Report of the Ad-Interim Committee on Abortion - PCA Historical ...

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Report of the Ad-Interim Committee on Abortion - PCA Historical ...

POSITION PAPERS6th General Assembly, 1978, Appendix O, page 270REPORT OF THE AD INTERIM COMMITTEE ON ABORTIONAbortion in distinction from miscarriage, is ong>theong> intentional killing ong>ofong> an unbornchild between conception and birth. The moral question raised in any abortion iswheong>theong>r ong>theong> life ong>ofong> ong>theong> unborn child is included in ong>theong> Biblical teaching respecting ong>theong>sanctity ong>ofong> life. The special protection God gives to human life is founded upon Hismaking man "in His own image" (Gen. 1:26, 27. All scripture quotations are from ong>theong>New American Standard Bible). So basic is this to His created order that God declares:"Whoever sheds man's blood, by man his blood shall be shed, for in ong>theong> image ong>ofong> GodHe made man" (Gen. 9:6). This protection is ong>theong>n summarized in ong>theong> sixthcommandment, "You shall not murder" (Ex. 20:13; cf. Westminster Shorter Catechism,pp. 68-69, and Westminster Larger Catechism, pp. 135-136, where ong>theong> requirementsand prohibitions ong>ofong> ong>theong> commandment are set forth).Scripture FoundationThe clear and absolute declaration ong>ofong> ong>theong> sixth commandment, founded uponGod's making man in His own image, defines for us ong>theong> most fundamental questionwhich must be answered from Scripture. Is ong>theong> unborn child a human person in God'simage? While Scripture may not provide a precise scientific statement in answer to thisquestion, ong>theong> ong>theong>ological understanding ong>ofong> man revealed in Scripture leaves no doubtabout ong>theong> continuity ong>ofong> personhood which includes ong>theong> unborn child. Simply, yetprong>ofong>oundly, ong>theong> life resulting from conception is designated "man" both before and afterbirth (Gen. 4:1, Job 3:3). A "man-child" is conceived; ong>theong> unborn child is not less thana man.What we see revealed in Scripture is a marvelous truth, ong>ofong>ten expressed indoxological language, that ong>theong>re is a continuity ong>ofong> ong>theong> individual man from "before ong>theong>foundation ong>ofong> ong>theong> world" into eternity. All life is a gift from our sovereign God. And inwords ong>ofong> adoration, Scripture clearly includes prenatal life. In Psalm 139:13-16, Davidmarvels at God's involvement with him (David between conception and birth. "ForThou didst form my inward parts: Thou didst weave me in my moong>theong>r's womb. I willgive thanks to Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made ...Thine eyes have seen myunformed substance (Hebrew golem, embryo, or fetus); And in Thy book ong>theong>y were allwritten, The days that were ordained for me, When as yet ong>theong>re was not one ong>ofong> ong>theong>m."In ong>theong> New Testament we see this same emphasis in Luke 1:24-56. An unbornchild ong>ofong> six months is said to express ong>theong> human emotion ong>ofong> joy. "When Elizabethheard Mary's greeting, ong>theong> baby leaped in her womb ... For behold when ong>theong> sound ong>ofong>your greeting reached my ears, ong>theong> baby leaped in my womb with joy" (verses 41,44).And in verse 36 ong>ofong> this passage ong>theong> baby is designated a "son", implying continuity.This pattern is seen through Scripture where those in ong>theong> womb are commonly referredto by ong>theong> same language used ong>ofong> persons already born (cf. Gen. 25:22; Job 3:3; Isa.44:2, 49:5; Hos. 12:3).In Psalm 51:5 ong>theong> continuity extends back to ong>theong> actual time ong>ofong> conception."Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my moong>theong>r conceived me." The15


PCA DIGESTpoint ong>ofong> continuity is David's humanness even at conception. To speak ong>ofong> oneself atconception in terms ong>ofong> personal sinfulness is to affirm one's humanity.As ong>theong> Church ong>ofong> Jesus Christ we confess that "God, from all eternity, ordainswhatsoever comes to pass." It should not surprise us, ong>theong>refore, to see this continuityextend even prior to conception. God Himself declares in Jeremiah 1:5: "Before Iformed you in ong>theong> womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you. Ihave appointed you a prophet to ong>theong> nations." It was Jeremiah in ong>theong> womb, not animpersonal organism. God was forming him, as with all His creatures, for his appointedpost-natal responsibilities.The Word ong>ofong> God affirms throughout ong>theong> continuity ong>ofong> personhood both beforeand after birth. Abortion, ong>theong> intentional killing ong>ofong> an unborn child, is to destroy thatcontinuity. Abortion would terminate ong>theong> life ong>ofong> an individual, a bearer ong>ofong> God's image,who is being divinely formed and prepared for a God-given role in ong>theong> world.The continuity ong>ofong> personhood before and after birth is wonderfully underscoredin ong>theong> way Scripture describes ong>theong> sovereign activity ong>ofong> God in conception and birth. InGenesis 1:28 God gave man ong>theong> directive to multiply and to fill ong>theong> earth. In obeyingthis instruction, man reproduced human beings who were also formed in ong>theong> image ong>ofong>God (Gen. 5:1-3). This is not to imply ong>theong> activity ong>ofong> God ceased. As Eve gave birth toCain, she acknowledged, "I have gotten a manchild with ong>theong> help ong>ofong> ong>theong> Lord" (Gen. 4).Psalm 100:3 reminds us that we are ong>theong> Lord's for He has made us. Psalm 127:3 says,"Children are a gift ong>ofong> ong>theong> Lord: ong>theong> fruit ong>ofong> ong>theong> womb is a reward."Conception, ong>theong>n, is not a mere human happening. Apart from ong>theong> sovereignintervention ong>ofong> God, conception (which Scripture designates a divine blessing) does nottake place (Genesis 21:1-2; 30:1-2, 22;1 Samuel 1:19; Job 31:15, 33:4). It wouldong>theong>refore be a willful act ong>ofong> defiance against ong>theong> Creator intentionally to kill an unbornchild whose conception is so intimately a Divine as well as a human act. No childbelongs only to man. He is God's child. And His Word must govern ong>theong> protection andcare ong>ofong> that child both before and after birth.Apart from pro-abortion arguments which seek to place one command ong>ofong> Godagainst anoong>theong>r, denying both ong>theong> inerrancy ong>ofong> Scripture and ong>theong> absolute ethic ong>theong>rein,ong>theong> one argument frequently set forth alleged to be based on Scripture centers aroundExodus 21:22-25. This passage, it is claimed, teaches that ong>theong> unborn child is ong>ofong> lessvalue than a child after birth. Some would claim it to teach that an unborn child wasnot a human person. We ong>theong>refore specifically consider this passage because it is ong>theong>most prominent "proong>ofong> text" ong>ofong> those promoting abortion.Instead ong>ofong> devaluing ong>theong> unborn child or taking lightly his death, ong>theong> exegeticalevidence to ong>theong> contrary is overwhelming. The 1971 report on abortion ong>ofong> ong>theong> OrthodoxPresbyterian Church contains an extended discussion ong>ofong> Exodus 21: 22-25, and ong>theong>following is a portion ong>ofong> that report:The term yeled in verse 22 never refers elsewhere to a child lackingrecognizable human form, or to one incapable ong>ofong> existing outside ong>theong> womb. Thepossibility ong>ofong> such a usage here, as ong>theong> interpretation in question requires, is still furong>theong>rreduced by ong>theong> fact that if ong>theong> writer had wanted to speak ong>ofong> an undeveloped embryo orfetus ong>theong>re may have been oong>theong>r terminology available to him. There was ong>theong> termgolem (Ps. 139:16) which means "embryo, fetus." But in cases ong>ofong> ong>theong> death ong>ofong> anunborn child, Scripture regularly designates him, not by yeled, not even by golem, butby nefel (Job 3:16; Psm. 58:8; Eccl. 6:3), "one untimely born." The use ong>ofong> yeled inverse 22, ong>theong>refore, indicates that ong>theong> child in view is not ong>theong> product ong>ofong> a miscarriage,16


POSITION PAPERSas ong>theong> interpretation in question supposes; at least this is ong>theong> most natural interpretation inong>theong> absence ong>ofong> decisive consideration to ong>theong> contrary....Furong>theong>r: ong>theong> verb yatza' in verse 22 ("go out," translated "depart" in KJV) doesnot in itself suggest ong>theong> death ong>ofong> ong>theong> child in question, and is ordinarily used to describenormal births (Gen. 25:26, 38:28-30; Job 3:11, 10:18; Jer. 1:5, 20:18). With ong>theong>possible exception ong>ofong> Num. 12:12, which almost certainly refers to a stillborn, it neverrefers to a miscarriage. The Old Testament term normally used for miscarriage andspontaneous abortion, both in humans and in animals, is not yatza' but shakol (Ex.23:26; Hos. 9:14; Gen. 31:38; Job. 2:10; cf. 11 Kings 2:19, 21; Mal. 3:11). The mostnatural interpretation ong>ofong> ong>theong> phrase weyatze' u yeladheyha, ong>theong>refore, will find in it notan induced miscarriage, not ong>theong> death ong>ofong> an unborn child, but an induced prematurebirth, wherein ong>theong> child is born alive, but ahead ong>ofong> ong>theong> anticipated time.We should also note that ong>theong> term ason ("harm"), found in both verse 22 andverse 23 is indefinite in its reference. The expression "lah" ("to her"), which wouldrestrict ong>theong> harm to ong>theong> woman in distinction from ong>theong> child, is missing. Thus ong>theong> mostnatural interpretation would regard ong>theong> "harm" as pertaining eiong>theong>r to ong>theong> woman or toong>theong> child. Verse 22 ong>theong>refore describes a situation where neiong>theong>r moong>theong>r or child is"harmed"-i.e where ong>theong> moong>theong>r is uninjured and ong>theong> child is born alive. Verse 23described a situation where some harm is done- eiong>theong>r to moong>theong>r or child or both .... Aninduced miscarriage could hardly be described as a situation where ong>theong>re is "no harm".Verse 22, ong>theong>refore, describes, not an induced miscarriage, but an induced prematurebirth.In this light translations using ong>theong> word "miscarriage" or its equivalent are bothinaccurate and misleading. The intent ong>ofong> this passage appears in ong>theong> followingparaphrase: "And if men fight togeong>theong>r and hurt a pregnant woman so that her child isborn prematurely, yet neiong>theong>r moong>theong>r or child is harmed, he shall be surely fined,according as ong>theong> woman's husband shall lay upon him; and he shall pay as ong>theong> judgesdetermine. But if eiong>theong>r moong>theong>r or child is harmed, ong>theong>n thou shall give life for life, eyefor eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, etc."There are two fundamental principles to be drawn from this passage even if onechooses ong>theong> weaker interpretation in which miscarriage is used and a fine is ong>theong> severestpenalty relating to ong>theong> child. First, ong>theong> passage is obviously not a case ong>ofong> deliberateabortion, ong>theong> intentional killing ong>ofong> an unborn child. It is an accidental premature birth(or miscarriage). If such an accident has a penalty attached to it, any intentional act ong>ofong>this nature would certainly be forbidden. Secondly, a disparity in punishment does notnecessarily imply, let alone prove, a disparity between persons and non-persons. Atmost we can conclude that accidental killing receives a lesser punishment. The passageimmediately preceding this one in question (Exodus 21:20-21) presents a situationwhere a master kills his slave accidentally and escapes without any penalty. Wecertainly would not seek to prove from this passage that ong>theong> slave is less than a humanperson.Given ong>theong> positive command regarding ong>theong> sanctity ong>ofong> life in ong>theong> sixthcommandment, ong>theong> burden ong>ofong> proong>ofong> is on those who would deny ong>theong> preferred exegesiscited above. It is worth noting also that ong>theong> proper understanding ong>ofong> this passage would,if anything, elevate ong>theong> value ong>ofong> ong>theong> unborn child raong>theong>r than devalue his life. Thisappears in that ong>theong> penalty for ong>theong> accidental killing ong>ofong> an unborn child is death, whileScripture explicitly exempts from a capital punishment those who accidentally kill17


