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Churches & Abortion

By Claire Hepler
January 24, 2020

In the United States, abortion is the leading cause of death with almost 1 million abortions per year. Coming upon the 47th anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision to legalize abortion, has it been worth the cost? Despite the appalling numbers, there are differences among churches about when life must be protected.

Below are the top 20 Christian denominations by membership in the U.S. and their stances on abortion.

The Catholic Church

The Catholic Church opposes abortion. One source writes: "God loves each human life from the instant of his or her conception and entrusts this gift to the protection of a mother and father. Abortion ends the life of a child and offends God. It also deeply wounds the women and men involved."

Southern Baptist Convention

The Southern Baptist Convention opposes abortion. They do add an exception for the rare case where the mother's life is threatened. Accordingly, "all human life is a sacred gift from our sovereign God and therefore ... all abortions, except in those rare cases where the life of the mother is clearly in danger, are wrong."

National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.

The National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. does not have an official position on abortion.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints opposes abortion. They teach that "elective abortion for personal or social convenience is contrary to the will and the commandments of God." They do allow exception for in cases where the mother's life is threatened or pregnancy as a result of rape or incest.

United Methodist Church

The United Methodist Church's position is unclear. They oppose partial birth abortion and abortion as a means of gender selection or birth control but endorse "the legal option of abortion under proper medical procedures." In 2016 they deleted their longstanding support for Roe v. Wade.

Church of God in Christ

The Church of God in Christ opposes abortion. In its resolution, it states: "We, the General Assembly of the Church of God, reaffirm our historic commitment to the sacredness of human life...we stand opposed to the use of abortion as a means of birth or population control." In the rare case where mother's life is threatened, abortion is licit as a last resort.

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America opposes abortion once the baby is viable outside the womb. Before viability, abortion is acceptable. They also allow for exceptions of rape or fetal abnormality.

National Baptist Convention of America, Inc.

The National Baptist Convention of America, Inc. has an unclear position on abortion.

African Methodist Episcopal Church

The African Methodist Episcopal Church opposes abortion but admits exceptions where the mother's life is in danger or a pregnancy from rape or incest.

Assemblies of God USA

The Assemblies of God, USA oppose abortion. They state that "every human life, from conception through death, is therefore to be valued, respected, nurtured, and protected." Also: "Abortion is a morally unacceptable alternative for birth control, population control, sex selection, and elimination of the physically and mentally handicapped." However, they do allow for extremely rare cases where the mother's life is threatened.

Lutheran Church -- Missouri Synod

The Lutheran Church -- Missouri Synod opposes abortion. They state: "The living but unborn are persons in the sight of God from the time of conception. Since abortion takes a human life, it is not a moral option except to prevent the death of another person, the mother."

Episcopal Church, US

The Episcopal Church, US supports abortion as the choice of the mother. They forbid "abortion as a means of birth control, family planning, sex selection, or any reason of mere convenience." Yet, they view abortion as a discretionary choice of the woman and condoned in the case of rape, incest, physical or mental threat to mother, or fetal abnormalities.

Progressive National Baptist Convention

The Progressive National Baptist Convention opposes abortion outside of reasons of maternal health or fetal disease.

African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church

The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church opposes abortion. It does add the exception of the health of the mother or fetal abnormality.

Presbyterian Church, USA

The Presbyterian Church, USA supports abortion as a personal choice. It frowns upon abortion as birth control or convenience but views circumstances include deformity, pregnancy from rape or incest, or when the life of the mother or child are gravely threatened as justified.

United Church of Christ

The United Churches of Christ support abortion. They call for the "repeal of all legal prohibitions of physician-performed abortions" and affirm "a woman's right to choose with respect to abortion."

Jehovah's Witness

Jehovah's Witness opposes abortion. They teach that life begins at conception and is sacred. On exceptions for the health of the mother or child, they state: "In view of what the Bible says about the life of an unborn child, a person would not be justified in having an abortion because of a potential health risk to mother or child. In such a case,... where at the time of childbirth an emergency forces the choice between saving the life of the mother or saving the baby...those involved would have to make a personal decision about which life to try to save.

Seventh-day Adventist Church

The Seventh-day Adventist Church opposes abortion. The church recently adopted position that "considers abortion out of harmony with God's plan for human life. It affects the unborn, the mother, the father, immediate and extended family members, the church family, and society with long-term consequences for all."

The Orthodox Church in America

The Orthodox Church in America opposes abortion. It states that human life starts at conception. "Even when an abortion is performed to save the life of a mother (and such abortions are extremely rare), something profoundly tragic has occurred."

American Baptist Churches USA

American Baptist Churches USA generally opposes abortion. In a resolution they state: "As American Baptists we oppose abortion: as a means of avoiding responsibility for conception, as a primary means of birth control, and without regard for the far-reaching consequences of the act." They also add: "We acknowledge the freedom of each individual to advocate for a public policy on abortion that reflects his or her beliefs."

The majority of these religious groups oppose abortion in almost all circumstances. A number of churches also present a vague position or none at all. But, instead of freeing women to make their own choice, these churches ultimately rest the burden of choice on the woman.

Being pro-life is not just about unborn human life. All life is sacred. While the fight for unborn life must continue, support for women to choose life also must be emphasized.

With that in mind, it is appropriate that the theme of this year's March for Life is: Life Empowers: Pro-life is Pro-woman.


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