Paragraph 5

Sanctity of Life

“We declare the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed. We affirm the sanctity of life and of its importance in God’s eternal plan.”

A CLOSER LOOK

Sentence A
We declare the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed.

See also paragraph 4, sentence C [Between husband and wife].

Physical Intimacy

1 Cor. 11:11
Neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.

Procreation

Ps. 139:13–16
Thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.

Eccl. 11:5
As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all.

Isa. 44:2, 24
The Lord … made thee, and formed thee from the womb, which will help thee. … He that formed thee from the womb, I am the Lord that maketh all things.

D&C 132:63
After she is espoused, … [it is] to fulfil the promise which was given by my Father before the foundation of the world, and for their exaltation in the eternal worlds, that they may bear the souls of men; for herein is the work of my Father continued, that he may be glorified.

I submit to you that you will never be more like God at any other time in this life than when you are expressing that particular power. Of all the titles he has chosen for himself, Father is the one he declares, and Creation is his watchword—especially human creation, creation in his image.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “Of Souls, Symbols and Sacraments,” BYU devotional, Jan 1988; condensed version in “Personal Purity,” General Conference, April 1998.

 

The human embryo is the same individual as the human organism at subsequent stages of development.  there is only a difference in degree of maturation, not in kind, between any of the stages from embryo, to fetus, infant and so on.

It is important to note that embryological evidence shows that the human embryo is a whole, although obviously immature, human being; it is not a mere part. This is a crucial point: human tissues or human cells, whether body cells or gametes, are indeed human. … [T]he human embryo, from fertilization onward, is fully programmed to actively develop himself or herself to the next mature stage along the path of human development.
George, R. P., & Lee, P. (2009). Embryonic human persons. Talking Point on morality and human embryo research. EMBO reports10(4), 301–306. https://doi.org/10.1038/embor.2009.42

“Human life begins at the time of conception. … Human life is present throughout this entire sequence from conception to adulthood and that any interruption at any point throughout this time constitutes a termination of human life. … This is human life at every stage.”

Dr. Alfred M. Bongioanni, professor of pediatrics and obstetrics at the University of Pennsylvania. Report, Subcommittee on Separation of Powers to Senate Judiciary Committee S-158, 97th Congress, 1st Session. 

Surrogate pregnancies sever natural maternal bonding that takes place during pregnancy. A study in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry found: “Surrogacy showed higher levels of adjustment difficulties” and “the absence of a gestational connection to the mother may be more problematic.” The study also reported that such difficulties “may have been under-reported by reproductive donation mothers who may have wished to present their children in a positive light.”

Golumbok, S., Blake, L., Casey, P., Roman, G., and Jadva, V., “Children born through reproductive donation: A longitudinal study of psychological studies,” Journal of Psychology and Psychiatry 54:6 (2013), p. 653–660.

Surrogacy market revenue to cross $27.5 billion by 2025. Surrogacy market value is projected to secure over 24% CAGR up to 2025, propelled by … growing demand for assisted reproductive technologies. The majority of surrogate mothers are between the age group of 21 to 37 years [and] will drive the segmental growth. No legal framework regarding surrogacy … has led to lucrative growth of the regional market.
Ugalmugle, S., & Swain, R., Surrogacy Market Share Report 2025: Global Projections,” GMInsights.com, Dec 2019. 

“Children born through surrogacy are much more likely to suffer from low and very low birth weights. In addition, a 2014 study from the Journal of Perinatology found a 4–5 fold increase in stillbirths from pregnancies through assisted reproductive technologies.”
See Alexander, J., and Levi, L., “Intracranial Hypertension in a Patient Preparing for Gestational Surrogacy with Leuprolide Acetate and Estrogen,” Journal of Neuro-Opthalmology 33 (2013): 307–318.

The New York State Task Force on Life and the Law stated that commercial surrogacy “could not be distinguished from the sale of children and that it placed children at significant risk of harm.”
See European Parliament resolution of 5 April 2011 on priorities and outline of a new EU policy framework to fight violence against women, New York State Task Force on Life and the Law, Surrogate Parenting: Analysis and Recommendations for Public Policy.

Sentence B
We affirm the sanctity of life and of its importance in God’s eternal plan.
Sanctity of Life

Jer. 1:5
Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee.

Jer. 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Psalm 139:13-16
For you were created in my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth; Your eyes saw my unformed body, all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. 

Isa. 44:2, 24
The Lord … made thee, and formed thee from the womb, which will help thee. … He that formed thee from the womb, I am the Lord that maketh all things.

Psalm 139:13-14
Thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. 

Job 31:15
Did not he that made me in the womb make him? and did not one fashion us in the womb?

D&C 84:27
John [was] filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother’s womb.

