I want to share with you, the readers of Advent Life, an exchange of views with a blogger named Beverly who seemed to defend the pro-choice view of abortion:
Beverly Wrote: “An absolutely FALSE analogy, and I should know, because I was on the committee that prepared the statement that was voted by the church, which would eliminate 95% or more of abortions if followed ion(you do realize that the hospitals can be advised but not coerced by the church?)”
I Answered: Eliminating 95 percent of abortions performed in Adventist hospitals is great, but not good enough. Suppose that instead of killing innocent human beings we were dealing with raping in church owned facilities. Would your objective be a 95 percent reduction in the number of rapes? Isn’t killing a greater offense than rape? A woman who has been raped can with God’s grace recover from the terrible ordeal. The victims of abortion can never have such privilege!
The idea that the church can only advice but not require is false. This is evident by the fact that the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists [GC] is considering doing away with Unions that are not following the decision of the church.
Think about this: For several decades our Washington Adventist Hospital offered elective abortions to their patients with impunity. Did the church ever warned this institution to stop this or forfeit the use of the “Adventist” name?
Compare this with what happened to the “Adventists for Life” organization whose objective was to protect the life of the unborn. GC lawyers complained to Facebook and this pro-life web page disappeared from cyber space overnight.
The message Adventists sent to the world was: If you are engaged in killing unborn babies you are protected by the church, but if you want to save those babies from a sure death, the church will take swift action against you.
Don’t tell me that the church has no power to control over its Adventist institutions!
You wrote: “See Glenn’s comments …”
I did, but my view slightly differs from Glen’s. I do agree with Ted Wilson’s desire that a revival and reformation takes place in our church, but said reformation must include a confession of past sins.
In 1970, Ted’s dad, Neal Wilson, made a big mistake by opening the door for elective abortions to take place in some of our medical institutions when he made the following public announcement:
“Though we walk the fence, Adventists lean toward abortion rather than against it. Because we realize we are confronted by big problems of hunger and overpopulation, we do not oppose family planning and appropriate endeavors to control population.”
Ref.: George Gainer, The Wisdom of Solomon? Spectrum 19/4 (May 1989): 38-46.
You said: “The church has a good statement, …”
A document that justifies the violation of the commandment designed by the Creator for the protection of every human being’s right to life cannot be rightly labeled as “good.” It can only be describes as wrong, sinful, and rebellious.
Those guidelines were created by human beings and were designed to alter what God had written with his own finger on tablets of stone. These guidelines represent human tradition. We used to blame the Catholic Church for replacing God’s Word with tradition and we have done the same. Rome altered the Fourth Commandment, while we did the same with the Sixth.
You added: “which went through a long discussion period and approval by the divisions; …”
If the abortion guidelines were approved by the Divisions, why were they never submitted to a vote by the General Conference in session? The issue of women’s ordination, which does not pose a threat to human life, was voted three times by the world representatives in GC session, how come a life and death issue like abortion was never included? It seems to me that we are majoring in minor issues and minoring in major ones.
You then wrote: “you’ll know it’s vastly tightened up as to when the procedure is allowed over a previous statement, and does not approve of “elective abortions”
Yes, recently the church attempted to distance itself from abortion on demand, but our guidelines on abortion are still the guiding principle for many of our medical institutions and innocent and healthy unborn children’s lives are still cut short at the request of pregnant women in Adventist institutions.
Some years ago, when our church was competing with Catholics for the privilege of building a new hospital in Maryland, the main argument of our hospital reps was that Catholic should be denied said right because they do not offer abortion services to their patients.
You added the following: “But every statement produced by church commissions, as far as I have been able to determine, are only “advisory” for its healthcare organizations; there is no power of enforcement attached.”
True, but the church has control of the “Adventist” trade name, which means that it could require entities offering abortion services to cut its connection to the church. There are several health corporations using the Adventist name with impunity, and they control the majority of Adventist hospitals.
The church needs to repent of this serious violation of God’s holy Law.
You wrote: “Many years ago, the church dissasociated itself from its hospitals legally (at least in developed countries), because of ascending liability. So no, it can’t have it both ways–no financial liability, and still control policies.”
It looks like the church does have it both ways, because an Internet search revealed the following corporations using the “Adventist” trade mark name:
Adventist Health System/US, Adventist Health System [Florida], Adventist Health System of the Indian Ocean, Adventist Health System/West, PorterCare Adventist Health
It these health organizations are really free and independent from the Adventist church, they should drop he “Adventist” name; and if the church wants to be free from the moral responsibility of the thousands of abortions performed in some of the hospitals under their care, the church should demand that these medical organizations stop using the “Adventist” trade name.
The church should also do away with the Adventist “Guidelines on Abortion” document that justifies the killing of innocent unborn babies under a variety of circumstances. How can we claim that we no longer profit from abortion if we have those guidelines on our books?
BTW, I recently wrote to the Adventist Health System and asked them what their policy was regarding abortion. The official answer I received clearly stated that said guidelines on abortion are used by the hospitals under their care.
You also wrote: “Most Adventist hospitals do very few elective abortions.”
This is morally equivalent to saying: “We kill only a few innocent human beings,” or “We are guilty of only a few rapes.” I do have some abortion statistics for some of the Adventist hospitals; they are in the thousands.
You wrote: “What part of “to save the life/health of the mother” don’t you understand?”
My view is this: The role of physicians is to save as many lives as they can. If they can save only one life instead of two, this is still pro-life. The question that must be asked is: “Was the physicians objective to save the lives of both the mother and her baby or to kill the baby?”
You wrote: “Read the work of a number of theologians to understand the differences of opinion on the subject–most are more conservative than the Bible, which considers life to begin when the child takes its first breath.”
I have done that! I am the author of two books on abortion and my doctoral dissertation dealt with this topic. Your suggestion goes directly against what is taught in biology 101. The life of every human being begins at conception. The only difference between the creation of Adam and the rest of us is the manner oxygen is supplied to the new human being.
Finally, you said: “The church’s policies are based on the overall principle that God gives freedom of choice to individuals, and it is not up to the state to either mandate or forbid”
Yes, I am free to shoot at the president, but if I do I may probably end in jail or the electric chair. Eve was free to eat of the forbidden tree, but look at what price—a price you and I are still paying. The church cannot forbid abortion to individuals, but if killing of innocent human beings is taking place in the facilities under the church care, it has the power and the duty to request that said organizations drop the “Adventist” name and act independently from the church.