Some of you may already know that the topic of my doctoral dissertation in religion was From Pro-life to Pro-choice: The Dramatic Shift in Seventh-day Adventists Attitudes Towards Abortion. The following is a summary of the most important discoveries I made after carefully reviewing the Adventist literature dealing with this topic. Some of these things may surprise you, but they reflect what Adventists have published in our own books and periodicals. One of the major sources of information came from magazines such as “Ministry” and “Spectrum.” By the way, the material published by Spectrum was less liberal a few decades ago than what it is today. Here is a summary of what I learned from my research:
From the moment of its inception the members of the Seventh-day Adventist [SDA] religious denomination portrayed themselves as the apocalyptic Remnant that keeps the commandments of God in the midst of almost universal apostasy. One of those commandments clearly forbids killing, yet abortions are taking place inside SDA operated hospitals, both therapeutic and even elective in some of them, while conflicting statements are made by leading officials of the church, with the current president of the General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist affirming that the SDA church is pro-life. To elucidate this apparently enigmatic contradiction, the author of this study decided to investigate this incongruous ethical situation, and made the following discoveries:
- The early SDA pioneers manifested a most determined opposition to abortion.
- Two thirds of those who did express their opinions in the leading, recently published, SDA books and periodicals seemed to be on the pro-life side of this issue, but lacked the power to set the official policy of the church.
- The leaders of the church did delegate the decision power dealing with abortion to the ethicists connected with the medical institutions of the church.
- Most SDA owned hospitals were providing therapeutic abortion several years before the legalization of abortion.
- Fear of revenue loss prompted some SDA hospitals to offer abortion on demand in response to the demands of non-Adventists physicians employed by the church.
- One of these church-owned institutions was recently labeled as an “abortion mill” by a leading church official.
- When pressed for an official statement by the church back in 1970, Neal Wilson, the president of the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists at the time predicted that the church would adopt a pro-choice position regarding abortion, and rationalized said practice as a reasonable way to control the world hunger and population.
- The official Guidelines on Abortion document voted by the church seems to be a mixture of lofty pro-life statements mingled with pro-choice exceptions that render the apparently pro-life policy meaningless.
- Said official Guidelines on Abortion are non-prescriptive in nature, and each SDA institution is free to set their own policies dealing with abortion.
- Official church documents call for the protection of human life, but a leading SDA ethicist has declared that the church has decided not to pinpoint when human life begins.
- Several of the leading pro-life movers within the SDA church have since left the community in order to pursue their independent ministries.
- There has been a seemingly dramatic shift in the SDA church’s attitude towards the sanctity of human life immediately prior and following the legalization of abortion by the Supreme Court of theUnited States of America.
More:===> If this topic is of interest to you, I suggest you secure a copy of the book I recently published entitled: From Pro-life to Pro-choice: The Dramatic Shift in Seventh-day Adventists’ Attitudes Towards Abortion from the printer. Here is the link: http://lulu.com. You will need to type my name, Nic Samojluk, in the blank “Search” space to access my book’s web page.