“Every human being is loved by God”

To live or let die? No one takes a decision of such gravity lightly, especially when it comes to unborn life. Here is the New Apostolic Church’s position on abortion.

Deliberately terminating a pregnancy and thereby killing the developing life is a highly controversial topic: the issues here are the right to life of the child, the woman’s right to self-determination, the personal responsibility of the parents, as well as religious and ethical views.

Abortion, however, also has very personal consequences. Apart from the medical risks, the procedure can also have psychological consequences, which is why the parents should give serious thought to the medical, social, and psychological aspects. This is the subject of a paper by the New Apostolic Church, which has been published in the latest issue of community.

The right to protection

“Preserving life whenever possible” is the title of the article in issue 2/2022. The text was written by the Working Group Medicine, which is comprised of medical, psychological and legal experts—both female and male.

“The New Apostolic Church rejects abortions,” the paper clearly states. “The fertilised egg cell (zygote) is an individual life, which enjoys the right to protection. Every human being is wanted, created, and loved by God.” The Church does, however, concede that things are often much more difficult in concrete life situations than in theological theory.

Alternatives and an exception

So the position paper addresses concrete situations in detail: for example, pregnancy in underage girls or in women under guardianship; pregnancy as a result of rape or pregnancies with substantial abnormalities of the child.

Here too, the Church is committed to protecting the developing life, but at the same time it tries to identify alternatives to abortion. This ranges from psychological and financial support to the possibilities of adoption.

One exception is named: “If the diagnosis clearly and unmistakably indicates that the pregnancy endangers the life of the mother, then the Church will put aside its serious reservations about termination of pregnancy and speak out for saving the mother’s life.”

Personal responsibility counts

„“The Church will not give up its attitude to life, but will ultimately respect the decision made by the person responsible,” the paper points out. “The responsibility for a termination lies with both parents.” Even if there are understandable reasons for terminating a pregnancy, the position of the Church should carry special weight, considering the gravity of the decision.

Practical experience shows that the feelings of guilt can sometimes be considerable. As a matter of fact, the Church sees abortion as a violation of the Fifth Commandment. However, the guilt before God resulting from sin can be minimal in some of the circumstances described. “Asking God for forgiveness and receiving grace can also help in coming to terms with the termination emotionally.”

Sympathetic and unconditional

Because of the implications of the decision, the Apostle is the primary contact. He will arrange for the pastoral care. Regardless of the decision taken, the minister should show understanding and ensure unconditional pastoral care.

That means showing the greatest consideration for the experience and situation of the woman. Some women will be uneasy to talk about the subject openly with a man. Here, suitable sisters should be involved.

The express promise: “Mothers or couples who have given serious thought to the medical, personal, and theological perspectives can rely on the respect of the Church for their self-responsible decision for or against a termination of pregnancy, and can count on unbiased pastoral care.”

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Andreas Rother
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