Abortion has become a public issue with lines of debate sharply drawn. Much debate stems from different perceptions of when life begins. Many differences reflect varied priorities and values: for some the primary value is preservation of human life; for others it is quality of life. The Mennonite and Brethren in Christ churches have long affirmed that God wills abundant life for all people, and have been concerned with both the preservation and the quality of life. These concerns have been expressed in opposition to war, military conscription and capital punishment. They have also been expressed in positive efforts to enhance the dignity and sanctity of human life, such as work to alleviate poverty through relief and development projects. We affirm the statements and guidelines on abortion adopted by the Mennonite and Brethren in Christ conferences. In harmony with these statements, we affirm the following:
Sanctity of Human Life:
* We accept the Bible as the written form of God’s revelation to us and the ultimate guide for faith and practice.
* We understand the Bible to teach that people are created in the image of God and that all human life is sacred and should be protected.
* We affirm that the Bible reflects special concern for the poor, the weak, the helpless, the stranger, the widow and the orphan.
Responses to Abortion:
* In light of the spiritual and ethical erosion in our society, we need to accept our responsibility to recognize and protect the sanctity of human life.
* We affirm and commit ourselves to develop attitudes of social acceptance of the single parent, male and female, without endorsing their actions leading to the pregnancy.
* We commit to show concern for the individuals who decide to relinquish their children, as well as seek to prevent the suffering, often a living death, of unwanted children by providing adoptive homes and other support systems.
* We appeal for prayerful support of those who are confronted with hard decisions and for a spirit of sensitivity and Christian love toward those who view this issue from a different perspective.
* We commit to encourage preventive measures and alternatives to abortion, as well as support for the persons who make these decisions; such as counseling resources, adoption, economic assistance (like subsidized childcare and welfare), caring facilities for those who choose to let their pregnancy go full-term, foster-parenting, and supporting families with developmentally disabled children.
* We acknowledge that, whether legal or illegal, women in desperate circumstances will continue to seek abortions. We commit to work toward a world in which the ills of a materialistic dehumanizing society would be cured by divine love and acceptance and thus eliminate this need.
* We commit to provide Christian education in the meaning and responsible expression of human sexuality for both young and old, male and female.
* We commit to inform ourselves and our constituency of a realistic understanding of the whole issue of abortion with its related considerations, and give expression to such understanding as we have opportunity.