1 John 4:19
Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.

“Our being with God “in the beginning” means that you have been you for a long time. Hence the Apostle John correctly wrote that “[God] first loved us” (see 1 Jn. 4:19). Likewise, amid the mortal turbulence, we learn who other mortals really are—our spiritual brothers and sisters, not functions, rivals, or enemies. Moreover, we should have a special sanctity and regard for human life.”
Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “How Choice a Seer!” October 2003 General Conference

Since the beginning of man, God has taught of an absolute respect for human life. From the very first moment of his being until the last breath of his life, there is a veneration for life which includes those in being, but not yet born. …
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The exercise of a man or woman’s sacred procreative powers makes each a partner with God in creation and brings to them in parenthood their greatest happiness. This divine partnership also brings their greatest privileges and most weighty responsibilities. Since becoming a parent is such a transcending blessing, and since each child is so precious and brings so much happiness, a cardinal purpose of marriage and of life itself is to bring forth new life within this partnership with God.
President James E. Faust, “The Sanctity of Life.” April 1995 General Conference

Abortion

Ex. 20:13 (Mosiah 13:21)
Thou shalt not kill.

D&C 59:6
Thou shalt not … kill, nor do anything like unto it.

Isa. 49:1, 5, 15 (1 Ne. 21:1, 5, 15)
The Lord hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name. … The LORD … formed me from the womb to be his servant. … Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.

Gen. 25:21
Rebekah his wife conceived. And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the Lord. And the Lord said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb. … And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb.

Isa. 66:9
Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? saith the LORD: shall I cause to bring forth, and shut the womb? saith thy God.

Ps. 22:9–10
Thou art he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother’s breasts. I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou art my God from my mother’s belly.

Jer. 1:5
Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee.

Isa. 13:18
They shall have no pity on the fruit of the womb; their eye shall not spare children.

Deut. 27:25
Cursed be he that taketh reward to slay an innocent person.

Job 31:15
Did not he that made me in the womb make him? and did not one fashion us in the womb?

Ex. 21:22
If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, … he shall be surely punished.

Deut. 19:10
That innocent blood be not shed in thy land … and so blood be upon thee.

1 Cor. 3:16
Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

Rom. 9:11
The children [were] not yet born, neither having done any good or evil.

D&C 18:10
Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God.

Luke 1:15, 41–44
He shall be great in the sight of the Lord, … and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb. … When Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: and she spake out with a loud voice, … Blessed is the fruit of thy womb. … For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.

D&C 84:27
John [was] filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother’s womb.

From the perspective of the plan of salvation, one of the most serious abuses of children is to deny them birth. … Many laws permit or even promote abortion, but to us this is a great evil. … There is a tragic irony in the multitudes of children eliminated or injured before birth while throngs of infertile couples long for and seek babies to adopt.
President Dallin H. Oaks, “Protect the Children,” General Conference, October 2012.

Abortion, which has increased enormously, causes one to ask, ‘Have we strayed so far from God’s second great commandment—love thy neighbor—that a baby in a womb no longer qualifies to be loved—at least as a mother’s neighbor?
Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Behold, the Enemy is Combined,” General Conference, April 1993

When the controversies about abortion are debated, “individual right of choice” is invoked as though it were the one supreme virtue. That could only be true if but one person were involved. The rights of any one individual do not allow the rights of another individual to be abused. In or out of marriage, abortion is not solely an individual matter. Terminating the life of a developing baby involves two individuals with separate bodies, brains, and hearts. A woman’s choice for her own body does not include the right to deprive her baby of life—and a lifetime of choices that her child would make.
President Russell M. Nelson, “Abortion: An Assault on the Defenseless,” General Conference, Oct 2008.

Abortion for personal or social convenience strikes at the heart of a woman’s most sacred powers and destroys her moral authority.
Elder D. Todd Christofferson, “The Moral Force of Women,” General Conferencce, Oct 2013.

Satan knows that he will never have a body; he will never have a family. So he targets young women, who will create the bodies for the future generations.
Julie B. Beck, Relief Society General President, “Teaching the Doctrine of the Family,” Ensign, March 2011.

Adoption

See also paragraph 7, sentence C [Children within matrimony].

Matt. 1:18– 25
The birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife. … Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: and knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name Jesus.

Luke 2:33, 51–52
Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of [Jesus]. … And [Jesus] went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart.

Matt. 13:55 (Mark 6:3)
Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?

“Human life begins at fertilization, the process during which a male gamete or sperm unites with a female gamete or oocyte (ovum) to form a single cell called a zygote. This highly specialized, totipotent cell marked the beginning of each of us as a unique individual.” “A zygote is the beginning of a new human being (i.e., an embryo).” 
Keith L. Moore, The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology, 7th edition. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders, 2003. p. 16.