PCA DIGESTpersons oong>theong>r than a pregnant woman or her unborn child. This is a strong testimony toGod's concern for and protection ong>ofong> ong>theong> unborn child.Our obedience to ong>theong> Word ong>ofong> God leaves us with no option regarding how weperceive ong>theong> unborn child. He is a person, providentially given and cared for by God,with uninterrupted continuity into post-natal life. There are many explicit and implicitpassages ong>ofong> Scripture which furong>theong>r support this conclusion. We are not givenunlimited or autonomous sovereignty over our own bodies or ong>theong> bodies ong>ofong> oong>theong>rs (cf. 1Cor. 6:15, 7:7). Scripture repeatedly affirms ong>theong> joy and blessing ong>ofong> conception, whilebarrenness is seen as a curse. God's involvement with ong>theong> unborn child has alreadybeen mentioned. We are even told that John ong>theong> Baptist was "filled with ong>theong> HolySpirit, while yet in his moong>theong>r's womb" (Luke 1:15). These and many oong>theong>r referencesare adequately set forth in oong>theong>r studies.Were ong>theong>re to be no support in ong>theong> whole history ong>ofong> ethical and moral thought,were ong>theong>re no acknowledged confirmation from ong>theong> medical sciences, were ong>theong> historyong>ofong> legal opinion to ong>theong> contrary, we would still have to conclude on ong>theong> basis ong>ofong> God'sHoly Word that ong>theong> unborn child is a person in ong>theong> sight ong>ofong> God. He is protected by ong>theong>sanctity ong>ofong> life graciously given to each individual by ong>theong> Creator, Who alone places Hisimage upon man and grants ong>theong>m any right to life which ong>theong>y have.We must again stress, however, that both exegetical options, even ong>theong> one wethink is wrong, have ong>theong> same result for ong>theong> question ong>ofong> abortion, which is notaccidental. Exodus 21:22-25 ong>ofong>fers no support to any who would seek justification forong>theong> intentional killing ong>ofong> an unborn child.Medical Understanding ong>ofong> AbortionAlthough ong>theong> basic considerations ong>ofong> this report are religious and ethical,information provided through scientific means is valuable in helping ong>theong> believer tounderstand and to ong>theong>reby confirm ong>theong> clear teaching ong>ofong> Scripture. We will begin ourconsideration ong>ofong> ong>theong> medical aspects ong>ofong> ong>theong> abortion issue by looking at ong>theong> beginningand continuing development ong>ofong> human life. Although ong>theong>re has been much discussion ong>ofong>when life begins, ong>theong> scientific community does not seem to have much doubt on thisissue. The question is usually raised to obscure ong>theong> real issue, namely, that abortion isong>theong> intentional killing ong>ofong> a living unborn child. The conclusion ong>ofong> ong>theong> First InternationalConference on Abortion held in Washington, D.C., in October ong>ofong> 1967, was that nopoint in time could be found between ong>theong> union ong>ofong> sperm and egg and ong>theong> birth ong>ofong> ong>theong>infant which could not be considered human life. The changes described below aremerely stages ong>ofong> development and maturation.Genetically speaking ong>theong> human being is characterized primarily by ong>theong> fact thatwithin each cell ong>ofong> our body ong>theong>re are forty-six (46) chromosomes. This factdistinguishes us from oong>theong>r created beings. Man was created by God with areproductive potential so that he might be able to obey His commandment to multiplyand replenish ong>theong> earth. In this reproductive cycle ong>theong> sperm from ong>theong> man and ong>theong>ovum or egg from ong>theong> woman is produced by ong>theong>ir respective bodies as ong>theong> end productin ong>theong>ir reproductive cycles. Both ong>theong> egg and sperm will die unless fertilization occurs.After sexual intercourse ong>theong> sperm traverses ong>theong> female genital tract until it reaches ong>theong>Fallopian tube. When ong>theong> woman in her menstrual cycle ovulates, ong>theong> ovum travelsfrom ong>theong> ovary into ong>theong> Fallopian tube. If sexual intercourse has occurred at ong>theong> propertime, fertilization will take place. At conception, which is synonymous withfertilization, ong>theong> sperm permeates ong>theong> egg, and ong>theong> twenty-three (23) chromosomes18


POSITION PAPERSwhich are in ong>theong> sperm and ong>theong> twenty-three (23) chromosomes within ong>theong> egg alignong>theong>mselves to form a forty-six (46) chromosome human cell unlike that ong>ofong> any oong>theong>rliving being. This union ong>ofong> ong>theong> twenty-three (23) chromosomes from ong>theong> woman andong>theong> twenty-three (23) from ong>theong> man brings about ong>theong> beginning ong>ofong> a unique living being.There are no oong>theong>r human beings who have ong>theong> potential or same characteristics as thisone nor will ong>theong>re ever be in ong>theong> future. The genetic structure established at thismoment guides ong>theong> development ong>ofong> this individual in regards to its sex, its physicalcharacteristics, such as skin color, eye color, hair, weight, height, and many oong>theong>rcharacteristics. The only thing that is added is time and food.The development ong>ofong> this unique being begins at this moment ong>ofong> conception andcontinues until death. The intrauterine development, however, is usually separated intothree stages, zygote, embryonic, and fetal. In ong>theong> zygote stage rapid division ong>ofong> cellsoccurs as ong>theong> development and ong>theong> formation ong>ofong> this human being proceeds. In a fewdays ong>theong> zygote moves down ong>theong> Fallopian tube and in about five or six days implantsitself into ong>theong> moong>theong>r's uterus which has been prepared for this act by hormonalinfluences within ong>theong> moong>theong>r itself. The zygote stage lasts through ong>theong> fourth week afterconception. After implantation into ong>theong> moong>theong>r's uterus ong>theong> placenta through which ong>theong>developing baby is nourished is rapidly formed. Within four weeks a precursor to ong>theong>fully developed heart has formed and is actually pumping blood through ong>theong> baby'sdeveloping body. The next stage is called ong>theong> embryonic and exists from ong>theong> fourth toong>theong> seventh week after conception. During ong>theong> embryonic stage all major internal andexternal structures are developed. At ong>theong> end ong>ofong> ong>theong> embryonic stage ong>theong> head, ears,eyes, nose, mouth, legs, fingers, and toes are recognizable though small. The baby atthis point is only about one half inch long. The primitive skeletal system is completelydeveloped by ong>theong> end ong>ofong> ong>theong> sixth week, and an electroencephalogram (brain wavedetector) can detect brain wave activity as early as forty-three days after conception.During ong>theong> sixth and seventh weeks ong>theong> nerves and muscles begin working togeong>theong>r forong>theong> first time, and ong>theong> lips become sensitive to touch. The next and last stage ong>ofong>intrauterine development is ong>theong> fetal which occurs from ong>theong> eighth week to birth. Thisstage is so called because ong>ofong> ong>theong> ease ong>ofong> recognizing human features with ong>theong> unaidedeye. At this point all internal organisms ong>ofong> ong>theong> adult are present. The stomach producesdigestive juices, ong>theong> liver manufactures red blood cells, and ong>theong> kidney is eliminatinguric acid from ong>theong> blood. The arms are still very short, but hands with fingers and toesare recognizable, and legs have knees, ankles and toes. From this point in developmentuntil age 25-27 years when full growth and development is complete ong>theong> only majorchanges will be in size and sophistication ong>ofong> ong>theong> function parts.The lines in ong>theong> hands begin to develop at eight weeks and will remain adistinctive feature ong>ofong> ong>theong> individual. The eyelids and palms ong>ofong> ong>theong> hands becomesensitive to touch at about eight and one-half weeks. At this point if ong>theong> eyelids aretouched, ong>theong> child squints, and if ong>theong> palm is touched, ong>theong> fingers close in a small fist.The sex hormones estrogen and androgen have been identified as early as nineweeks. At ten weeks growth hormone is detectable, and at ten and one-half weeks ong>theong>thyroid and adrenal glands have begun to function. Also at ten weeks it is possible torecord ong>theong> electrocardiogram, and new ultrasonic techniques can be used by ong>theong>obstetrician to detect ong>theong> child's heartbeat.Twelve weeks is a very important milestone in ong>theong> development ong>ofong> ong>theong> babybecause at this point all organ systems are functioning. The child swallows itssurrounding amniotic debris and has bowel movements. The child swims about within19


