As the days dwindle to a few before next Tuesday’s Iowa caucuses, GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney’s flip-flop record on abortion is the subject of a recent burst of text messages received by Iowans.
Since Romney is not just a Mormon but a former pastor (“lay clergy”) and ward bishop of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the LDS’ position on abortion should therefore govern his stance on abortion.
Fellowship of the Minds’ co-founder Joan (“Joandarc”) grew up in Salt Lake City and is more knowledgeable about the Mormon faith than I am. The following is from her research into the LDS Church’s official stance on abortion.
According to the book, When Mormons Call, published by Catholic Answers, pages 54 and 55, the actual position of Mormonism on this subject is as follows:
Abortion: Compare the [LDS] church’s statement in its 1988 handbook, Gospel Principles, with that of the 1992 edition:
1988 edition: There is no excuse for abortion unless the life of the mother is seriously threatened (241).
1992 edition: There is seldom any excuse for abortion. The only exceptions are when — 1. Pregnancy has resulted from incest or rape; 2. The life of the woman is in jeopardy in the opinion of competent medical authority; or 3. The fetus is known, by competent medical authority, to have severe defects that will not allow the baby to survive beyond birth. (251).
Prior to the 1992 printing, the Mormon church permitted abortion if the mother’s life were seriously threatened. While appearing stringent, this is a pro-abortion stand. It permitted the killing of the innocent unborn child to “save” the life of the mother–a situation that medical science has rendered virtually nonexistent and which sound moral theology has always rejected as “doing evil that goood may come.”
The more recent Mormon position is of course the “politically correct” one. Since church policy is determined by divine revelation, apparently God has loosened His law.
Ask your Mormon acquaintances about a “fetus.” Chances are, they’ll quote (correctly) leaders’ statements referring to the unborn “child” and innocent “human baby.” Then ask them about their church’s position on abortion. They’ll probably say, “We’re pro-life,” or “Only in the case of the mother’s life.” Then point out the true Mormon position and ask them to justify it. How can the church be so “pro-life” yet permit the killing of an “innocent child” in so many cases?”