Sunday, March 18, 2012


After a fair bit of research and thought, I realized that my position on abortion came down to something very simple: fetal pain. I base morality on promoting the well-being of conscious beings, but if the fetus is not yet conscious and cannot suffer or feel pain, then I do not think its well-being needs to be considered yet. In many cases abortion could be a very good thing.

Scientific research indicates that fetuses probably cannot feel pain until 26-30 weeks into the pregnancy. I understand some people being skeptical about the research, and wanting to ban abortions a little earlier than that to be on the safe side. I personally disagree, but it’s a reasonable position. What is totally unreasonable is the “life begins at conception” position, which is the standard “pro-life” position. Those people believe that a fertilized egg that doesn’t have anything close to a brain or any capacity to think or feel should be given human rights. I find that position to be totally unreasonable.

In many cases an abortion is a blessing in the life of a woman. The life of a teenage girl who was planning on going to college can be drastically and negatively altered if she is pressured to carry to full term, or if an abortion is difficult to obtain. Not only do pro-life laws cause harm, but because they’re usually religious-based, I consider them a way that religious people force their beliefs on other people. Because of the negative impact on the well-being of many people that is caused by this pro-life position, I find it to be clearly and deeply morally wrong.

Fortunately, if you’re LDS, I don’t think you’re obligated to hold the pro-life position. The 2006 Church Handbook of Instructions (the one I happen to have) states:

“The church opposes elective abortion for personal or social convenience. . . The Church has not favored or opposed legislative proposals or public demonstrations concerning abortion. However, the First Presidency encourages members, as citizens, to let their voices be heard in appropriate and legal ways that will evidence their belief in the sacredness of life.”

The key parts are that the church doesn’t have a stand on the legality of abortion, so members can have their own opinions on what should be legal. They can also believe in the “sacredness of life,” and support the legalization of elective abortion: the question isn’t whether life is sacred, the question is whether a fetus is a separate life or part of a woman’s body. So I hope you’ll join me in supporting a woman’s right to choose.