The changes occurring between implantation, a six-week embryo, a six-month fetus, a one-week-old child, or a mature adult are merely stages of development and maturation. The majority of our group could find no point in time between the union of sperm and egg and the birth of an infant at which point we could say that this was not a human life.
Willke & Willke, “Handbook on Abortion” (Cincinnati: Hayes Publishing)

Abortion

First Trimester 

During this stage of pregnancy, the preborn child is developing rapidly. At four to five weeks LMP — that is, four to five weeks since the first day of the mother’s last period, and just 21 days following fertilization (conception) — the baby’s organs start to develop, and the heart begins to beat. These developmental milestones often take place before the mother even knows she is pregnant.
Source: Baby Center

Abortion Pill – First Trimester
A medical (or chemical) abortion is a non-surgical form of abortion in which the woman takes pills containing Mifepristone (RU-486) and Misoprostol (or Cytotec) to end the life of the baby.

Suction (Aspiration) D&C – First Trimester

A suction, or vacuum aspiration, D&C abortion is a procedure in which a suction catheter is inserted into the mother’s uterus to extract the preborn baby. Tools are then used to scrape the lining of the uterus to remove any remaining body parts.

Dilatation (Dilation) and Curettage (D&C)
In this technique, the cervix is dilated or stretched to permit the insertion of a loop shaped steel knife. The body of the baby is cut into pieces and removed and the placenta is scraped off the uterine wall. Blood loss from D&C, or “mechanical” curettage is greater than for suction aspiration, as is the likelihood of uterine perforation and infection. Note: A D&C after a miscarriage is not an abortion.
Retrieved from https://www.liveaction.org/learn/the-problem/prenatal-development-abortion/

In the study “What the Fetus Feels”, researchers reported that “at nine to ten weeks, he squints, swallows, moves his tongue, and if you stroke his palm, will make a tight fist. By nine weeks he will bend his fingers round an object in the palm of his hand.”
Valman & Pearson, “What the Fetus Feels,” British Medical Journal

Second Trimester 

At 13 weeks, the preborn baby’s fingerprints are visible, and the child’s organs are visible through his or her thin skin. At 16 weeks, the child’s toenails begin to form, and his or her face and limbs are much more developed. The baby’s heart is pumping roughly 25 quarts of blood every day, and will continue as the child develops in the womb. At 20 weeks, the child’s nervous system is developed enough to feel pain. Research by the University of Toronto shows that babies at this stage can feel pain in the womb — even with greater intensity than adults. Almost all mothers feel the baby move by this point in pregnancy. At 24 weeks, the baby is roughly a foot long, and his or her brain is developing rapidly. The child’s lungs are also developing into their branch-like structure. At this age, almost all babies can survive outside the mother if given proper support.
Source: Baby Center

D&E Abortion 
A dilation (dilatation) and evacuation abortion, D&E, is a surgical abortion procedure during which an abortionist first dilates the woman’s cervix and then uses instruments to dismember and extract the preborn baby from the uterus. The baby is extracted to the degree possible with vacuum extraction and curettage, however, the since baby is likely too large at this point to be completely removed in this way, the person providing the abortion will insert forceps into the woman’s vagina and crush the head. This allows the baby to be broken down into pieces that allow for easy removal. The person administering the abortion then examines the tissues and fragments to ensure that the entire baby was removed.
Retrieved from https://www.liveaction.org/learn/the-problem/prenatal-development-abortion/


Third Trimester
 

At 25 weeks, a preborn child is fully developed and considered viable, meaning it would likely survive outside of the womb if it were born. The baby’s hair continues to grow, and the color and texture can be discerned. At this stage, the child is around 13½ inches long, from the baby’s head to its heels. At 27 weeks, the child’s brain tissue continues to develop, and the baby is sleeping and waking in regular cycles. The child’s brain tissue continues to develop, and the baby is sleeping and waking in regular cycles. The mother may even feel the child hiccup at this stage, which may become more common as the pregnancy progresses. At 31 weeks, the baby can turn his or her head to the side, and is very active in the womb. The baby kicks and does somersaults, and develops more fat underneath the skin.
Source: Baby Center

Induction Abortion
A third trimester induction abortion is performed at 25 weeks LMP to term. The abortionist will usually first kill the baby in utero by injecting a needle into the baby with substance that causes cardiac arrest, and induces the mother’s labor to deliver her baby stillborn.  The vast majority of induction and partial-birth abortions are performed in the fifth and sixth months of pregnancy, on healthy babies of healthy mothers.
Retrieved from https://www.liveaction.org/learn/the-problem/prenatal-development-abortion/

Partial-birth Abortion
Partial-Birth Abortion is a procedure in which  the abortionist pulls a living baby feet-first out of the womb and into the birth canal (vagina), except for the head, which is kept lodged just inside the cervix (the opening to the womb). The abortionist punctures the base of the baby’s skull with a surgical instrument, such as a long surgical scissors or a pointed hollow metal tube called a trochar. He then inserts a catheter (tube) into the wound, and removes the baby’s brain with a powerful suction machine. This causes the skull to collapse, after which the abortionist completes the delivery of the deceased baby.