PCA DIGESTong>theong> amniotic fluid. The child has inhaling and exhaling respiratory movements movingong>theong> amniotic fluid in and out ong>ofong> its lungs preparing itself to breaong>theong> air. Thumb suckingis first noted at this age. The fingernails appear also at this time. The child kicks hislegs, turns his feet, curls and fans his toes, makes a fist, moves his thumb, bends hiswrist, turns his head, squints, frowns, opens his mouth, and presses his lips tightlytogeong>theong>r. The child even at this point can be taught. If a sharp instrument is insertedthrough ong>theong> moong>theong>r's uterus and touches ong>theong> baby, ong>theong> baby would recoil in pain. If thispainful stimulus is preceded by a noise, ong>theong> baby will eventually learn that he is about toget hurt and will recoil in pain prior to ong>theong> stimulus.Growth continues very rapidly during ong>theong> fourth month ong>ofong> life as weightincreases six times, and length eight to ten inches. In ong>theong> fifth month ong>theong> unborn childwill become one foot tall and weigh approximately one pound. Hair begins to grow onong>theong> head and eyebrows, and a fringe ong>ofong> eyelashes appear. The child sleeps and wakesjust as he will after birth, and he may even be aroused functionally by externalvibrations. At eighteen to twenty weeks ong>theong> moong>theong>r perceives fetal movement, and thisis defined as quickening. From ong>theong>n on ong>theong> child develops and adds weight and length toong>theong> time ong>ofong> birth.It must be pointed out here that this developing baby is a separate but dependentnew life with its own chromosomal pattern and at no stage ong>ofong> development can beconsidered as an appendage or part ong>ofong> ong>theong> moong>theong>r's own body. Physiologically it is ong>theong>baby that determines ong>theong> development ong>ofong> ong>theong> pregnancy not ong>theong> moong>theong>r. The baby,however, is highly dependent upon its moong>theong>r for protection and nourishment.Anoong>theong>r area in which factual information is vital for understanding ong>theong> truenature ong>ofong> abortion is ong>theong> means by which it is accomplished. The following is a briefdescription ong>ofong> ong>theong> techniques ong>ofong> abortion commonly used today. The technique mostcommonly used until ong>theong> twelfth week ong>ofong> pregnancy is suction. Under a great deal ong>ofong>vacuum pressure ong>theong> contents ong>ofong> ong>theong> uterine cavity are torn apart and ong>theong>n sucked out. Asecond procedure also used during ong>theong> first twelve weeks ong>ofong> pregnancy is called a D&Cwhich stands for dilitation and curettage. In this procedure ong>theong> cervix is dilated to apoint where a curette or knife-like instrument can be inserted into ong>theong> uterus. Afterdilitation ong>theong> baby is torn apart and cut up with a curette and ong>theong>n is scraped out.During ong>theong> twelfth through ong>theong> sixteenth week ong>ofong> gestation ong>theong> prostaglandin infusionmethod is used. In this procedure, prostaglandin, which is a hormone-like substance, isinjected into ong>theong> moong>theong>r to stimulate premature labor and subsequent delivery. Fromong>theong> sixteenth through ong>theong> twentieth week ong>ofong> pregnancy ong>theong> "salting out" technique isused. In this procedure a sterile, very concentrated and caustic solution ong>ofong> salt isinjected into ong>theong> embryonic cavity which poisons ong>theong> baby and causes it to die. Themoong>theong>r will go into spontaneous labor about twenty-four hours later and will delivervaginally. Anoong>theong>r method is hysterotomy, used after ong>theong> twentieth week until birth. Inthis technique ong>theong> usual operative procedure ong>ofong> a caesarean section is accomplishedexcept that ong>theong> intended result is to remove ong>theong> infant and allow it to die. Virtually allabortions done this way produce live babies who are eiong>theong>r allowed or encouraged todie.Also significant to ong>theong> discussion are complications which can result frominduced abortions. The American College ong>ofong> Obstetricians and Gynecologists hasstated, "The inherent risk ong>ofong> a ong>theong>rapeutic abortion is serious and may be life threateningand this fact should be fully appreciated by both ong>theong> medical prong>ofong>ession and ong>theong> public.In nations where abortions may be obtained on demand considerable morbidity and20


POSITION PAPERSmortality have been reported." This is supported by a statement issued by ong>theong> RoyalCollege ong>ofong> Obstetricians and Gynecologists (Great Britain).Those without specialist knowledge, and ong>theong>se include members ong>ofong> ong>theong>medical prong>ofong>ession, are influenced in adopting what ong>theong>y regard as ong>theong>humanitarian attitude to ong>theong> induction ong>ofong> abortion by a failure toappreciate what is involved. They tend to regard induction ong>ofong> abortion asa trivial operation free from risks. In fact even to ong>theong> expert working inong>theong> best conditions ong>theong> removal ong>ofong> an early pregnancy after dilating ong>theong>cervix can be difficult and is not infrequently accompanied by seriouscomplications. This is particularly true in ong>theong> case ong>ofong> ong>theong> womanpregnant for ong>theong> first time. For women who have a serious medicalindication for termination ong>ofong> pregnancy, induction ong>ofong> abortion isextremely hazardous and its risks need to be weighted carefully againstthose involved in leaving ong>theong> pregnancy undisturbed. Even for ong>theong>relatively healthy woman, however, ong>theong> dangers are considerable.Obviously ong>theong> worst complication resulting from a legal abortion is death itself.In ong>theong> majority ong>ofong> countries where legal safeguards from abortion have been eliminateda woman is more likely to die from legal abortion than she is if she were to carry ong>theong>pregnancy to term. This is true for legal abortions performed on healthy women bylicensed physicians in fully accredited medical facilities.Anoong>theong>r complication centers around pelvic infection. Pelvic infection is acommon sequel to legal abortion. While ong>theong> incidence varies from country to country,consensus reveals an astonishing high rate. The incidence ong>ofong> pelvic infection appears tobe highest two to three weeks after ong>theong> abortion at ong>theong> time when ong>theong> patient has beenlost to follow-up. There is also good evidence to suggest that young women pregnant forong>theong> first time are at much greater risk ong>ofong> infection (55% ong>ofong> New York City abortionsare performed on women pregnant for ong>theong> first time.) These infections are ong>theong> directresult ong>ofong> ong>theong> instrumentation involved in ong>theong> abortion technique and are manifested assalpingitis - "infection in ong>theong> Fallopian tubes or endometritis (infection ong>ofong> ong>theong> lining ong>ofong>ong>theong> womb)." When out ong>ofong> control ong>theong>se infections can cause septic shock with rapiddeath or pelvic thrombophlebitis (inflammation and bloodclot formation in ong>theong> pelvicveins) with sudden death by pulmonary embolus (bloodclot from ong>theong> pelvic veins whichdislodges and is carried to ong>theong> lungs). These infections can also result in sterilitybecause ong>theong>y scar ong>theong> tubes to ong>theong> point where ong>theong>y do no longer function properly.Major hemorrhage is anoong>theong>r complication and can result in death byexsanguination. Again ong>theong> incidence is much too high to be acceptable from a medicalstandpoint. During ong>theong> first year ong>ofong> California's new abortion law 8% ong>ofong> patients neededone or more blood transfusions. It should be mentioned that every time a bloodtransfusion is given ong>theong>re are certain inherent risks, for example allergic reactions andhepatitis which have mortality and morbidity in ong>theong>mselves.The next complication is uterine perforation. The perforation ong>ofong> ong>theong> uterus canoccur as a sequel to dilitation and curettage. This occurs primarily because ong>theong> surgeonoperates by "touch" alone and not under direct vision. Secondly, ong>theong> pregnant uterus ismuch song>ofong>ter than ong>theong> non-pregnant uterus lending itself to easier perforation. Theproblem with uterine perforation is ong>theong> fact that peritonitis (inflammation ong>ofong> ong>theong>abdominal lining) can occur, necessarily leading to an exploratory abdominal operationwith its attendant complications and morbidity.21


PCA DIGESTMenstrual disturbances following abortion are not infrequent. This usuallymeans gross irregularity in ong>theong> appearance ong>ofong> ong>theong> menstrual period, heavy bleeding withong>theong> menses, or complete absence ong>ofong> menstruation. These disturbances may persist formany years and are mostly ong>theong> result ong>ofong> endouterine adhesions or infection.Subsequent pathological pregnancies are quite frequent following abortion, andthis without question represents one ong>ofong> ong>theong> most serious complications ong>ofong> inducedabortion. Pathological pregnancies are ong>theong> following: Premature deliveries, ectopicpregnancies and spontaneous abortions and stillborns. The prematurity rate inCzechoslovakia prior to abortion on demand was 5% which was not much differentfrom ong>theong> United States. Several years later this had increased to 14%. Hungary andJapan have reported similar trends. It should be pointed out that prematurity is ong>theong>leading cause ong>ofong> infant death in ong>theong> United States and one ong>ofong> ong>theong> major contributors tomental and motor retardation. A number ong>ofong> countries have also reported a significantincrease in ong>theong> incidence ong>ofong> ectopic pregnancies (those pregnancies which occur someplace oong>theong>r than ong>theong> womb). In fact, Japan sees ectopic pregnancies in 3.9% ong>ofong> womenwhich is 4-8 times more frequent than in ong>theong> United States. Anoong>theong>r study indicated atenfold increase in ong>theong> relative risk for ectopic pregnancy in a woman with a previousinduced abortion. Ectopic pregnancies are not infrequently life- threatening because ong>ofong>rupture and hemorrhage. Again tubal malfunction secondary to infection seems to beong>theong> prime cause. Spontaneous abortions and fetal death before ong>theong> onset ong>ofong> labor arereported to be significantly more common following legal abortion in those countrieswith weak abortion laws. There is a tenfold increase in ong>theong> rate ong>ofong> second trimesterspontaneous abortions. Complicated labor such as prolonged labor, placenta previa,adherent placenta, and excessive bleeding at ong>theong> time ong>ofong> delivery are also more commonwhen compared to women who have not had legal abortions. Sterility is also acomplication which is related to abortion and which does not appear immediatelyfollowing ong>theong> abortion. Post-operation sterility has ranged in various reports from 1 %to 27.7%. Poland has reported that 6.9% ong>ofong> women were sterile four to five years afterabortion, and Japan has reported 9.7% with subsequent sterility on three year follow-up,and oong>theong>r countries have had similar experiences. There is evidence also to suggest thatsterility has an adverse psychological effect on ong>theong> woman. A number ong>ofong> miscellaneouscomplications occur which deserve mention.1. The Czech's have reported that 33% ong>ofong> patients had decreased sexual libido ninemonths after ong>theong> abortion. Similarly, a study from Poland showed 14% to havedecreased libido four to five years after ong>theong> abortion.2. Changes in ong>theong> coagulability ong>ofong> ong>theong> blood following legal abortions by ong>theong>salting out method have been reported. In almost every woman undergoing saltabortion intravascular coagulation ong>ofong> ong>theong> blood occurs.3. Pregnancies following hysterotomy will need delivery by caesarean section toeliminate ong>theong> possibility ong>ofong> rupture ong>ofong> hysterotomy scar.4. Edometriosis is a common sequel to hysterotomy.5. A particular problem associated with suction curettage is ong>theong> perforation ong>ofong> ong>theong>bladder.The psychiatric sequela ong>ofong> ong>theong> induced abortion are most difficult to elucidatebut are present in a significant degree. ong>Reportong>s on ong>theong> incidence ong>ofong> emotionaldifficulties following abortion vary from 0-85%. The true figures obviously lies someplace between. The pro-abortionist would have us believe that unless an emotionally22


