Kerry, abortion and other faiths

ovum-lgAs first reported in the Dubuque Tribune Herald and given greater exposure by The Washington Post, John Kerry has elaborated on his long-stated personal opposition to abortion in contrast with his perfectly prochoice voting record.

“I oppose abortion, personally. I don’t like abortion. I believe life does begin at conception,” Kerry told the Tribune Herald. “I can’t take my Catholic belief, my article of faith, and legislate it on a Protestant or a Jew or an atheist.”

Kerry makes his belief in the sacredness of human life sound like a uniquely Catholic position, something akin to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. But the debate among religions isn’t primarily about when life begins, or whether the number of abortions should be reduced.

Granted, most mainline houses of worship, whether Protestant or Jewish, support abortion rights in varying degrees. But they also express a wide consensus that abortion is a serious matter indeed.

Let’s begin with an admittedly contrarian voice from within the nontheistic community:

Atheist and Agnostic Pro-Life League
Every abortion involves the destruction of an innocent human being’s life, so abortion should be used, if at all, only in extreme cases. At a minimum, abortion should never be used as a substitute for contraception or a fallback position for irresponsible behavior. Accordingly, abortions for “convenience” should be illegal.

The Episcopal Church
All human life is sacred from its inception until death. The Church takes seriously its obligation to help form the consciences of its members concerning this sacredness. Human life, therefore, should be initiated only advisedly and in full accord with this understanding of the power to conceive and give birth which is bestowed by God. It is the responsibility of our congregations to assist their members in becoming informed concerning the spiritual and physiological aspects of sex and sexuality.

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Because we believe that God is the creator of life, the number of induced abortions is a source of deep concern to this church. We mourn the loss of life that God has created. The strong Christian presumption is to preserve and protect life. Abortion ought to be an option only of last resort. Therefore, as a church we seek to reduce the need to turn to abortion as the answer to unintended pregnancies.

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
While Presbyterians do not have substantial agreement on when human life begins, we do have agreement that taking human life is sin.

Reform Judaism
All life is sacred in Judaism. Although an unborn fetus is precious and is to be protected, Judaism views the life of the mother as paramount, placing a higher value on existing life than on potential life. Women are commanded to care for the health and well being of their bodies above all else. Therefore, there are several instances in Judaism where abortions are not only condoned, but are mandated.

The Southern Baptist Convention
Children, from the moment of conception, are a blessing and heritage from the Lord.

The United Church of Christ
God has given us life, and life is sacred and good. God has also given us the responsibility to make decisions which reflect a reverence for life in circumstances when conflicting realities are present. Jesus affirmed women as full partners in the faith, capable of making decisions that affect their lives.

The United Methodist Church
Our belief in the sanctity of unborn human life makes us reluctant to approve abortion. But we are equally bound to respect the sacredness of the life and well-being of the mother, for whom devastating damage may result from an unacceptable pregnancy. In continuity with past Christian teaching, we recognize tragic conflicts of life with life that may justify abortion, and in such cases we support the legal option of abortion under proper medical procedures. We cannot affirm abortion as an acceptable means of birth control, and we unconditionally reject it as a means of gender selection.

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  • Todd Granger

    Doug, you might want to consider adding a statement from another secular group, Feminists for Life:

  • Darrell Grizzle

    Thanks for taking the time to compile these statements, Doug. Here’s yet another unexpected pro-life group to add to your list:

    Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians

    At first, the atheist/agnostic group seemed anachronistic to me, but then I remembered that Nat Hentoff is a pro-life agnostic.

  • Jeff Downs

    I heard yesterday that John Edwards, during one of his court cases had a baby (from the womb) speaking through him. Even though today, he is very pro-abortion.

    Just found your site. Keep up the good work.

    Jeff Downs

    Resource Index/Blog,

  • Brian

    I have a problem with this. Its a simple A=B. B=C. therefore A=C type thing

    Kerry believes that life starts at conception (Life = Conception)

    Kerry believes that we should allow abortion (Conception = Can be ended)

    Therefore Kerry believes that Life can be ended.

    He is in favor of murder. I could at least respect him if he tried to claim that life didn’t start at conception.

  • Joshua

    I once knew a woman in her 80′s who had an abortion in 1922. It was a botched back-alley one. She nearly bled to death and couldn’t even go to a doctor for fear that she would be jailed.

    The doctor who did it, denied it even a she sat in his waiting room hemmoraging.

    While I think abortion is a grave sin it is

    1) Between the woman and God

    2) Something that is gonna happen

    3) SOmething that is best reduced not altogether outlawed

  • thessalonica ivla

    abortion is the most stupid thing i have heard of it is drving me crazy if think that abortion isnt killing then you have some issues have you read the dictory lately

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