The Salvation Army are to be commended for the work they do and the compassion they show for the poor, the weak and the marginalised. At this time of year in particular, they are there for so many people and their families, bringing to them the true spirit of Christmas. However, their International Positional Statement on abortion unfortunately does not continue to support those who are the most vulnerable (in the most difficult of circumstances) – the unborn child.
Despite declaring the following position on the sanctity of life:
The Salvation Army believes in the sanctity of human life. Humankind was created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). All people – without exception – are of value to him, holding a special place in his creation (Psalm 8:5), irrespective of age, gender, race, religion, health or social status, or their potential for achievement. The Bible makes it clear that human life is sacred: it is God who gives life (Acts 17:25) and God who decides when it ends (Psalm 104:29). In particular the scriptural principle of the right to life of innocent human beings is firmly established (Isaiah 59:7, Jeremiah 22:3).
the Salvation Army believes:
that termination can occur only when
- Carrying the pregnancy further seriously threatens the life of the mother; or
- Reliable diagnostic procedures have identified a foetal abnormality considered incompatible with survival for more than a very brief post natal period.
In addition, rape and incest are brutal acts of dominance violating women physically and emotionally. This situation represents a special case for the consideration of termination as the violation may be compounded by the continuation of the pregnancy.
In allowing abortion in each of these circumstances the life of the unborn child is completely devalued. If the Salvation Army truely believe that it is God who gives life and God who takes it away, why in tragic circumstances, is it okay for another to make that decision?
If the pregnancy seriously threatens the life of the mother, it is not okay to directly kill the unborn child to save her life. This argument of course, is a favourite of pro-aborts as they can use it to justify any situation. Were a mother to die if no treatment was undertaken (very rare), the principle of double effect would come into play. For example, if a woman had a cancerous uterus, the doctor would need to remove the uterus in order to save her life. If the woman is pregnant, the unintended outcome of this surgical procedure is the death of the unborn child (when the surgery is done prior to viability outside of the womb). However, the surgeon must wait as long as practical in order to give the child the best chance of survival.
The unborn child who has an anomaly that is “incompatible with life” needs to be loved and protected more than ever. While the child is still in the womb, mothering is simple. Love can be radiated to the baby and a bond formed. When the child naturally dies (either before or after birth) parents can grieve knowing that they were proper parents to their baby. To end the baby’s life prematurely is to say that the child had no worth. The Salvation Army should be very careful here, as acceptance of abortion in this situation will lead to acceptance of abortion of an unborn child diagnosed with Down Syndrome, Spina Bifida or other condition which is compatible with life.
A child conceived in rape or incest is not guilty of the sin of his/her father. Any baby that is conceived through these horrendous violations cannot be held responsible for any ongoing trauma that the woman may experience. In fact many women who have lived through this have said how healing it was to have the baby, as something good had come out of the crime. To have an abortion after being raped is much more traumatic, and more of a violation than giving birth could ever be.
In releasing this International Position Statement on abortion, the Salvation Army have gone against the very heart of who they are and marginalised the most vulnerable in society. Unfortunately they have begun the slippery slide to accepting abortion on demand.