Abortion is considered by Mormons to be a great evil in this world and the shedding of innocent blood. Church leaders have condemned it except in very rare instances such as rape, incest, or danger to the mother’s life, but this should still be considered very prayerfully and seriously. When a woman, even a young girl, becomes pregnant as a result of rape or incest, she truly has no choice in the matter. A woman who engages in sexual relations by choice knows the risk she takes.
One of our church leaders, Elder Russell M. Nelson is a doctor. In a message he shared, a statistic was given as to how many abortions are just for a woman’s convenience – over 97%. Less than 3% are performed for the rare reasons of rape and incest. From a doctor’s perspective, he explains the agony physicians endure when losing a patient, yet people take little thought for a life just beginning.
We believe in a woman’s right to make choices, but we also believe that one must accept the consequences of their actions. This is one of the reasons why we take the Law of Chastity so seriously. In the case of murder, you are taking the life of another. With pre-marital sex, you are risking making a life at the wrong time, possibly leading to the serious sin of abortion. Those who are not ready for parenthood are strongly encouraged to put the baby up for adoption, giving another couple a chance to be parents.
Even for married couples, they are often counseled to have an abortion due to possible defects the baby could have, the mother’s age, problems with previous pregnancies, poverty, and other reasons. These justifications we also reject as many outstanding people in this world and its history likely would have had their lives ended at the urging of a doctor. As Elder Nelson pointed out, Beethoven’s mother most likely would have had it recommended to her. He stated:
She was beyond the normal age for bearing children. She announced to her doctor that her husband was an alcoholic with a syphilitic infection. One of her children had been born dead. Another child was blind. Another had tuberculosis. Her family had a history of deafness. Finally she confessed that she was living in abject poverty. If this true historical situation were posed today, many would recommend abortion. The child born from that pregnancy became the renowned composer Ludwig van Beethoven.
No matter what challenges a child may be born with, we believe they are a child of God and of great worth. A child’s life is in the hands of our Father in Heaven and He will help us and our children through our afflictions.