POSITION PAPERSunstable woman's pregnancy is terminated her instability will worsen. They fail tomention that ong>theong>re is a significant degree ong>ofong> emotional instability resulting from ong>theong>abortion.In summation it seems obvious that abortion is not ong>theong> simple uncomplicatedprocedure its proponents would suggest but raong>theong>r a risky medical procedure whicheven on humanistic medical grounds should be carried out only with extreme caution, ifat all.Alleged Special CaseAt this point we want to consider what is frequently alleged to be a special casein which an exception is granted by those who would oong>theong>rwise oppose all abortion.This special case is that abortion may sometimes be necessary to save ong>theong> life ong>ofong> ong>theong>moong>theong>r. The situation is one in which ong>theong> moong>theong>r's very life is threatened by ong>theong>continued existence ong>ofong> a pregnancy. It is posed as a question ong>ofong> one life or ong>theong> oong>theong>r.It is necessary first ong>ofong> all to reduce ong>theong> emotional character ong>ofong> this "special case"with its accompanying misrepresentation. In many instances one would be led tobelieve this is an ethical decision faced regularly by physicians and parents. This is notto deny in any way ong>theong> extremely painful choice when such a decision should confrontus. But medically speaking, such a situation would be extremely rare in today's world.ong>Adong>vances in medical technology and in ong>theong> knowledge and treatment ong>ofong> pregnancycomplications have carried us to ong>theong> point when almost any pregnancy can be carried toterm or to ong>theong> point where premature delivery can be accomplished with good results.The moral and ethical question is more ong>theong>oretical than practical.We have seen how ong>theong> Word ong>ofong> God considers an unborn child as a person,entitled to ong>theong> same provisions God gives for all human life. The destruction ong>ofong> suchlife without proper Biblical warrant is a grave sin. The question must ong>theong>refore beformulated in terms ong>ofong> wheong>theong>r it is ever justifiable under any circumstance to sin,indeed to sin against an absolute prohibition ong>ofong> God Almighty. God's sovereignty andprovidential care govern all things. Being perfect in holiness and righteousness, hatingall sin, God will not place His creature in a situation in which sin would be approved orjustified. To so affirm would be to make God ong>theong> author ong>ofong> sin. If ong>theong> intentionalkilling ong>ofong> an unborn child is sin, ong>theong>re is no situation, no special case, that could warrantits being committed.In explaining ong>theong> sixth commandment, ong>theong> Larger Catechism question 136,states: "The sins forbidden in ong>theong> sixth commandment are, all taking away ong>theong> life ong>ofong>ourselves, or ong>ofong> oong>theong>rs, except in ong>theong> case ong>ofong> public justice, lawful war, or necessarydefense; ong>theong> neglecting or withdrawing ong>theong> lawful and necessary means ong>ofong> preservationong>ofong> life...." If ong>theong>re is to be Scriptural evidence for abortion, it must be in exception toong>theong> sixth commandment through public justice (capital punishment), lawful war, or selfdefense.It can easily be seen that an unborn child could not be guilty ong>ofong> a crimerequiring ong>theong> death penalty, nor could ong>theong> unborn be ong>theong> object ong>ofong> lawful war, leavingonly ong>theong> alleged possibility ong>ofong> self-defense ong>ofong> ong>theong> moong>theong>r as grounds for intentionalabortion.The Scripture speaks to ong>theong> issue ong>ofong> self-defense in Exodus 22:2-3 asserting thatif one is killed while breaking into anoong>theong>r's home, ong>theong> homeowner is not guilty ong>ofong>murder because ong>ofong> ong>theong> aggression ong>ofong> ong>theong> thief; yet if ong>theong> break-in occurs during ong>theong> day,ong>theong> owner would be guilty ong>ofong> murder because seeing ong>theong> thief and comprehending ong>theong>circumstances, ong>theong> homeowner could avoid ong>theong> aggressive confrontation.23


PCA DIGESTSo ong>theong> question is asked, Is ong>theong> unborn child aggressively attacking ong>theong> moong>theong>r,threatening her life? Does ong>theong> mere presence ong>ofong> ong>theong> child constitute aggression? Therecan be no evidence to validate an affirmative answer. To intentionally kill ong>theong> babybecause ong>ofong> an "assumed" health hazard, can not be justified by ong>theong> self-defenseexception to ong>theong> sixth commandment.It must be pointed out that ong>theong>re is a vast difference between ong>theong> threat ong>ofong> deathto ong>theong> moong>theong>r and ong>theong> certain death (intentional) ong>ofong> ong>theong> baby in ong>theong> alleged special casefor abortion. No man, trained physician or not, is able to say with 100% accuracy that awoman will definitely die because ong>ofong> a pregnancy. The woman's life is not in her ownhand or in ong>theong> hands ong>ofong> her physician, but it rests in ong>theong> hands ong>ofong> a loving, sovereignGod, who is holy and righteous. We do not pretend to understand all that God does, norwould we imply that this is an easy question for one who must face it. Like oong>theong>r areasong>ofong> ong>theong> Christian's walk, this calls for us to have a strong faith and trust in God to carry ona pregnancy in ong>theong>se circumstances.The conclusion drawn from Scripture is that all life is precious to God, and Heespecially loves ong>theong> life ong>ofong> ong>theong> innocent (Exodus 21:20-21; Proverbs 6:16-17;Deuteronomy 19:10; Isaiah 59:1-9). Therefore ong>theong>re can be no abortion, and ong>theong>re is no"special case". Our decision, in this matter as in all ong>ofong> life, must be determined byGod's absolute revelation to us in His Word.Legal Aspects ong>ofong> AbortionHaving affirmed throughout this report ong>theong> absolute authority ong>ofong> Scripture informing our decisions, it is neverong>theong>less true that we are aided in our practicalimplementation ong>ofong> Scriptural teaching by our understanding ong>ofong> various oong>theong>r disciplines.We will be aided in our opposition to abortion if we understand something ong>ofong> ong>theong>history ong>ofong> legal developments in regard to abortion.Abortion, with varying degrees ong>ofong> permissiveness, is legal in many ong>ofong> ong>theong>nations ong>ofong> ong>theong> world today. That is, women are permitted to abort ong>theong>ir babies, and ong>theong>irdoctors can perform ong>theong> operation without risk ong>ofong> prosecution. Generally speaking,however, in ong>theong> ancient civilizations this was not ong>theong> case, and ong>theong> practice ong>ofong> abortion,though fairly wide spread in pre-Christian times, was by no means universally approvedand was indeed explicitly condemned as immoral, dangerous, and harmful to ong>theong>general welfare by ong>theong> most important pre-Mosaic law codes and by some ong>ofong> ong>theong> mostcelebrated thinkers, philosophers, and moralists ong>ofong> pagan Greece and Rome.Ultimately ong>theong> Christian influence which was growing in ong>theong> Empire from ong>theong>first century on would deter both ong>theong> practice ong>ofong> infanticide and abortion. It wasthrough ong>theong> influence ong>ofong> ong>theong> Church that Valentinian I, in 374 A.D., made infanticide acapital crime. The early Christian Councils, Elvira (306 A.D.), Chalcedon (451 A.D.),and Constantinople (692 A.D.), which served to shape medieval law, eiong>theong>r declaredabortion an almost unpardonable sin or branded it as manslaughter. The church soinfluenced secular law in ong>theong> middle ages, so strengong>theong>ned ong>theong> concept ong>ofong> ong>theong> sanctity ong>ofong>marriage, ong>theong> home and family, that abortion was forbidden for a period ong>ofong> some sixhundred years. Thus ong>theong> traditional western view ong>ofong> ong>theong> sacredness ong>ofong> human life wasfirmly established by centuries ong>ofong> precedent.A period ong>ofong> legal uncertainty ensued under English Common Law due partly toong>theong> natural limitations ong>ofong> ong>theong> scientific knowledge ong>ofong> that day. Only mild penalties werelevied for abortion before "quickening" because it was felt that prior to that time ong>theong>baby was not actually alive. After "quickening", when life could be felt in ong>theong> womb24


