Monday, September 08, 2008

Mormons and Roe v. Wade - Some of the Bare Facts

The LDS position:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes in the sanctity of human life. Therefore, the Church opposes elective abortion for personal or social convenience, and counsels its members not to submit to, perform, encourage, pay for, or arrange for such abortions.
The Church allows for possible exceptions for its members when:
• Pregnancy results from rape or incest, or
• A competent physician determines that the life or health of the mother is in serious jeopardy, or
• A competent physician determines that the fetus has severe defects that will not allow the baby to survive beyond birth.
The Church teaches its members that even these rare exceptions do not justify abortion automatically. Abortion is a most serious matter and should be considered only after the persons involved have consulted with their local church leaders and feel through personal prayer that their decision is correct.
The Church has not favored or opposed legislative proposals or public demonstrations concerning abortion.

The Republican party platform:

“We lament that judges have denied the people their right to set abortion policies...”

“Faithful to the first guarantee of the Declaration of Independence, we assert the inherent dignity and sanctity of all human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution, and we endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children. . . . At its core, abortion is a fundamental assault on the sanctity of innocent human life.”

Fourteenth Amendment:

"All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

Though the GOP (Republican) platform does not explicitly mention Roe v. Wade, it is fairly understood that the proposed amendment will do just that by defining an unborne fetus as a person.

John McCain:

“I do not support Roe versus Wade. It should be overturned.

[Life begins at] the moment of conception. I have a 25-year pro-life record in the Congress, in the Senate. And as president of the United States, I will be a pro-life president and this presidency will have pro-life policies. That's my commitment. That's my commitment to you.”

Sarah Palin:

Wants to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Beliefs abortions should only be legal for life of mother.

“I am pro-life. With the exception of a doctor's determination that the mother's life would end if the pregnancy continued. I believe that no matter what mistakes we make as a society, we cannot condone ending an innocent's life.”

Democratic Platform:

The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to choose a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay, and we oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right. The Democratic Party also strongly supports access to comprehensive affordable family planning services and age-appropriate sex education which empower people to make informed choices and live healthy lives. We also recognize that such health care and education help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and thereby also reduce the need for abortions.
The Democratic Party also strongly supports a woman’s decision to have a child by ensuring access to and availability of programs for pre- and post-natal health care, parenting skills, income support, and caring adoption programs.”

Barack Obama:

Supports Roe v. Wade.

Supports limited partial-birth abortion. (There will be a whole post later on this).

“One thing that I'm absolutely convinced of is that there is a moral and ethical element to this issue. And so I think anybody who tries to deny the moral difficulties and gravity of the abortion issue I think is not paying attention. So that would be point number one.
But point number two, I am pro-choice. I believe in Roe versus Wade. And I come to that conclusion not because I'm pro-abortion but because ultimately I don't think women make these decisions casually. I think they wrestle with these things in profound ways, in consultation with these pastors or their spouses or their doctors and their family members.

"So for me, the goal right now should be -- and this is where I think we can find common ground; and by the way, I've now inserted this into the Democratic Party platform -- is, how do we reduce the number of abortions? Because the fact is is that although we've had a president who is opposed to abortion over the last eight years, abortions have not gone down. And that, I think, is something that we have to ask ourselves.
Well, I am in favor, for example, of limits on late- term abortions if there is an exception for the mother's health. Now, from the perspective of those who, you know, are pro-life, I think they would consider that inadequate, and I respect their views. I mean, one of the things that I've always said is is that on this particular issue, if you believe that life begins at conception and you are consistent in that belief, then I can't argue with you on that because that is a core issue of faith for you.

What I can do is say, are there ways that we can work together to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies so that we actually are reducing the sense that women are seeking out abortions? And as an example of that, one of the things that I've talked about is, how do we provide the resources that allow women to make the choice to keep a child? You know, have we given them the health care that they need? Have we given them the support services they need? Have we given them the options of adoption that are necessary? That, I think, can make a genuine difference.”

