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Orthodox Christians and Abortion By Fr. John Garvey The Orthodox Church is opposed to the practice of abortion, a practice which is increasingly common in our society. How are we to respond--individually and as a Church--to a practice many of our fellow Americans regard as nothing more than a matter of choice?
What are the Orthodox roots of opposition to abortion? How should Orthodox respond to the pressing moral issue of abortion? Jews opposed it, which perplexed the ancient Romans; they found Jewish opposition to abortion irrational.
One example the Romans offered was the complication that new offspring caused if you had already drawn up a will. In ancient Roman law, children were considered the property of the father.
After seeing his newborn children, a father could choose not to accept them, in which case they were "exposed"--literally left outside, to die or to be taken in by a compassionate stranger. If a stranger chose to, he or she could rescue and take in a child abandoned this way the stoic philosopher Epictetus did this ; but the choice of life or death lay with the father of the house.
Female infants were the most frequent victims of this practice. In contrast to this, children were usually important in the New Testament: Scholars are not sure about this.
There are other, more clear ancient Christian witnesses against abortion. The Didache is one of the earliest Christian works, contemporary with some of the New Testament writings; it was probably composed around the year A.
It condemns what it also calls pharmakeia and goes on to say, "You shall not slay the child by abortion. You shall not kill what is generated. Tertullian condemned abortion, and in the second century, a Christian answered anti-Christian allegations that Christians engaged in human sacrifice: For the fetus in the womb is not an animal.
They point out that ancient and medieval Christian writers made distinctions between the "formed" and "unformed" fetus, the time before and after "quickening" when some believed the soul entered the unborn child. Their assumption is that this distinction made early abortion--before "quickening"--acceptable.
Although these distinctions can be found in the writings of Sts. Jerome and Augustine, and in the writings of such later Roman Catholic theologians as Thomas Aquinas, they were never understood as offering permission for early abortions.
Basil explicitly rejected the distinction between the formed and unformed fetus as beside the essential point.A Christian view on abortion. Few topics cause as much debate, controversy, emotion and rhetoric as the question of abortion.
It has been the subject of countless articles, . But, this issue of abortion extends far beyond the taking of life.
Abortion requires consideration of what is just and does It looks like you've lost connection to our server. The Christian View of Abortion Editor’s Note: Please visit our home page for a full listing of abortion facts.
Since abortion was legalized in , there have been over 40 million abortions in the U.S. alone. The Christian View of Abortion.
Editor’s Note: It is one thing when Godless, secular people try to dehumanize the unborn to support their view of abortion on demand. It is quite another matter when these same people attempt to distort scripture and church history to fit their agenda.
The well-formulated moral, spiritual and political argument on abortion from the conservative Christian and Catholic view is relatively new in the scheme of things.
The New York Times' Nicholas Kristof called Christian opposition to abortion "new in historical terms." He couldn't be more wrong.