POSITION PAPERSand it was known that life was present, severe restrictions and penalties wereadministered. Apparently ong>theong>re never was a time under Common Law when abortionwas not regarded as a crime. By ong>theong> end ong>ofong> ong>theong> seventeenth century ong>theong> abortion ong>ofong> a"quickened" baby was considered murder or "a great crime", a "great misprison"(felony).Discovery ong>ofong> ong>theong> ovum in 1827 led to a reassessment ong>ofong> ong>theong> significance ong>ofong>abortion. Law followed science, and in 1837 Parliament enacted a new abortion statutethat effectively protected ong>theong> unborn child from ong>theong> moment ong>ofong> conception. The Englishlawmakers, having been shown biological evidence that life began at conception, weremoved to protect that life in every stage ong>ofong> gestation.In ong>theong> United States in ong>theong> nineteenth century several states interpreted ong>theong>Common Law so as to render abortion criminal at all states ong>ofong> pregnancy. Most states,however, did not prosecute for abortion prior to quickening. No state held that abortionafter quickening was not a crime, and almost all ong>ofong> ong>theong> ong>theong>n existing states enactedabortion statutes. A New York statute ong>ofong> 1829 imposed a second degree manslaughtercharge upon any abortionist who caused ong>theong> death ong>ofong> a quickened child or its moong>theong>runless ong>theong> reason was to preserve ong>theong> life ong>ofong> ong>theong> moong>theong>r. The same law requiredimprisonment in ong>theong> county jail not to exceed one year or a fine not to exceed fivehundred dollars for any abortive act prior to quickening.In 1859 ong>theong> American Medical Association protested that ong>theong> quickeningdistinction allowed ong>theong> fetus rights for civil purposes but still did not protect its lifebefore that took place. They assailed ong>theong> unwarranted destruction ong>ofong> human life andcalled upon state legislatures to revise ong>theong>ir abortion laws to conform to ong>theong> newscientific knowledge that life began at conception and should be protected from thatpoint. One by one each state ruled that human life should be equally and fully protectedby law, not from quickening, but from its actual beginning at conception.In 1868 ong>theong> fourteenth amendment was ratified which forbade ong>theong> state to"deprive any person ong>ofong> life, liberty, or property, without due process ong>ofong> law; not deny toany person within its jurisdiction ong>theong> equal protection ong>ofong> ong>theong> laws." The child in ong>theong>womb was regarded as a "person" in ong>theong> legal sense, and for over one hundred years,until 1967, all states fully protected human life from conception until ong>theong> firstpermissive abortion law was passed in Colorado.In June, 1970, when New York passed ong>theong> first law allowing abortion ondemand during ong>theong> first six months ong>ofong> pregnancy, it was ong>theong> sixteenth state to permitabortion for oong>theong>r than very restrictive reasons. After that only one more state, Florida,legalized abortion, while thirty-three states debated ong>theong> issue in ong>theong>ir legislatures. All ong>ofong>ong>theong>se states finally voted against abortion for any reason except to save ong>theong> moong>theong>r'slife.In April, 1972, New York repealed ong>theong>ir liberalized abortion law, but GovernorNelson Rockefeller vetoed ong>theong> repeal, and ong>theong> law remained in force. New York City'sHealth Services ong>Adong>ministration ong>ofong>ficials reported in February, 1971, that approximatelysixty nine thousand abortions were performed during ong>theong> first six months ong>ofong> legalizedabortion in ong>theong> state, about half ong>ofong> ong>theong>m women from oong>theong>r states. As oong>theong>r statesmodified and liberalized ong>theong>ir laws, ong>theong> practice ong>ofong> abortion became widespread.Unong>ofong>ficial statistics in 1972 from fifteen states with ong>theong> most permissive laws indicatedthat at least four hundred thousand pregnancies were terminated in this manner.In 1973 ong>theong> Supreme Court (Roe v. Wade) ruled that ong>theong> termination ong>ofong> anunwanted pregnancy is properly ong>theong> decision ong>ofong> ong>theong> woman and her doctor. This ruling25


PCA DIGESTstruck down all laws against abortion in all fifty states and evaded ong>theong> protection clausesong>ofong> ong>theong> fourteenth amendment by declaring ong>theong> unborn child to be a "non-person" in ong>theong>legal sense, i.e., "legal personhood does not exist prenatally." The new ruling providedfor no legal restrictions at all upon abortions in ong>theong> first three months ong>ofong> pregnancy andno restrictions in ong>theong> middle three months except those needed to make ong>theong> proceduresafe for ong>theong> moong>theong>r. Abortion was even allowed until birth if one licensed physicianjudged that it was necessary for ong>theong> moong>theong>r's health. The Supreme Court's definition ong>ofong>health is revealed in ong>theong> decision ong>ofong> Doe v. Bolton. It said that abortion could beperformed "in ong>theong> light ong>ofong> all factors--physical, emotional, psychological, familial, andong>theong> woman's age--relevant to ong>theong> well being ong>ofong> ong>theong> patient. All ong>theong>se factors may relateto health."The abortion laws ong>ofong> ong>theong> United States are probably ong>theong> most liberal in ong>theong>world. This is evidenced by ong>theong> fact that about one third ong>ofong> ong>theong> abortions performed inong>theong> United States are paid for by federal funds. Several versions ong>ofong> a constitutionalamendment which would protect ong>theong> life ong>ofong> ong>theong> unborn have been introduced intoCongress, but at this writing none have gotten out ong>ofong> committee for floor debate. Anumber ong>ofong> states have called for a Constitutional Convention to amend ong>theong> Constitutionwith a "Human Life Amendment", but this requires a call by two thirds ong>ofong> ong>theong> states,and it has not yet been achieved.A good summary ong>ofong> ong>theong> current legal situation is set forth in ong>theong> Christian ActionCouncil's brochure, "Abortion: What Can I Do?":"There are only four ways in which Roe v. Wade, ong>theong> abortion decision (or anySupreme Court decision) can be overturned:1. The Supreme Court could reverse its own decision in a subsequent ruling.2. The President could try to change ong>theong> Supreme Court's make-up byadding to ong>theong> Court new Justices who value ong>theong> sanctity ong>ofong> life.3. A constitutional amendment can be passed in Congress and ong>theong>nratified by 3/4 ong>ofong> ong>theong> state legislatures within seven years (U.S.Constitution, Article 5).4. A constitutional convention can be called to draft a constitutionalamendment and ong>theong>n pass it through 3/4 ong>ofong> ong>theong> state legislatures withinseven years (U.S. Constitution, Article 5)."We immediately see that (1) is very unlikely. Since 1973 ong>theong> Supreme Courthas reaffirmed its 1973 position. Planned Parenthood v. Danforth, July 1, 1976is even more sweeping. (2) has already been attempted once (by FranklinRoosevelt in 1937 in his Judiciary Reorganization Bill). This effort was viewedas "packing" ong>theong> Court - i.e. with Justices favorable to ong>theong> President's positions.It was soundly criticized by both ong>theong> Congress and ong>theong> press. With ong>theong> delicatebalance ong>ofong> powers in our federal government, transforming ong>theong> Supreme Courtat ong>theong> present time does not seem feasible. We can pray that ong>theong> President willuphold ong>theong> sanctity ong>ofong> life in nominating replacements when vacancies occur inong>theong> Court. (3) and (4) are really ong>theong> only courses ong>ofong> action available to ong>theong>ordinary citizen to effect a change in that 1973 decision. Clearly both involveactive participation in ong>theong> democratic process. Therefore, ong>theong> only effectiveChristian answer to that 1973 Supreme Court decision must be largely a26


POSITION PAPERSpolitical answer. If we do not recognize this, we in effect surrender our rights ascitizens."In all legal discussions we must remember that our authority is not legalprecedent. As with ong>theong> medical testimony, ong>theong>re will be important confirmation ong>ofong> ong>theong>revelation ong>ofong> God's Law, but ong>theong>re will also be abundant evidence ong>ofong> man's sin affectingcivil law. Thus our argument must not be based on legal history but ong>theong> Word ong>ofong> God.From divine revelation we know when life begins and that it is holy to ong>theong> Lord. In thatlight ong>theong> Christian can concur with ong>theong> words ong>ofong> Thomas Jefferson: "The care ong>ofong> humanlife and happiness, and not ong>theong>ir destruction, is ong>theong> first and only legitimate object ong>ofong>good government."The Church's Relation and Responsibility to ong>theong> StateIt is one thing to point out ong>theong> Scriptural foundation, ong>theong> medical understanding,and ong>theong> legal aspects ong>ofong> abortion. But what relation and responsibility does ong>theong> churchhave beyond her own people? Are we indebted to all men by virtue ong>ofong> ong>theong> Word ong>ofong> Godwe have on this matter? One thing is clear. God is God; He is Creator; beside Himong>theong>re is none oong>theong>r. He will not abdicate His throne and submit His laws to a popularvote. The Christian is characterized pre-eminently by obedience, and whenever ong>theong>re isany conflict, ong>theong>re is only one option. "We must obey God raong>theong>r than man" (Acts5:29). But has ong>theong> Church a responsibility to society oong>theong>r than obedience to legitimateauthority?The Church is under orders. The cultural mandate ong>ofong> Genesis 1:28 is givensubstance by God Himself revealing laws to govern its implementation. Throughout ong>theong>Old Testament men ong>ofong> God spoke to kings and nations on ong>theong> basis ong>ofong> revelation. In ong>theong>New Testament ong>theong> great King and Head ong>ofong> ong>theong> Church, Jesus Christ, reiterates thismandate in ong>theong> Great Commission. “All authority has been given to Me in heaven andon earth. Go ong>theong>refore and make disciples ong>ofong> all nations,... teaching ong>theong>m to observe allthat I have commanded you" (Matt. 28:18-20). The command is comprehensive,"teaching ong>theong>m to observe all" that Christ commands, and implies that we who enjoy Hispromised presence are to proclaim His Word ong>ofong> both Law and Gospel. "Thus saysong>theong> Lord" is to be heard until Christ Himself returns.In light ong>ofong> ong>theong>se comments relating ong>theong> universality ong>ofong> God's law for Hiscreation, we want to consider more closely ong>theong> specific New Testament teaching onchurch and state relations. Roman 13 and 1 Peter 2 are fundamental passages, and wewill especially look at Romans 13.Note specifically Romans 13:1, 2:Let every person be in subjection to ong>theong> governing authorities. For ong>theong>reis no authority except from God, and those which exist are establishedby God. Therefore he who resists authority has opposed ong>theong> ordinance ong>ofong>God; and ong>theong>y who have opposed will receive condemnation uponong>theong>mselves.Here we are commanded to obey ong>theong> civil authorities. Why? On what groundsis this obligation set forth? The reason is that in so doing we obey God. "There is noauthority except from God," and in verse 4 ong>theong> state is said to be "a minister ong>ofong> God toyou for good." The context here is not ong>theong> Old Testament ong>theong>ocracy, but pagan, corruptRome! Caesar, a "minister ong>ofong> God" in regards to civil authority.Unhappily Caesar falls far short ong>ofong> bringing his sphere ong>ofong> responsibility underGod's Law. So also ong>theong> government ong>ofong> ong>theong> United States. Yet even in such an27


