This is my third and final post in response to the article, Latin America lags on reproductive rights, authored by an outside source and posted on the PCUSA News Service webpage last week. The author, Purnima Mane, is president and chief executive officer of Pathfinder International, “a global leader in sexual and reproductive health.”
The purpose for posting the article on a church denomination website is not easily apparent. There is no Biblical foundation to Mane’s article and no component of ministry or Christian compassion. As I pointed out in my first post, the message is contradictory to the pervasive Biblical themes about human life: that life is precious to God, belongs to Him, and that God desires for his people to know the blessing of children. Mane’s anti-fertility message is not compatible with either Biblical themes or the Book of Confessions that affirms:
“In life and death we belong to God…We trust in God the Holy Spirit, everywhere the giver and renewer of life.” [BOC 10.1 & 10.4]
In the second post, Pediatrician Dr. Patricia Lee June, exposed the weaknesses in Mane’s many undefined terms and fallacious assumptions that presume abortion as “reproductive health” and present “safe” abortion as a remedy for high rates of maternal mortality. Dr. June outlined the risks of abortion to women and the incontrovertible truth that abortion is never safe for the baby who loses his or her life.
Here is why I am concerned about this PCUSA post: it does not reflect love for God.
The most serious concern I have about this posting on the PCUSA website is that it advocates for legal abortion in countries that do not want it. Both parts of that equation: to advocate for abortion—the taking of a human life, and to deny individuals and countries the right to govern themselves according to their deeply held religious beliefs is just plain wrong. What Mane is advocating in her article attacks the two commandments most central to Christian faith. Jesus taught that the whole law of God is summed up in two commandments: “to love God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” and “to love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-40) To promote abortion is a failure to love God because it destroys a unique person that He has created for His own plans and purposes. When a denomination participates in, condones, or promotes abortion (as the PCUSA does) then its members are complicit in direct disobedience to the Biblical prohibitions against killing innocent human life. (Go here for what the Bible says about that) Jesus said, “If you love me you will keep my commandments.” The converse is also true: If we break God’s commandments we fail to love Him.
And it does not reflect love for our neighbors
Advocating for legal abortion in Latin America in countries that do not want it is an act of aggression against our neighbors to the South. It does not show love to force upon a country laws that assault their deepest convictions about human life. Mane even admits that it is the deeply held religious beliefs (she cites Catholics and Islamists) of Latin American countries that stands in the way of “progress” toward the goal of total legalization of abortion and universal access to this violence against the tiniest human beings. She decries the beliefs and laws that protect the unborn and uphold marriage and family:
“However, the lack of progress in ensuring reproductive rights and access to safe abortion in particular comes from the fact that a large number of LAC countries stated formal reservations to many of the rights components in the Program of Action, including concern over abortion, a national belief and/or laws asserting a need to protect life from the moment of conception, and concern over alternate expressions of family beyond that of formal marriage between a man and a woman.”
“. . .These reservations have continued to hamper progress in these areas and produced the situation we see today in this region.”
According to Mane, laws that protect life and uphold marriage between a man and a woman present challenges to the goals outlined in the “Program of Action” (Mane does not identify this Program, but likely is referring to the Millennium Goals which Pathfinder supports).
Our family arguments should not be decided by those outside our membership
Although there is much with which I disagree in the 1992 PCUSA policy on abortion, Problem Pregnancies and Abortion, it does affirm: since all life is precious to God, we are to preserve and protect it.” The policy statement also urges that because we have disagreement on this issue, “As God has expressed love and grace in Jesus Christ, so we are to express that love and grace to one another when faced with this difficult and complex subject.” Posting advocacy articles from outside organizations that promote legalization of abortion on the main PCUSA News Service website is hardly an expression of love and grace!
I will end by quoting Dr. Martha Leatherman, Geriatric Psychiatrist, who posted this response to the Mane article (her comment was apparently censored as it has not yet appeared—so much for love and grace):
God is the author of life. Our Reformed faith is based on trust in and obedience to God. The article says, “One of the basic indicators of reproductive health is the maternal mortality ratio,” yet, what about the mortality of the babies? This article seems to endorse legalized abortion as a way to improve maternal health, but at the cost of the woman’s soul? What is the PCUSA advocating? We should be giving aid and comfort to families--not teaching them to kill their children. Shame on you!