Why is it called “Partial-Birth”?
Under state laws, a “live birth” occurs when a baby is entirely expelled from the mother and shows any signs of life, however briefly — regardless of whether the baby is “viable,” i.e., developed enough to be sustained outside the womb with neo-natal medical assistance. Even at 4½ months (20 weeks), perinatologists say that if a baby is expelled or removed completely from the uterus, she will usually gasp for breath and sometimes survive for hours, even though lung development is usually insufficient to permit successful sustained respiration until 23 weeks. The vast majority of partial-birth abortions are performed in the fifth and sixth months of pregnancy, on healthy babies of healthy mothers.
Retrieved from http://www.nrlc.org/archive/abortion/facts/pbafacts.html

Physicians said that partial-birth abortion is not a procedure used in emergency circumstances relating to the mother’s life or health. They deny the claim that fetal abnormality would ever indicate partial-birth abortion to safeguard maternal health or fertility. In some cases, when vaginal delivery is not possible, a doctor performs a Caesarian section. But in no case is it necessary to partially deliver an infant through the vagina and then kill the infant.
Legislative Notice 15, H.R. 1122—Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 1997, U.S. Senate Republican Policy Committee.

Medical Emergencies

Induced Labor and/or Delivery of a Premature Child

There are some cases when a woman’s health crisis may result in the premature delivery of the child. In the case of chorioamnionitis (when the membranes are infected), an ethical solution is inducing labor to eliminate the infected membranes, an infection that otherwise could kill the mother and child. These interventions are very different from abortion, because abortion targets the baby’s body to destroy the child, as opposed to addressing a medical condition and trying to save both lives. Granted, if the preborn child is younger than the age of viability, she may not survive. But this is not an abortion — which is the direct, intentional killing of the preborn child.

Tubal or Ectopic Pregnancies

In the case of a tubal pregnancy (where the embryo has implanted in the fallopian tube instead of the uterus), an ethical solution is to remove the mother’s fallopian tube through a procedure called a salpingectomy. Dr. Anthony Levatino states in a video interview that this procedure is not an abortion, which directly kills the child:

“Ectopic pregnancies are life-threatening. Treating an ectopic pregnancy is not doing an abortion— it is saving that woman’s life. It is that simple.”
Source: LiveAction. Retrieved from https://www.liveaction.org/learn/the-problem/hard-cases/

Life of the Mother

In cases where the mother’s life actually is in danger, this is not the time for an abortion. … We can, and do, save the life of the mother through delivery of an intact infant in a hospital where both the mother and her newborn can receive the care that they need. There is no medical reason to intentionally kill that fetal human being. … Perinatal hospice is compassionate and comprehensive health care for women whose fetuses have life-limiting diagnoses.
Harrison, D., Cretella, M., Schirger, J., Stevens, D., & Orient, J., “It Is Never Necessary to Intentionally Kill a Fetal Human Being to Save a Woman’s Life: In Support of the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act,” ThePublicDiscourse.com, 17 Feb 2017.

“The majority of abortions are performed on normal fetuses, not on fetuses suffering genetic or other developmental abnormalities. Furthermore, in most cases where the procedure is used, the physical health of the woman whose pregnancy is being terminated is not in jeopardy. … Instead, the ‘typical’ patients tend to be young, low income women, often poorly educated or naive, whose reasons for waiting so long to end their pregnancy are rarely medical.”
B. Vobejda & D. Brown, “Harsh details shift tenor of abortion fight,” Washington Post, 17 Sep 1996, p. 50, p. A1, A8.

Ob-gyns and fetal/maternal specialists unequivocally state that “partial-birth abortion is never medically necessary to protect a mother’s health or her future fertility.” The procedure can significantly threaten a mother’s health or ability to carry future children to term. The American Medical Association has said the procedure is “not good medicine” and is “not medically indicated” in any situation.
“The Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 Key Facts,” U.S. House of Representatives.

“Neonatologist Dr. Kendra Kolb explains the procedures that are necessary when a pregnant woman’s life is in danger and how they differ from abortion. Dr. Donna Harrison, a physician and executive director of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG), also explains there is a substantial difference between an abortion and an early delivery to save the life of the mother.”
View full article and medical explanations here: https://www.ncregister.com/news/fact-checking-facebook-pro-life-doctors-say-abortion-is-never-medically-necessary?amp

More than 80 percent of women who report post-abortion problems say they would have completed their pregnancies under better circumstances or with more support from the people they love.
D. Reardon, Aborted Women: Silent No More (Chicago: Loyola University Press), p. 12.

“Nearly three-quarters (73.8%) of women with a history of abortion surveyed in a study published in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons experienced at least subtle forms of pressure to terminate their pregnancies. More notably, more than half of the women reported that the perceived pressure was great enough to significantly influence their decision to abort as almost one-third of all the women feared they would lose their partner if they did not terminate their pregnancy.”
Coleman, et al., “Women Who Suffered Emotionally from Abortion: A Qualitative Synthesis of Their Experiences,” Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons 22:4 (Winter 2017), 113–18.