PCA DIGESTimperfect situation two things are clear. They ought to conform to God's law, and we areobligated to obey even corrupt governments except where it would cause us toviolate God's law. At that point, "We must obey God raong>theong>r than men." But clearlyong>theong>re is ong>theong> responsibility ong>ofong> government to obey God's law, and to ong>theong> extent possible,we as citizens must do all we can to assure ong>theong> state's conformity to that law.As regards our own nation, it was within Christian context that our governmentwas founded. The "establishment ong>ofong> religion clause" or ong>theong> concept ong>ofong> church-stateseparation was never understood as separating ong>theong> state from ethical and moralconsiderations, which is what ong>theong> law ong>ofong> God provides. The separation ong>ofong> church andstate pertains to ong>theong> separation ong>ofong> two institutions and ong>theong>ir respective spheres orfunctions. This does not mean ong>theong>y have a different moral authority. It means ong>theong>church cannot require ong>theong> state to enforce distinctive Christian duties (i.e. participation insacraments or tithing to a particular church, etc.). The state is not exempt from ong>theong>authority ong>ofong> God. God's law is directed to both institutions, church and state, as regardsong>theong>ir respective functions.According to Scripture, ong>theong>n, ong>theong>re can be no question but that both church andstate are divine institutions. Both owe ong>theong>ir authority, not to autonomous humandecisions, but to God. Both church and state have ong>theong>ir sphere ong>ofong> authority, and withinong>theong>ir sphere we are obliged to be in subjection (cf. Rom. 13:1-6; 1 Peter 2:13, 14). Indistinguishing ong>theong>se two authorities, however, we must not miss ong>theong> fullness ong>ofong> ong>theong>state's purpose. The state as ong>theong> servant ong>ofong> God has many duties in ong>theong> service ong>ofong> ong>theong>spiritual realm. Failure in ong>theong>se duties does not relieve responsibility for ong>theong>m.The civil magistrate is responsible to God. He is to discharge his duty accordingto God's will. The Bible is ong>theong> supreme revelation ong>ofong> God's will. Because church andstate are neiong>theong>r subordinate to ong>theong> oong>theong>r but to God, ong>theong> civil magistrate is underobligation to recognize ong>theong> Bible as authoritative in ong>theong> exercise ong>ofong> civil magistracy.The Lordship ong>ofong> Christ in all areas ong>ofong> life is fundamental.Does ong>theong> state's obligation to rule according to God's revelation have anybearing on ong>theong> church. Clearly it does. As ong>theong> repository ong>ofong> God's revelation ong>theong> churchis culpable if she does not inform ong>theong> state about God's will. John Murray gives a goodsummary statement.To ong>theong> church is committed ong>theong> task ong>ofong> proclaiming ong>theong> whole counsel ong>ofong>God and, ong>theong>refore, ong>theong> counsel ong>ofong> God as it bears upon ong>theong> responsibility ong>ofong> allpersons and institutions. While ong>theong> church is not to discharge ong>theong> functions ong>ofong>oong>theong>r institutions such as ong>theong> state and family, neverong>theong>less it is charged todefine what ong>theong> functions ong>ofong> ong>theong>se institutions are, and ong>theong> lines ong>ofong> demarcationby which ong>theong>y are distinguished. It is also charged to declare and inculcate ong>theong>duties which devolve upon ong>theong>m. Consequently when ong>theong> civil magistratetrespasses ong>theong> limits ong>ofong> his authority, it is incumbent upon ong>theong> church to exposeand condemn such a violation ong>ofong> his authority. When laws are proposed orenacted which are contrary to ong>theong> law ong>ofong> God, it is ong>theong> duty ong>ofong> ong>theong> church tooppose ong>theong>m and expose ong>theong>ir iniquity. When ong>theong> civil magistrate fails toexercise his God given authority in ong>theong> protection and promotion ong>ofong> ong>theong>obligations, rights, and liberties ong>ofong> ong>theong> citizens, ong>theong> church has ong>theong> right and dutyto condemn such inaction, and by its proclamation ong>ofong> ong>theong> counsel ong>ofong> God toconfront ong>theong> civil magistrate with his responsibility and promote ong>theong> correctionong>ofong> such neglect. The functions ong>ofong> ong>theong> civil magistrate, ong>theong>refore, come withinong>theong> scope ong>ofong> ong>theong> church's proclamation in every respect in which ong>theong> Word ong>ofong>28


POSITION PAPERSGod bears upon ong>theong> proper or improper discharge ong>ofong> ong>theong>se functions, and it isonly a misconception ong>ofong> what is involved in ong>theong> proclamation ong>ofong> ong>theong> wholecounsel ong>ofong> God that leads to ong>theong> notion that ong>theong> church has no concern with ong>theong>political sphere (Collected Writings ong>ofong> John Murray, I, 255).While Scripture alone is our final authority it is also ong>ofong> value to consider thisissue in light ong>ofong> our Westminster Confession ong>ofong> Faith. There is some confusion today asto wheong>theong>r our speaking out to ong>theong> civil authorities is consistent with our Confession.The specific section which speaks to this states:"Synods and councils are to handle, or conclude nothing, but that whichis ecclesiastical: and are not to intermeddle with civil affairs whichconcern ong>theong> commonwealth, unless by way ong>ofong> humble petition in casesextraordinary; or, by way ong>ofong> advice, for satisfaction ong>ofong> conscience, ifong>theong>y be ong>theong>reunto required by ong>theong> civil magistrate" (Chapter XXXI, 5).Many reacted against ong>theong> abuse ong>ofong> ong>theong> church's power in recent decades andoperate now in an ecclesiastical isolationism. Yet an abuse in one direction is as bad asan abuse in ong>theong> oong>theong>r. Fear ong>ofong> ong>theong> social action movement has caused many ong>ofong> us attimes to superficially appeal to ong>theong> Confession and imply that all communicating to ong>theong>civil government is "intermeddling". While Scripture, and not ong>theong> Confession, is oursupreme authority, ong>theong> Confession itself does not permit such isolation.First ong>ofong> all, such isolationism was not ong>theong> practice ong>ofong> ong>theong> Westminster Divineseven in ong>theong>ir writing ong>ofong> ong>theong> Confession. Chapter XXIII is given over exclusively to"The Civil Magistrate" and defines for ong>theong> state what his duties are. The framers ong>ofong> ong>theong>Confession thought it proper for ong>theong> Church to declare ong>theong> prerogatives and limitationsong>ofong> ong>theong> civil magistrate's jurisdiction. The implication is that ong>theong> Church has ong>theong> rightand ong>theong> duty to declare when necessary what God expects ong>ofong> civil governments. Thewritings and practice ong>ofong> ong>theong> authors ong>ofong> ong>theong> Confession provide no support forecclesiastical isolationism.In Chapter XXXI, 5, we confess that "synods and councils are to handle, orconclude nothing, but that which is ecclesiastical." Again ong>theong> reaction against abuse hasled many to see "ecclesiastical" as restrictive, while in reality it is a broad term. Wehave just noted above how ong>theong> sphere ong>ofong> ong>theong> magistrate's jurisdiction forms about threepercent ong>ofong> ong>theong> content ong>ofong> ong>theong> church's "ecclesiastical" confession (one ong>ofong> thirty-threechapters). For a General Assembly to deal with ecclesiastical matters only is notrestrictive but includes ong>theong> whole counsel ong>ofong> God. The Confession indeed denies ong>theong>church's right to intermeddle in "civil affairs," but we must not regard God's law as"civil affairs" distinct from ong>theong> church. Murray is helpful in his reference to this.But to declare ong>theong> whole counsel ong>ofong> God in reference to political matters,as well as oong>theong>r matters, is definitely an ecclesiastical function and wassurely considered to be such by ong>theong> framers ong>ofong> ong>theong> Confession.Furong>theong>rmore, ong>theong> terms used by ong>theong> Confession ... indicate that what isregarded as beyond ong>theong> province ong>ofong> synods and councils is somethingquite different from proclamation ong>ofong> ong>theong> whole counsel ong>ofong> God as it bearsupon ong>theong> conduct ong>ofong> civil affairs (Collected Writings ong>ofong> John Murray, I,256-267).Ignoring ong>theong> sanctity ong>ofong> life by destroying it through abortion clearly falls withinong>theong> purview ong>ofong> ong>theong> church's ecclesiastical responsibility to speak for God to ong>theong> state.We need furong>theong>r to note that when ong>theong> Confession forbids intermeddling withcivil affairs, ong>theong>re are two exceptions given. The first ong>ofong> ong>theong>se, "unless by way ong>ofong>29


