stand by persons who make these difficult decisions, giving them help, love and care in living with the consequences of their choice. Most importantly, we must help them to know the reality of the love of God.
(6) Pregnancy and child-bearing can and should be a blessed and happy choice.”6
I did post late term abortion for a Christian physician and patients with PTSD from it.
So, do Christians have abortions? Yes, every day.
Do some Christians feel guilty about having an abortion? Yes, every day.
Do some Christians feel grateful about having an abortion? Yes, every day.
Do some Christians feel mega churches should spend billions on babies instead of buildings? Yes.
Would you like “ministerial counseling” before or after an abortion? You can use telehealth from the privacy of your home; call 509-466-6632 to Healthy Counseling Center to arrange a convenient appointment for you.