Chastity: Abortion

Abortion is the practice of murdering a child in the womb and is a clear violation of the command: “Thou shalt not kill.”  (Exodus 20:13)  From a Latter Day Saint perspective, abortion is a vile and evil act that is prohibited by the church.  President Ezra Taft Benson taught: “Abortion must be considered one of the most revolting and sinful practices in this day “we oppose and abhor the damnable practice of wholesale abortion and every other unholy and impure act which strikes at the very foundation of the home and family, our most basic institutions.”

In his address at Brigham Young University on 1999‐FEB‐09 Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles reaffirmed that an abortion is permissible, after “counseling with the local presiding priesthood authority and after receiving divine confirmation” if any of five grounds existed:

(i)The life of the mother is seriously endangered.
(ii)The good health of the mother is seriously endangered.
(iii)The pregnancy was caused by rape.
(iv) The pregnancy was caused by incest.
(v) The fetus has severe defects that will not allow the baby to survive beyond birth.

Elder Oaks justifies a woman’s access to abortion in cases involving rape or incest by quoting a letter that he had received from a fellow LDS Church member. It said: “The woman’s right to choose what will or will not happen to her body is obviously violated by rape or incest. When conception results in such a case, the woman has the moral as well as the legal right to an abortion because the condition of pregnancy is the result of someone else’s irresponsibility, not hers. She does not have to take responsibility for it. To force her by law to carry the fetus to term would be a further violation of her right. She also has the right to refuse an abortion. This would give her the right to the fetus and also the responsibility for it. She could later relinquish this right and this responsibility through the process of placing the baby for adoption after it is born. Whichever way is a responsible choice.” http://www.religioustolerance.org/lds_abor.htm

However, our prophet, President Russel M. Nelson has cautioned us not to allow these “exceptions” to become the focus of the abortion debate.  He says: “But less than 3 percent of all abortions are performed for these two reasons. The other 97 percent are performed for what may be termed “reasons of convenience.” (Russel M. Nelson‐ Reverence for Life)

President Nelson also warns us not to use “quality of life” as the criteria for which we would get an abortion.  He says: “Consider another individual weighing the
consequences of her pregnancy. She was beyond the normal age for bearing children. She announced to her doctor that her husband was an alcoholic with a syphilitic infection. One of her children had been born dead. Another child was blind. Another had tuberculosis. Her family had a history of deafness. Finally she confessed that she was living in abject poverty. If this true historical situation were posed today, many would recommend abortion. The child born from that pregnancy became the renowned composer Ludwig van Beethoven.” (Russel M. Nelson‐Reverence for Life)

And finally, President Nelson warns us against adopting the “pro-choice” argument for abortion: “But once an action has been taken, we are never free from its consequences. Those considering
abortion have already exercised certain choices. To clarify this concept, we can learn from the astronaut. Any time during the selection process, planning, and preparation, he is free to withdraw. But once the powerful rocket fuel is ignited, he is no longer free to choose. Now he is bound by the consequences of his choice. Even if difficulties develop and he might wish otherwise, the choice made was sealed  by action. So it is with those who would tamper with the God‐given power of procreation. They are free to think and plan otherwise, but their choice is sealed by action…The woman’s choice for her own body does not validate choice for the body of another. The expression “terminate the pregnancy” applies literally only to the woman. The consequence of terminating the fetus therein involves the body and very life of another. These two individuals have separate brains, separate hearts, and separate circulatory systems. To pretend that there is no child and no life there is to deny reality. (Russel M. Nelson‐Reverence for Life)

President Nelson then teaches us about when life begins: “When does life begin? It is not a question of when “meaningful life” begins or when the spirit “quickens” the body. In the biological sciences, it is known that life begins when two germ cells unite to become one cell, bringing together twenty‐ three chromosomes from both the father and from the mother. These chromosomes contain thousands of genes. In a marvelous process involving a combination of genetic coding by which all the basic human characteristics of the unborn person are established, a new DNA complex is formed. A continuum of growth results in a new human being. The onset of life is not a debatable issue, but a fact of science. Approximately twenty‐two days after the two cells have united, a little heart begins to beat. At twenty‐six days the circulation of blood begins. (Russel M. Nelson‐Reverence for Life)

President Nelson also warns us against using “population control” as a valid justification for abortion: “Another excuse some use to justify abortion relates to population control. Many in developing nations unknowingly ascribe their lack of prosperity to overpopulation. While they grovel in ignorance of God and his commandments, they may worship objects of their own creation (or nothing at all), while unsuccessfully attempting to limit their population by the rampant practice of abortion. They live in squalor, oblivious to the divine teaching—stated in the scriptures not once, but thirty‐four times—that people will prosper in the land only if they obey the commandments of God. “I, the Lord, … built the earth, my very handiwork; and all things therein are mine. And it is my purpose to provide. … But it must needs be done in mine own way. … For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare.” (D&C 104:14–17; italics added.) (Russel M. Nelson‐Reverence for Life)

The spiritual consequences of Abortion are severe and serious for those who commit such a heinous act.  President Nelson, leveraging his apostolic authority states very plainly: “Now, as a servant of the Lord, I dutifully warn those who advocate and practice abortion that they incur the wrath of Almighty God, who declared, “If men … hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, … he shall be surely punished.” (Ex. 21:22.) (Russel M. Nelson‐Reverence for Life)

President Ezra Taft Benson taught the same principle when he said: “In all seriousness..you who submit yourselves to an abortion or to an operation that precludes you from safely having additional healthy children are jeopardizing your exaltation and your future membership in the kingdom of God. ‐‐‐‐Ezra Taft Benson

 

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