Joe Biden:

Supports Roe v. Wade.

Voted for ban of partial-birth abortions.

(I know that it looks like I provided more text for Obama than McCain. I pulled the former quotes by both from the recent Saddleback forum. The statement by McCain was the entirety of his answer.

Roe v. Wade

All abortions must be performed in state-approved facilities.
Abortions for any reason should be legal until fetus reaches point of 'viability.'
Viability is the point at which the fetus can survive outside the womb (usually some time before the third trimester).
Individual states get to determine with the aid of medical professionals at what point they believe viability begins. (For example in Utah viability has been determined to begin at 20 weeks).
States can place limitations and bans on abortion after their determined point of viability. However abortions for the life and health of the mother must remain in tact.

(I got lazy and decided not to link any of the sources. If you want any, I can provide them).


  1. Good posts. Glad to see someone talking about this from an LDS perspective. It's frustrating to hear members of the church saying they're voting Republican based off this issue alone, when they don't realize the complexity of it.

    On a side note, I found out that the following quote from Obama is factually incorrect:
    "Because the fact is is that although we've had a president who is opposed to abortion over the last eight years, abortions have not gone down."

    The number of abortions has declined over the past 8 years. But I don't think that takes any credibility away from his stance. It's also possible that it was only taking legal and recorded abortions into account.

    Anyway, keep up the good work.

  2. well done, there is a phrase in the LDS position that i think puts some what of a kink in helping LDS folk move from their anti-choice or anti-agency views....the part where we are encouraged not to support any activity or whatsoever in obtaining elective abortions. so, are we not between a rock and a hard place? if we support RvW b/c we feel that it upholds our Agency then we are going against our church council by helping make elective abortions possible.

    its a no win situation, no?

  3. ...maybe the whole "avoiding even the *appearance* of evil". I guess a person can be pro-choice, leaving the mother with a choice, and pro-life, still having a belief that abortion is morally wrong. but it would appear that someone who is pro-choice is also okay with taking an innocent life, even if that is not the case. I don't know if that made sense to anyone but myself.

  4. ang,

    one of the big differences between the entire gop and democratic platforms concerning abortion (besides outlawing it completely) deals with whether or not government aid should be made available to pay for abortions. a latter-day saind could then say that abortions should be kept legal, but that they would not support the government in funding any abortions.
    however, if closer examination of the gop platform is made, the denial for funds for abortion are not limited to elective abortions, but to all abortions (which is pretty much the view for all health-care issues in the gop).
    the question still remains as to whether or not abortions for rape or other lds-approved abortions should be given aid. because rape is more common among the lower-class, we must ask if the denial of aid creates more problems for the people who may need that aid the most.

    of course this also points to the problem of determining rape - which will be the subject of a later post.

    in response to your main question, i think that in certain issues (and abortion is one of them), we must side with agency and let others make that moral decision themselves. (more on agency later as well).

  5. elaine,

    you made sense. i think that is perhaps the pressing issue and the most difficult issue.

  6. for some reason i just thought of something i read in the BOM in Alma. basically pray as much as you can; but if you do not act then your prays mean nothing.

    i just keep thinking of the talk talk...overturn overturn overturn. yet when asked what we can do NOW or if it is not overturned or in the face of the reality that abortions will continue to happen and just put the women in more danger....they offer nothing. McCain gives me no hope for action. Obama on the other hand supports my belief in agency and offers up ideas to reduce unwanted pregnancies therefore reducing abortions.

    it appears to me that Obama is the one who actually cares whether or not abortions drastically decrease. and the GOP is spewing what sounds like the easy way for people who do not agree with abortions.

    it is very easy to make laws and not actually focus on the real issues.

  7. thanks for the little summary.

    (as an aside, you once mentioned there was an "author's cut" of the Kimball stride lengthening book. Where can I get news about that?)

  8. life,

    i heard about it from greg kofford a few months ago. i believe there is talk about benchmark books or sam wellers publishing it. i know nothing else.


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