Andrew Beckwith, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute, has found that in communities where the crisis of fatherlessness is at its highest, the rate of abortion is startingly high as well: “In Springfield, Massachusetts, for example, 70% of newborns come home from the hospital to a house without a father. The number of abortions in the city is similarly sky high. For every five live births in Springfield, two children are aborted. In 2017, that number of abortions was 2,143, and nearly 90% of the women who had those abortions were not married. These startling statistics reinforce the logical connection between marriage and fertility.
Andrew Beckwith, “No Dad, No Baby: Abortion in the Age of Fatherlessness,” New Boston Post, 14 Jun 2019.

“Researchers have released a first-of-its-kind report estimating that one billion babies have died by abortion worldwide in the past 100 years. They say their findings, spanning 136 countries and 34 years, reveal the “greatest genocide in history,” estimating that about 12.5 million babies continue to die every year by abortion.”
Baklinski, P., “‘Greatest genocide in history’: Groundbreaking report finds 1 BILLION abortions in past 100 years,” 25 Jan 2017.

The abortion of a child of incest does not take away the anguish, shame and pain of the woman who was victimized. Further, abortion does not end any form of abuse. In the case of incest, abortion actually empowers the abuser. Incest frequently involves multiple violations of minors that continue unreported for years. Abortion in these cases is more of a convenience for the man involved because the evidence of his crime is destroyed. After the pre-born child is aborted, the incest can again proceed unreported while the young woman suffers further devastation.
See American Life League legislative policy: Rape and incest exceptions to abortion law, American Life League.

Researchers from the Beazley Institute at the University of Loyola Chicago have uncovered disturbing links between sex trafficking and abortion while studying the health consequences of sex trafficking. … Multiple abortions and evidence of coercion (such as the presence of a significantly older or controlling “boyfriend,” or the physical and psychological symptoms discussed above) in these patients should prompt the healthcare provider to seek more information about the patient’s situation.
Lederer, Laura J., and Wetzel, Christopher A., “The Health Consequences of Sex Trafficking and Their Implications for Identifying Victims in Healthcare Facilities,” Beazley Institute 23:1 (2014).

A 17-year study of women’s mortality in Finland determined that post-abortive women suffered significantly higher rates of death, accidents, suicides and homicides.
M. Gissler, R.Kauppila, J.Merilainen, H.Toukomaa, E.Hemminki, “Pregnancy-associated deaths in Finland, 1987–1994: Definition problems and benefits of record linkage,” Acta Obsetricia Gynecologica Scandinavica 76 (1997): 651–657.

“It is clear from testimony by abortion practitioners during the Partial Birth Abortion Ban hearings that, unlike a delivery, which separates the mother and her fetus for the purpose of life, an abortion separates the mother and the fetus with the purpose of guaranteeing that the baby is born dead. That’s why a fetus who survives an abortion is called a “failed abortion.”
Harrison, D., Cretella, M., Schirger, J., Stevens, D., & Orient, J., “It Is Never Necessary to Intentionally Kill a Fetal Human Being to Save a Woman’s Life: In Support of the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act,” ThePublicDiscourse.com, 17 Feb 2017.

Women who abort a first pregnancy are at greater risk of subsequent long-term clinical depression compared to women who carry an unintended first pregnancy to term. An average of eight years after abortion, married women were 138 percent more likely to be at high risk of clinical depression compared to similar women who carried their unintended first pregnancies to term.
D. Reardon and J. Cougle, “Depression and unintended pregnancy in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth: A cohort study,” British Medical Journal 324 (2001): 151–152.

“Women who had abortions were seven times more likely to commit suicide than women who gave birth.”
D. Reardon, P. Ney, F. Scheuren, J. Cougle, P. Coleman, and T. Strahan, “Deaths Associated with Pregnancy Outcome: A Record Linkage Study of Low Income Women,” Southern Medical Journal 95 (Aug 2002): 834–841.

In a major study of pregnant rape victims, Dr. Sandra Mahkorn found that 75 to 85 percent of impregnated victims chose against abortion.
S. Mahkorn, “Pregnancy and Sexual Assault,” The Psychological Aspects of Abortion, eds. Mall & Watts (Washington, DC: University Publications of America), p. 55–69.

“79 percent of abortion facilities are located within a two-mile radius, or walking distance of, a black or Hispanic neighborhood (what the Census Bureau calls a tract), defined as either having a “minority population at or above 50 percent,” “minority populations at least 1.5 times higher than the average percentage of the surrounding county,” or “a minority population equal to or greater than the average national minority population: 12.6 percent African American or 16.3 percent Hispanic/Latino.”
Krumholz, W. (2016, February 22). Yes, Planned Parenthood Targets And Hurts Poor Black Women. Retrieved from https://thefederalist.com/2016/02/18/yes-planned-parenthood-targets-and-hurts-poor-black-women/

Life

“Human life begins at the time of conception. … Human life is present throughout this entire sequence from conception to adulthood and that any interruption at any point throughout this time constitutes a termination of human life. … This is human life at every stage.”