PCA DIGESThumble petition in cases extraordinary," apparently gives opportunity for petitioning ong>theong>state directly in what is specifically commonwealth business. The intent is to grantexceptions in ong>theong> area beyond ong>theong> church's ongoing proclamation to civil government.Whatever areas would be envisioned here would not affect ong>theong> fundamental position ong>ofong>ong>theong> Confession, which is ong>theong> right ong>ofong> ong>theong> church to address issues in ong>theong> political sphereif ong>theong>y touch in extraordinary ways moral and spiritual issues. And even if ong>theong>understanding ong>ofong> "ecclesiastical" given above were in error (which we do not think isong>theong> case), surely our church would be obliged to recognize ong>theong> intentional killing ong>ofong>millions ong>ofong> innocent lives through abortion to be an extraordinary case in which ong>theong>people ong>ofong> God must speak out. One cannot use ong>theong> Westminster Confession to supportecclesiastical isolationism on ong>theong> abortion issue.The oong>theong>r exception given in ong>theong> Confession is "by way ong>ofong> advice, forsatisfaction ong>ofong> conscience, if ong>theong>y be ong>theong>reunto required by ong>theong> civil magistrate."Perhaps ong>theong> only thing that need be said here is that such a request by governmentauthorities is highly unlikely in our nation at this point in time.To speak publicly to our churches and to our government on God's revelationregarding ong>theong> sanctity ong>ofong> life, even at conception, is contrary neiong>theong>r to ong>theong> Word ong>ofong> Godnor our Confession. The church is under orders to proclaim ong>theong> whole counsel ong>ofong> God.This will necessitate speaking God's truth to ong>theong> world in general and civil governmentin particular. We must not say, "Thus says ong>theong> Lord," where He has not spoken. Wemust strive for a unified voice when we speak. And we must exercise extreme cautionin any corporate pronouncement. Those to whom we speak may not listen. But we areobliged to speak to public sin for ong>theong> purpose ong>ofong> proclaiming ong>theong> Word ong>ofong> God, ong>ofong>vindicating God's authority, and honoring ong>theong> Name ong>ofong> ong>theong> Lord Jesus Christ.ConclusionThe fundamental task ong>ofong> ong>theong> church is ong>theong> proclamation ong>ofong> God's Word as itbears upon individuals and institutions. The Holy Scripture, which is God's Wordwritten, is graciously given as ong>theong> power ong>ofong> God unto salvation for those who believe.But it is no less ong>theong> absolute authority given to regulate any institution or individual asregards ong>theong> created life which only God has ong>theong> right to give or take away. On this basiswe believe ong>theong> intentional killing ong>ofong> an unborn child is a violation ong>ofong> God's commandand authority. Scripture considers such a child a person and thus covered by Divineprotection even as a person after birth. Any medical support or historical precedent canonly be ong>ofong> secondary authority when we have a clear Word from God on moralquestions. Yet as ong>ofong>ten is ong>theong> case, a candid evaluation ong>ofong> secondary authoritiessupports ong>theong> teaching ong>ofong> Scripture. All truth is God's truth, and any alleged conflict isthus but a misreading ong>ofong> one area ong>ofong> His truth.We are convinced Scripture forbids abortion. The premise ong>ofong> ong>theong> personhood ong>ofong>ong>theong> unborn child and ong>theong> premise ong>ofong> ong>theong> universal validity ong>ofong> ong>theong> Sixth Commandment,if true, necessitates ong>theong> conclusion that abortion is wrong. In a day in which situationethics has left its mark, ong>theong> question easily arises in ong>theong> minds ong>ofong> some, "But what if?"The familiar objections are ong>theong>n presented: population control, economic hardships,unwanted children, psychological or physical health ong>ofong> ong>theong> moong>theong>r, rape or incest,deformed children, and protection for ong>theong> moong>theong>r's life. We have not dealt with ong>theong>separticular cases with ong>theong> exception ong>ofong> where ong>theong> moong>theong>r's life is threatened. Neiong>theong>rhave we dealt with frequently raised objections such as "freedom ong>ofong> choice" anddangers ong>ofong> illegal abortions. There are two primary reasons for not going into detail.30


POSITION PAPERSOne is practical. It would unnecessarily enlarge this report, and ong>theong>se objections havebeen adequately dealt with in ong>theong> OPC and RPCES ong>Reportong>s and in oong>theong>r readilyavailable sources. The oong>theong>r reason is to emphasize ong>theong> principle set forth in this report.Abortion is wrong; it is sin. God as ong>theong> righteous and holy Judge will not permit sin tobe justified by human "situations." Thus ong>theong> practical application in each ong>ofong> ong>theong>se casesis ong>theong> consistent application ong>ofong> God's absolute prohibition and ong>theong> comfort derived fromong>theong> knowledge that our greatest good is dependent upon our obedience to God.We cannot stress too strongly our authority in this matter. God in His Wordspeaks ong>ofong> ong>theong> unborn child as a person and treats him as such, and so must we. TheBible teaches ong>theong> sanctity ong>ofong> life, and so must we. The Bible, especially in ong>theong> SixthCommandment, gives concrete protection to that life which bears ong>theong> image ong>ofong> God.We must uphold that commandment. There is a danger ong>ofong> weakening our witness byeiong>theong>r retreating from an absolute ethic revealed in God's Word or by uncriticallyassociating ourselves with a humanistic philosophy ong>ofong> right to life based on humanwisdom. The Church as ong>theong> repository ong>ofong> God's revelation must speak from thatauthority and must do so without compromise or equivocation.For Thou didst form my inward parts;Thou didst weave me in my moong>theong>r's womb.I will give thanks to Thee, for I amfearfully and wonderfully madeWonderful are Thy works,And my soul knows it very well.Search me, O God, and know my heart;Try me and know my anxious thoughts;And see if ong>theong>re be any hurtful way in me,and lead me in ong>theong> everlasting way.(Psalm 139:13, 14, 23, 24)Appendix: Selected ResourcesOrganizationsChristian Action Council788 National Press CouncilWashington, D.C. 20045CAC represents an evangelical Protestant voice, seeking to persuadeChristians to involve ong>theong>mselves in constitutional and politicaldiscussion, and to persuade legislators to be attentive to Biblical values.Two excellent brochures are available: "Abortion on Demand?" and ong>theong>very practical, "Abortion: What Can I Do?"Citizens For Informed Consent286 Hollywood Ave.Akron, Ohio 44313Having successfully promoted a local ordinance regulating abortion,Citizens For Informed Consent has become a national clearing house forproviding information to those wishing to introduce similar restrictivelegislation.Local and National Right to Life Groups31


PCA DIGESTRight to Life is a broader based organization, including those fromJudeo-Christian background, which has been effective in pro-life efforts.A good source for general information as well as current issues andopportunities.Audio-Visual"The First Days ong>ofong> Life," a film available from many Right to Life ong>Committeeong>s orPyramid Films, Box 1048, Santa Monica, CA 90406."Crusade for Life" slide/tape program, Box 1433, Whittier, CA 90607."Abortion Kills," a slide/tape program by George Knight, Covenant TheologicalSeminary, 12330 Conway Rd., St. Louis, MO 63141.Miscellaneous Publications"Action Line," 788 National Press Bldg., Washington, D.C. 20045. A Christian ActionCouncil Newsletter."Human Life Review," Room 540,150 East 35th St., New York, NY 10016."Lifeletter," Box 574, Murray Hill Station, New York, NY 10016."National Right to Life News," 1299 Arcade St., St. Paul, MN 55106.Bejema, Clifford E. Abortion and ong>theong> Meaning ong>ofong> Personhood. Grand Rapids: BakerBook House, 1976.Brown, Harold O.J., Death Before Birth, New York: Nelson, 1978.Hilger, Thomas W., Induced Abortion: A Documented ong>Reportong>. Minnesota CitizensConcerned for Life, Inc. 1976.Koop, C. Everett. The Right to Live: The Right to Die. Wheaton: Tyndale HousePublishing, Inc., 1976.Orthodox Presbyterian Church. ong>Reportong> ong>ofong> ong>theong> ong>Committeeong> to Study ong>theong> Matter ong>ofong>Abortion. Philadelphia: O.P.C., 1971.Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod. "Abortion: The Disruption ong>ofong>Continuity." Minutes ong>ofong> ong>theong> 153rd General Synod. Lookout Mountain, TN.,1975.Willke, Dr. & Mrs. J. C. Handbook on Abortion. Cincinnati: Hiltz Publishing Co.,1972.Dr. Carl W. Bogue, ChairmanDr. Warren DivenRev. Thomas CheelyMr. Richard L. KennedyRev. Charles DunahooDr. William RussellRev. William FitzhenryDr. William ThompsonRev. Fred ThompsonRECOMMENDATIONS:Scripture alone gives us ong>theong> revelation from God which governs all ong>ofong> life. Thecommandments are ong>theong> clearest testimony by which we regulate our life and disciplineour church. The Church ong>ofong> Jesus Christ, through ong>theong> sessions, presbyteries, and GeneralAssembly, is responsible to implement ong>theong> Law ong>ofong> God in ong>theong> life and discipline ong>ofong> ong>theong>Church. Failure to do this is an indication ong>ofong> spiritual decay, for which ong>theong> Churchcomes under judgment. Therefore, we recommend to ong>theong> Sixth General Assembly ong>ofong>ong>theong> Presbyterian Church in America ong>theong> following:32


POSITION PAPERS1. That because Scripture clearly affirms ong>theong> sanctity ong>ofong> human life and condemnsits arbitrary destruction, we affirm that ong>theong> intentional killing ong>ofong> an unborn childbetween conception and birth, for any reason at any time, is clearly a violation ong>ofong>ong>theong> Sixth Commandment;ong>Adong>opted2. That presbyteries, sessions, and congregations be encouraged to utilize availableresources so that ong>theong> cruelty and sinfulness ong>ofong> abortion may be fully understood;ong>Adong>opted3. That ong>theong> ong>Committeeong> for Christian Education and Publication, under ong>theong> auspicesong>ofong> ong>theong> Stated Clerk, be directed to have this report published in an acceptablepamphlet format as soon as possible (expenses to be borne by ong>theong> GeneralAssembly), and that this publication be sent to each church and pastor, withadditional copies available for sale through ong>theong> Christian Education andPublication Office, in order that Christians may use this as a guide for ong>theong>ir ownstudy and for distribution by ong>theong>m to governmental ong>ofong>ficials and oong>theong>rs;Referred to ong>Committeeong> ong>ofong> Commissioners on ong>Adong>ministration for financing4. That ong>theong> General Assembly make available through ong>theong> Christian Education andPublications ong>ofong>fice a Slide-Tape presentation on abortion based on ong>theong>presentation by ong>theong> ong>Adong>-ong>Interimong> ong>Committeeong> on Abortion, accompanied by a copyong>ofong> this report;ong>Adong>opted as Amended5. That we remind all Christians ong>ofong> ong>theong>ir duty to show compassionate love andunderstanding to families in distress as a result ong>ofong> pregnancies, and to ong>ofong>fer ong>theong>sefamilies sympaong>theong>tic counsel and help for physical needs where required. Thisduty is especially incumbent upon us as we minister to persons contemplatingabortion. Furong>theong>r, that Presbyteries and congregations give every assistance toChristian groups whose purpose is to help pregnant women to have full termpregnancy raong>theong>r than resorting to abortion. That ong>theong> Courts ong>ofong> this Church andong>theong>ir members give this assistance through ong>theong>ir Deacons, ong>theong>ir Sessions, andwhere possible, through ong>theong>ir women's groups;ong>Adong>opted as Amended6. That all members ong>ofong> ong>theong> Presbyterian Church in America be encouraged to seekto bring about substantial changes in existing legislation so that ong>theong> human lifeong>ofong> an unborn child be recognized and protected, and that special attention be givento informing our elected representatives at all levels ong>ofong> government ong>ofong>God's Word pertaining to abortion and to lift up in prayer ong>theong>se ministers ong>ofong> Godin civil affairs;ong>Adong>opted7. That ong>theong> Presbyterian Church in America invite those churches with whom wehave fraternal relations to unite with us in issuing ong>theong> following declaration:"We condemn ong>theong> intentional killing ong>ofong> unborn children." The Sub-ong>Committeeong>on Interchurch Relations shall arrange implementation ong>ofong> this recommendationong>Adong>opted8. That ong>theong> Stated Clerk ong>ofong> ong>theong> General Assembly, on behalf ong>ofong> ong>theong> PresbyterianChurch in America, be directed to communicate to ong>theong> President ong>ofong> ong>theong> UnitedStates, ong>theong> leaders ong>ofong> Congress, and ong>theong> Chief Justice ong>ofong> ong>theong> Supreme Court, thisreport along with ong>theong> following statement: "God declares in Sacred Scripturethat civil government, no less than ong>theong> Church, is a divine institution and owesits authority to God. The Bible is ong>theong> supreme revelation ong>ofong> God's will andteaches that ong>theong> unborn child is a human person deserving ong>theong> full protection ong>ofong>ong>theong> Sixth Commandment, "You shall not murder". We who love our nation, inong>theong> name ong>ofong> God who alone is sovereign, call upon you to renounce ong>theong> sin ong>ofong>33


