Alt SS — AbortionBy: Stephen Marsh
If we are going to have discussions about doctrine and about things that matter or that truly affect us, it would not hurt to have one on abortion.
“The Church opposes elective abortion for personal or social convenience. Members must not submit to, perform, encourage, pay for, or arrange for an abortion. The only possible exceptions are when:
1. Pregnancy resulted from rape or incest.
2. A competent physician determines that the life or health of the mother is in serious jeopardy.
3. A competent physician determines that the fetus has severe defects that will not allow the baby to survive beyond birth.
Even these exceptions do not justify abortion automatically. Abortion is a most serious matter and should be considered only after the persons responsible have consulted with their bishops and received divine confirmation through prayer.”
What are the implications of this position? It does not take the bright line approach of some faiths (e.g. some Catholics who believe that the mental or physical health of the mother should be sacrificed for the unborn). So, bumper stickers aside, abortion is not murder.
However, abortion is also not something that the bishop or others have a veto over. It is something that someone can receive divine approval of. It is a choice, and ultimately the choice of the person involved.
Why is that? Might it be because the issue is by far personal, intense and far reaching? Take a child who is born with defects that will result in death. The timing of the death, the implications and the way that they embroil others can be devastating and incredibly far reaching. For some, having the child and having it die in their arms might be the blessing they need. For others it might well be the last overwhelming matter of cost, both financially and emotionally, that destroys them.
Regardless, it is a decision not lightly made, and one that needs the support of the Spirit — but it is also one that is intensely personal and inappropriate for intrusion.
How would you teach a lesson so as to remind all of the sanctity of life, the need for the care of those around us (as in the case of a pregnant person who has been raped and who faces mental anguish beyond their ability to cope), and the duty to respect the spiritual decisions of others in regards to intensely personal issues?
What points have I missed, and what points should be excluded?
Caveat. I’ve been through the death of a child. I’ve been through heroic medical attempts to save a child born with a significant heart problem. I’ve watched others struggle. I’ve seen the devastation caused by the struggle. I’ve also known others who have been blessed by it. I’m afraid that I really do not see that “one size fits all” applies here, beyond it being an intensely personal choice that should have less intrusion and more faith and love.
But, as those who have read my other posts know, I can be wrong, sometimes completely wrong.