AN APOLOGY AND AN INQUIRY
I was wrong. In my previous column, �My Party, My Choice: The Constitution Party Goes Pro-Abort,� I erroneously stated, �As it turned out, the Hansens were to toe the line of their Mormon faith which holds that such children are not innocent and, therefore, legitimate targets of execution.� This is not a true representation of the Mormon teaching on abortion (more on that later), nor is it, as I had also thought, a restatement of something claimed by Christopher Hansen, the Chairman of Nevada State�s affiliate of the national Constitution Party.
For this I sincerely apologize.
The Mormon church�s official position is as follows:
�The Church opposes abortion as one of the most revolting and sinful practices of this day. Members must not submit to, be a party to, or perform an abortion. The only exceptions are the rare cases where, in the opinion of competent medical counsel, the life or health of the woman is in jeopardy or the pregnancy resulted from incest or rape. Even then, the woman should consider an abortion only after counseling with her husband and bishop or branch president, and receiving divine confirmation through prayer.� (LDS General Handbook of Instructions, 1983)
While not included here, one of the 12 apostles of the church, Dallin H. Oaks, also included, �The fetus has severe defects that will not allow the baby to survive beyond birth.� (Dallin H. Oaks, �Weightier Matters,� Speech at Brigham Young University, 1999-FEB-09, at: http://library.lds.org/)
However, my article was stating what I incorrectly thought was the reason for the Mormon position on rape and incest abortions. In retracing my thoughts on this, looking for the source of what I thought, I came across this from the above referenced speech by Oaks:
�The woman�s right to choose what will or will not happen to her body is obviously violated by rape or incest. When conception results in such a case, the woman has the moral as well as the legal right to an abortion because the condition of pregnancy is the result of someone else�s irresponsibility, not hers. She does not have to take responsibility for it. To force her by law to carry the fetus to term would be a further violation of her right.� Ibid. (emphasis added)
Knowing that when a Mormon apostle speaks, it carries a lot of doctrinal weight, perhaps this was Christopher Hansen�s launch point. His own words on this seem to say something like the above�and more:
�You have no power and neither does the government to tell ANYONE including a woman that she does not have the natural right of self-defense or that she must carry the bastard child of a rapist and give aid and comfort to her enemy and any law that you would attempt to pass that did so would be an abomination and a foundation of other laws that promote the slavery of all mankind. The author of such a law can and will only be Satan himself and so I will oppose it with my last breath as it is and always will be anti-Christ, anti-Constitution, anti-justice and anti-liberty.� (From an e-mail conversation with a Constitution Party member)
In addition, Hansen claims that prohibiting abortion under these circumstances is to promote �slavery� of the woman to the Unborn child.
I would say that Hansen overstates what Oaks said when he declares the Unborn-conceived-through-rape as �bastard child� and �her enemy.� The term �bastard� as commonly used, confers something less than innocence in the child�as does saying the child is an �enemy� whom one may kill in �self-defense.� However, though overstated, it is consistent with the line of reasoning that the child is not the mother�s responsibility and may be viewed as an intruder.
I have heard such reasoning before�from NARAL. However, taking a position that the woman has the right to kill the child because she has had a criminal act against her and is not responsible for the child is like saying that the victim of a burglary, who is also not responsible for the damage the crime has caused, is justified in stealing from Sears to replace what was lost. One evil does not justify another evil as compensation for the first.
A number of the Mormons who responded to my statement maintained that the church teaches that all children are completely innocent until they reach a time of accountability. There is no equivalent of the teaching of �original sin� or �total depravity� or being born with the �Adamic nature� in Mormon theology. This was proven to me by those respondents.
That being so, I now have an inquiry to conduct, addressing specifically the Mormon readers.
the Mormon church teaches,
It is permissible to take the lives of Unborn children a. who were
conceived due to rape or incest,
The one thing that struck me about the Mormon respondents was how vehement they were to defend the church against a wrong representation of why their church permitted rape and incest babies to be murdered, but did not seem concerned that the church permits these murders.
It seems rather like straining at a Public Relations gnat, and swallowing a murdered person�s corpse.
So, please accept my apology. I truly mean it. It was not my intention or desire to misrepresent the Mormon doctrine. At the same time, please accept my inquiry in the spirit in which it is made. The question is tough, but it is necessary.
Paul's book: Dark
Cures: Have Doctors Lost Their Ethics can be purchased
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Paul deParrie is a 17-year veteran of anti-abortion street activism, a preacher, and a social critic. He is the author of "Dark Cures: Have Doctors Lost Their Ethics" (Huntington House) available at NewsWithViews Online Store Front.
E-Mail: [email protected].
I have heard such reasoning before�from NARAL. However, taking a position that the woman has the right to kill the child because she has had a criminal act against her and is not responsible for the child...