PCA DIGESTabortion, to repent ong>ofong> ong>theong> complicity in ong>theong> mass slaughter ong>ofong> innocent unbornchildren, who are persons in ong>theong> sight ong>ofong> God, and to reverse ong>theong> ruinousdirection ong>ofong> both law and practice in this area. The obedience to God whichplaces us in subjection to your rightful authority, requires ong>ofong> us to proclaim ong>theong>counsel ong>ofong> God as it bears upon ong>theong> same God-given authority."ong>Adong>opted as amendedConcern Over:1976, p. 65, 4-57, 3a. The General Assembly answered Overture 4 in ong>theong> affirmativeand expressed its grave concern over ong>theong> murder ong>ofong> hundreds ong>ofong> thousands ong>ofong> ong>theong> unbornthrough widespread practice ong>ofong> abortion and that ong>theong> Assembly appoint a committee tostudy and bring back to ong>theong> 1977 General Assembly a biblical, ong>theong>ological statement onabortion with practical application. [NOTE: This committee reported in 1978 as notedabove.]...That ong>theong> Presbyterian Church in America protest, decry, and abhor this mass slaughterong>ofong> unborn babies who are "persons" by every right ong>ofong> ong>theong> just laws ong>ofong> God and man.And that ong>theong> Presbyterian Church in America call upon every responsible citizen tosupport ong>theong> enactment ong>ofong> moral legislation that will protect ong>theong> life ong>ofong> ong>theong> unborn child.Position on, Amended1979, p. 97, 7-37, III, 3. That Overtures 15 (p. 33), 18 (p. 33), 33 (p. 34), be answeredby amending Overture 15 to read as follows:Whereas, ong>theong> Sixth General Assembly was ong>ofong> one mind in its general consideration ong>ofong>ong>theong> abortion issue, but was divided on ong>theong> question wheong>theong>r abortion might bejustified if deemed necessary to save a woman's life,Therefore, be it resolved that ong>theong> General Assembly revise ong>theong> Assembly's statement onabortion (Minutes ong>ofong> ong>theong> Sixth General Assembly, p. 72) to read as follows:1. That because Scripture clearly affirms ong>theong> sanctity ong>ofong> human life and condemnsits arbitrary destruction, we affirm that ong>theong> intentional killing ong>ofong> an unborn childbetween conception and birth (abortion) is clearly a violation ong>ofong> ong>theong> SixthCommandment in all situations except possibly that in which it appears finallythat no oong>theong>r remedy will save ong>theong> life ong>ofong> ong>theong> moong>theong>r. The Assembly is dividedas to wheong>theong>r this situation would justify abortion. In every case where it isdetermined that it is an immediate medical necessity to terminate a pregnancy topreserve ong>theong> life ong>ofong> ong>theong> moong>theong>r, all possible efforts are to be made to preserve ong>theong>lives ong>ofong> both ong>theong> moong>theong>r and ong>theong> child.ong>Adong>optedPosition Clarified1980, p. 97, 8-69, III, 2. The Overture as amended is as follows:Overture 12: From Evangel PresbyteryWhereas, ong>theong> General Assembly, as a Court ong>ofong> Jesus Christ, should speak with a unitedvoice in affirming ong>theong> sanctity ong>ofong> human life under ong>theong> protection ong>ofong> ong>theong> SixthCommandment.Therefore, Be It Resolved, that ong>theong> Eighth General Assembly clarifies ong>theong> action ong>ofong> ong>theong>Seventh General Assembly and reaffirms ong>theong> statement ong>ofong> ong>theong> Sixth GeneralAssembly on abortion:34


POSITION PAPERS"That because Scripture clearly affirms ong>theong> sanctity ong>ofong> human life andcondemns its arbitrary destruction, we affirm that ong>theong> intentional killingong>ofong> an unborn child between conception and birth, for any reason at anytime, is clearly a violation ong>ofong> ong>theong> Sixth Commandment."ong>Adong>ding to this statement are ong>theong> following affirmations:"Concerning crisis pregnancies in which it appears that ong>theong> premature removal ong>ofong> ong>theong>unborn child from ong>theong> moong>theong>r is a necessary consequence ong>ofong> medical procedureessential to preserving ong>theong> moong>theong>r's life, we affirm that:1. The Sixth Commandment not only forbids ong>theong> taking ong>ofong> innocent life forwhatever reason, but also requires ong>theong> preserving ong>ofong> innocent life whereverpossible.2. The life ong>ofong> ong>theong> moong>theong>r as well as her child comes under ong>theong> full protection ong>ofong> ong>theong>Sixth Commandment and all moral medical wisdom and skill must be used topreserve her life as well as ong>theong> life ong>ofong> her child.3. To say that we are ever placed in ong>theong> position ong>ofong> choosing between two sins(killing ong>theong> child or neglecting ong>theong> preservation ong>ofong> ong>theong> moong>theong>r's life) is tosurrender our belief in ong>theong> sovereign overruling providence ong>ofong> our All-wise andAll-holy God (I Cor. 10:13), and to allege that we must "do evil that good maycome"...a philosophy clearly condemned by Scripture.4. An exception is not made even in ong>theong> extremely rare case in which in ong>theong>judgment ong>ofong> competent medical authorities, ong>theong> unborn child's continuingpresence inside ong>theong> moong>theong>r's body will necessarily lead to ong>theong> moong>theong>r's death. Insuch a case, ong>theong> premature removal ong>ofong> ong>theong> unborn child may be justified,provided that all medical wisdom, judgment, and skill are used to preserve ong>theong>life ong>ofong> ong>theong> child as well as ong>theong> life ong>ofong> ong>theong> moong>theong>r. This premature removal ong>ofong> ong>theong>unborn child shall be at that juncture ong>ofong> time where ong>theong> greatest possibility forrecovery is indicated for both moong>theong>r and child. If life is lost in such a case, andong>theong> death occurs not out ong>ofong> criminal negligence, but merely out ong>ofong> ong>theong> limitationsong>ofong> human knowledge and skill, all has been done morally that could be done. Ifwe cannot save both lives, we are neverong>theong>less morally bound to save ong>theong> life wecan.Grounds: The concern ong>ofong> ong>theong> Sixth General Assembly was to stop abortion. Theconcern ong>ofong> ong>theong> Seventh General Assembly was to preserve ong>theong> life ong>ofong> ong>theong> moong>theong>rin crisis pregnancies. We believe this overture as amended addresses andreconciles ong>theong> concerns ong>ofong> ong>theong> two assemblies.ong>Adong>optedPro-Life Movement1980, pp. 99, 8-69, III, 6. That ong>theong> General Assembly adopt Personal Resolution #1made by Teaching Elder John Ragland and Ruling Elder G. O. Funnells, as edited andamended.Therefore, Be It Resolved that Eighth General Assembly ong>ofong> ong>theong> Presbyterian Church inAmerica recommends its churches to make a concerted effort in ong>theong>ir oppositionto abortion and to develop positive ministries to those considering abortionssuch as evangelism, Christian nurturing, Christian counseling, and provision ong>ofong>financial and material needs to ong>theong> moong>theong>r and her baby, aid with obtainingmedical service, aid with adoption when indicated, and Christian homes (homesfor unwed moong>theong>rs and homes ong>ofong> Christian families who are willing to share ong>theong>ir35


PCA DIGESThomes with a pregnant woman in need ong>ofong> a place to live away from her immediatefamily.ong>Adong>opted1986, p. 187,14-85, III, 2. Response ong>ofong> ong>theong> ong>Committeeong> ong>ofong> Commissioners on Bills andOvertures to Personal Resolution #2 from Lindsey Sampson, p. 80Whereas both ong>theong> 7th and 8th General Assemblies ong>ofong> ong>theong> Presbyterian Church inAmerica affirmed our pro-life, anti-abortion stand;And Whereas thousands ong>ofong> unborn babies are still being killed daily;Therefore, be it resolved that this, ong>theong> 14th General Assembly ong>ofong> ong>theong> PresbyterianChurch in America, reaffirms our church's pro-life and anti-abortion stand, andthat we communicate our position to ong>theong> President ong>ofong> ong>theong> United States, ong>theong>Supreme Court, and ong>theong> United States Congress; furong>theong>r, that we encourage ourpastors and sessions to emphasize this position ong>ofong> our church in ong>theong>congregations and communities in which ong>theong>y serve.ong>Adong>optedNOTE: See also under CHURCH AND STATE ong>Reportong> (pp. 140):1987, p. 459ff, Appendix Q, Part V, "Propriety ong>ofong> ong>theong> Christian's Disobedience to ong>theong>Civil Magistrate in ong>theong> Abortion Controversy."36

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