Do These Religions Have the Answer?
IN A moral quandary over the abortion question, many seek the guidance of their spiritual leaders. How do these respond?
The Catholic Church takes a staunch position against abortion, teaching that life begins at conception. Some priests are politically involved and call on the pope to excommunicate Catholic politicians who cast pro-abortion votes. Nevertheless, many Catholics are for abortion and call for liberalization.
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) reports that 46 percent of pastors “do not believe the Bible teaches that abortion is wrong.” The church’s official stand is pro-abortion.
The 16th General Synod of the United Church of Christ resolved that it ‘upholds the right of men and women to have adequate family planning services and to safe legal abortion as one option.’
The Evangelical Lutheran Church policy states that abortion “ought to be an option only of last resort”; yet it refused to call abortion a “sin” or to say that “life begins at conception.”
The Southern Baptist Convention is strongly antiabortion. But the American Baptist Church states: “We are divided as to the proper witness of the church to the state regarding abortion. Consequently, we acknowledge the freedom of each individual to advocate for a public policy on abortion that reflects his or her beliefs.”
Judaism is divided, the Orthodox branch taking a largely antiabortion stand, while Reform and Conservative Jews largely favor abortion.
Islam allows abortion for any reason for the first 40 days of life but only for a threat to the mother’s life thereafter. The Hadith says that the fetus is “40 days in the form of a seed, then he is a clot of blood for a like period, then a morsel of flesh for a like period, then . . . there is sent to him the angel who blows the breath of life into him.”
Shintoism holds no official position and leaves abortion to personal choice.
Hindus, Buddhists, and Sikhs teach a general respect for life. But they are not embroiled in debate on the abortion issue, since they believe in reincarnation; abortion merely sends the unborn baby on to another life.