Dr. Alfred M. Bongioanni, professor of pediatrics and obstetrics at the University of Pennsylvania. Report, Subcommittee on Separation of Powers to Senate Judiciary Committee S-158, 97th Congress, 1st Session. 

In the study “What the Fetus Feels”, researchers reported that “at nine to ten weeks, he squints, swallows, moves his tongue, and if you stroke his palm, will make a tight fist. By nine weeks he will bend his fingers round an object in the palm of his hand.”
Valman & Pearson, “What the Fetus Feels,” British Medical Journal

Adoption

See also paragraph 7, sentence C [Children within matrimony].

About 135,000 children are adopted in the United States each year. Of non-stepparent adoptions, … 15% are voluntarily relinquished American babies. There are no national statistics on how many people are waiting to adopt, but experts estimate it is somewhere between one and two million couples. Every year there are about 1.3 million abortions. Only 4% of women with unwanted pregnancies place their children through adoption.
Adoption Network, US Adoption Statistics

Adoption Works Well: A Synthesis of the Literature:

  • Adoption in the first 12 months of the child’s life produces the best outcomes, but all children will benefit, regardless of their age at placement. Adopted children outperform their non-adopted peers and non-adopted siblings.
  • Children adopted in their first year have the same ability to form secure attachments as non-adopted children.
  • Married parents adjust more successfully than unmarried parents.
  • Adoptive mother sensitivity contributes to a rich, positive home life.
  • Birth mothers who relinquish their children for adoption are more likely to finish school and are less likely to live in poverty or receive public assistance.
  • Most adoptees do not receive serious negative reactions regarding racial or ethnic differences between them and their adoptive families.
  • Age at adoption strongly affects adjustment: the earlier, the better.
  • Adopted women have more social support than non-adopted women; boys struggle with adjusting to adoption and enjoy less social support when they become men.
  • Less developed adoptees catch up to their age group in height, weight, and general health.

Fagan, P. (10 Nov 2010). “Adoption Works Well: A Synthesis of the Literature,” Research synthesis from The Family Research Council. Retrieved from http://marri.us/wp-content/uploads/Adoption-Works-Well.pdf

“[There is] an inaccurate belief about infant adoption: the belief that there are thousands, if not millions, of unwanted, abandoned babies in desperate need of couples selfless enough to give adoption a try. This opinion sees infant adoption as a disproportionate funnel, with an excessive number of unwanted babies to a limited number of willing adoptive families. … No, there is not an overwhelming number of unwanted babies desperate for adoptive parents to take them in. But the same cannot be said for couples and families looking to adopt, of which there are an estimated 1 million. … If we are using the funnel imagery, it’s not the babies who are in the wide end—it’s hopeful adoptive couples.”
Bayley Enright, Infant Adoption,” Adopting.org, May 2020.

Physician-assisted Suicide; Euthanasia

Legalizing physician-assisted suicide … endanger[s] the weak and vulnerable, corrupt[s] the practice of medicine and the doctor–patient relationship, compromise[s] the family and intergenerational commitments, and betray[s] human dignity and equality before the law.
Anderson, R., Always Care, Never Kill: How Physician-Assisted Suicide Endangers the Weak, Corrupts Medicine, Compromises the Family, and Violates Human Dignity and Equality, Heritage Foundation, 24 Mar 2015, retrieved 23 Jul 2020.

“The percentage of patients in whom an end-of-life decision had preceded death increased from 39% in 1990 to 58% in 2015. In 2015, 4.5% of all deaths were the result of euthanasia.”
Van der Heide, Agnes, Van Delden, Johannes J.M, & Onwuteaka-Philipsen, Bregje D., “End-of-Life Decisions in the Netherlands over 25 Years,” New England Journal of Medicine 377:5 (2017), 492–494.

Suicidal individuals typically do not want to die; they want to escape what they perceive as intolerable suffering. When comfort or relief is offered, in the form of more-adequate treatment for depression, better pain management, or more-comprehensive palliative care, the desire for suicide wanes.
Aaron Kheriaty, “Apostolate of Death,” First Things, Apr 2015, p. 19.

Learn about adoption by reading stories from adoptive families and their children: https://www.americanadoptions.com/adopt/adoptive_family_testimonials

On a day that would not only change her life, but the lives of countless others throughout eternity, Mary learns that she is chosen by God to be mother to the Savior of the world. Before the manger. Before the star. Before the shepherds. There was a mother and her unborn baby.

After faithfully accepting the most important call in human history, Mary conceives through the power of the Holy Ghost (Luke 1:35). The angel also tells her that her cousin Elisabeth is miraculously expecting a baby and is “in her sixth month” of pregnancy (Luke 1:36). Throughout this chapter, these remarkable women testify about the divinity and mission of the babies they were carrying. They were embarking on a journey with a story unlike any other. It might even be called the “pre-Christmas-story-story.”

In haste, Mary prepares for a trip to the hill country of Judea to visit the one person in the world who would understand; the one person who God had prepared to help her: her older cousin Elisabeth. The Greek translation of the word “haste” or “speed” is spoudē, which also means “diligence”, “eagerness” and “earnestness.” Biblical scholars estimate that Mary was in her first trimester at this point, while Elisabeth was nearing the end of her second trimester. It is no wonder, then, that young Mary’s heart is filled with diligence, her mind with eagerness, and her eyes with earnestness toward the future as she travels the 100 miles to Ein Karem on the outskirts of Jerusalem.

The response

At the end of this faith-filled journey, Mary goes to the door of Elisabeth’s home and calls out to her. What happens next is remarkable:

And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:

And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.

And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. (Luke 1:41-44)

The baby in Elizabeth’s womb leapt for joy when he heard the voice of the mother carrying the Christ-child. This tiny, unborn baby knew he was in the presence of the Messiah.

Recognizing the Savior

An associate professor of psychology in the Talbot School of Theology at Biola University shares the following insight about this joyful response:

Jesus and his cousin, John, … are yet both clearly present as themselves. Baby John the Baptist is leaping for joy in his mother’s womb at the presence of the Lord whom he will follow and die for. Here we see the apostle already established as a person by God and recognized by his parents, acting with intention: “leaping for joy” inside of his mother. And Jesus the Messiah is established as himself, too, with Elizabeth calling Mary “the mother of my Lord.” (Link)

These passages in Luke are powerful. But there are many more that teach us these same truths:

“Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee.” (Jer. 1:5)

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jer. 29:11)

“The Lord … made thee, and formed thee from the womb, which will help thee. … He that formed thee from the womb, I am the Lord that maketh all things.” (Isa. 44:2, 24)

“For you were created in my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body, all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (Psalm 139:13-16)

“Did not he that made me in the womb make him? and did not one fashion us in the womb?” (Job 31:15)

“John [was] filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother’s womb.” (D&C 84:27)

Seeing the Savior like never before this Christmas

These scriptures can teach us so much. Mary knew she was carrying her Savior, even before He was born. The tiny baby in Elisabeth’s womb (John) knew His Savior, even before He was born. Can we also feel His presence? Would we know Him if He were close by?

In a year that has been like no other, we can focus on this season of JOY. Even an unborn baby felt JOY when he was in the presence of his Messiah. We, too, can feel joy any time we bring ourselves into the presence of the Savior.

Every Christmas, we all lovingly worship Christ as a baby born in Bethlehem. Yet, perhaps there’s even more to discover. Because this year has gone so differently, it might help us to see Him differently. We might even begin to see the story of the unborn Christ-child as an extended part of the Christmas story.

As we sit down with our families this Christmas Eve, perhaps this is the year for a new tradition. Perhaps we can add Mary and Elisabeth’s remarkable experiences in Luke Chapter 1 to our reading of the Christmas story in Luke Chapter 2. Perhaps seeing our Savior as an unborn baby can change the way we view Him as a newborn baby this Christmas.

 

“When the sanctity of life ethic collapses, a society is on the slipperiest of slippery slopes.”
Robert P. George, McCormick professor of Jurisprudence and Director, James Madison Program, Princeton University

Visit https://prolifereplies.liveaction.org/ for answers statements like:

“My body, my choice”
“Is abortion medically necessary?”
“Life only begins after birth”
“I’m personally pro-life, but pro-choice for others”
“A fetus is not a person”
“Women will die from illegal abortions”
“What about abortion in cases of rape or incest?”
“Abortion for babies with fatal diagnoses or severe disability?”
“Is abortion a constitutional right?”

For stories and responses to complicated or grave situations on abortion, the life of the mother, incest, or rape, visit https://www.liveaction.org/learn/the-problem/hard-cases

For stories of women who have had abortions: “Women Who Suffered Emotionally from Abortion: A Qualitative Synthesis of Their Experiences” see https://www.jpands.org/vol22no4/coleman.pdf

Alternatives to Abortion

Throughout the United States, there are nearly 3,000 Crisis Pregnancy Centers staffed by volunteers ready to provide real help to women facing unplanned or untimely pregnancies. In addition to providing pregnancy tests and counseling, these centers often offer a full range of services, helping women obtain housing, maternity and baby clothes, baby equipment, pre- and post-natal medical care, legal assistance and financial support, information about adoption, and even advice on how a woman in school can continue her education. Offering real and tangible assistance, these centers have helped thousands of women to realize that they didn’t have to choose between their own lives and the lives of their unborn babies.

 Adoption

Children are entitled to be raised by parents who honor marital vows and who provide love and support. Adoption can be a great blessing for many children who are born without this opportunity. When a child is conceived out of wedlock, the best option is for the mother and father of the child to marry and work toward establishing an eternal family relationship. If a successful marriage is unlikely, they should place the child for adoption … Adoption is an unselfish, loving decision that blesses the birth parents, the child, and the adoptive family.
True to the Faith, “Adoption,” Church manual. Retrieved from https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/true-to-the-faith/adoption?lang=eng

Geneva Consensus Declaration: Promoting Women’s Health & Strengthening the Family

The governments of the Brazil, Egypt, Hungary, Indonesia, Uganda and the United States cosponsored a virtual October 22, 2020 gathering in Washington, D.C. for a multinational ceremonial signing of the Geneva Consensus Declaration (so-called because it was intended to occur in Geneva before the live meeting of the World Health Assembly was postponed due to COVID-19). This Declaration further strengthens the coalition to achieve these four pillars: (1) better health for women, (2) the preservation of human life, (3) strengthening of family as the foundational unit of society, and (4) protecting every nation’s national sovereignty in global politics. For example, it is the sovereign right of every nation to make their own laws in regard to abortion, absent external pressure.

We believe that finding genuine solutions to health concerns should be a priority uniting Member States. This Declaration charts a positive way forward for accelerating progress on achieving this end.

Geneva Consensus Declaration
On Promoting Women’s Health and Strengthening the Family
Presented on October 22, 2020

We, ministers and high representatives of Governments,

Having intended to gather on the margins of the 2020 World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland to review progress made and challenges to uphold the right to the highest attainable standards of health for women; to promote women’s essential contribution to health, and strength of the family and of a successful and flourishing society; and to express the essential priority of protecting the right to life, committing to coordinated efforts in multilateral fora; despite our inability to meet in Geneva due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, in solidarity, we

1. Reaffirm “all are equal before the law,” and “human rights of women are an inalienable, integral, and indivisible part of all human rights and fundamental freedoms”;

2. Emphasize “the equal right of men and women to the enjoyment of all civil and political rights,” as well as economic, social, and cultural rights; and the “equal rights, opportunities and access to resources and equal sharing of responsibilities for the family by men and women and a harmonious partnership between them are critical to their well-being and that of their families”; and that “women and girls must enjoy equal access to quality education, economic resources, and political participation as well as equal opportunities with men and boys for employment, leadership and decision-making at all levels;”

3. Reaffirm the inherent “dignity and worth of the human person,” that “every human being has the inherent right to life,” and the commitment “to enable women to go safely through pregnancy and childbirth and provide couples with the best chance of having a healthy infant”;

4. Emphasize that “in no case should abortion be promoted as a method of family planning” and that “any measures or changes related to abortion within the health system can only be determined at the national or local level according to the national legislative process”; Reaffirm that “the child… needs special safeguards and care… before as well as after birth” and “special measures of protection and assistance should be taken on behalf of all children,” based on the principle of the best interest of the child;

5. Reaffirm that “the family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State”; that “motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance,” that “women play a critical role in the family” and women’s “contribution to the welfare of the family and to the development of society”;

6. Recognize that “universal health coverage is fundamental for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals related not only to health and well-being,” with further recognition that “health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” that “the predominant focus of health-care systems on treating illness rather than maintaining optimal health also prevents a holistic approach”; and that there are “needs that exist at different stages in an individual’s lifespan,” which together support optimal health across the life course, entailing the provision of the necessary information, skills, and care for achieving the best possible health outcomes and reaching full human potential; and

7. “Reaffirm the importance of national ownership and the primary role and responsibility of governments at all levels to determine their own path towards achieving universal health coverage, in accordance with national contexts and priorities”, preserving human dignity and all the rights and freedoms set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Furthermore, we, the representatives of our sovereign nations do hereby declare in mutual friendship and respect, our commitment to work together to:

*Ensure the full enjoyment of all human rights and equal opportunity for women at all levels of political, economic, and public life;

*Improve and secure access to health and development gains for women, including sexual and reproductive health, which must always promote optimal health, the highest attainable standard of health, without including abortion;

*Reaffirm that there is no international right to abortion, nor any international obligation on the part of States to finance or facilitate abortion, consistent with the long-standing international consensus that each nation has the sovereign right to implement programs and activities consistent with their laws and policies;

*Build our health system capacity and mobilize resources to implement health and development programs that address the needs of women and children in situations of vulnerability and advance universal health coverage;

*Advance supportive public health policies for women and girls as well as families, including building our healthcare capacity and mobilizing resources within our own countries, bilaterally, and in multilateral fora;

*Support the role of the family as foundational to society and as a source of health, support, and care; and

*Engage across the UN system to realize these universal values, recognizing that individually we are strong, but together we are stronger.

 

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