Last updated on: 11/18/2019 | Author:

Religious Views on the Legalization of Abortion

1. Buddhism1. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
1. Assemblies of God
2. Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
2. Judaism2. Catholic Church
3. Episcopal Church3. National Baptist Convention
3. Greek Orthodox
4. Presbyterian Church USA4. Seventh-Day Adventist Church
4. Hinduism
5. Unitarian Universalist Association5. United Methodist Church
5. Islam
6. United Church of Christ6. Jehovah’s Witnesses
7. Southern Baptist Convention

The churches listed as pro on this page are in favor of abortion being a legal option, rather than being pro the procedure itself.

Assemblies of God: CON

“Abortion. The Assemblies of God views the practice of abortion as an evil that has been inflicted upon millions of innocent babies and that will threaten millions more in the years to come. Abortion is a morally unacceptable alternative for birth control, population control, sex selection, and elimination of the physically and mentally handicapped. Certain parts of the world are already experiencing serious population imbalances as a result of the systematic abortion of female babies.”

Assemblies of God, “Sanctity of Human Life: Abortion and Reproductive Issues,”, Aug. 9-11, 2010

Buddhism: PRO

“Buddhism does consider abortion to be the taking of a human life. At the same time, Buddhists generally are reluctant to intervene in a woman’s personal decision to terminate a pregnancy. Buddhism may discourage abortion, but it also discourages imposing rigid moral absolutes.

This may seem contradictory. In our culture, many think that if something is morally wrong it ought to be banned. However, the Buddhist view is that the rigid following of rules is not what makes us moral. Further, imposing authoritative rules often creates a new set of moral wrongs…

[As Buddhist nun] Karma Lekshe Tsomo writes, ‘In the end, most Buddhists recognize the incongruity that exists between ethical theory and actual practice and, while they do not condone the taking of life, do advocate understanding and compassion toward all living beings, a loving kindness that is nonjudgmental and respects the right and freedom of human beings to make their own choices.’”

Barbara O’Brien, “Buddhist Perspectives on the Abortion Debate,”, July 2, 2018

Catholic Church: CON

“I henceforth grant to all priests, in virtue of their ministry, the faculty to absolve those who have committed the sin of procured abortion. The provision I had made in this regard, limited to the duration of the Extraordinary Holy Year, is hereby extended, notwithstanding anything to the contrary. I wish to restate as firmly as I can that abortion is a grave sin, since it puts an end to an innocent life. In the same way, however, I can and must state that there is no sin that God’s mercy cannot reach and wipe away when it finds a repentant heart seeking to be reconciled with the Father. May every priest, therefore, be a guide, support and comfort to penitents on this journey of special reconciliation.”

Pope Francis, “Apostolic Letter: Misericordia et misera of the Holy Father Francis at the Conclusion of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy,” (accessed Nov. 5, 2019)

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints: NOT CLEARLY PRO OR CON

“Human life is a sacred gift from God. Elective abortion for personal or social convenience is contrary to the will and the commandments of God. Church members who submit to, perform, encourage, pay for, or arrange for such abortions may lose their membership in the Church….

Church leaders have said that some exceptional circumstances may justify an abortion, such as when pregnancy is the result of incest or rape, when the life or health of the mother is judged by competent medical authority to be in serious jeopardy, or when the fetus is known by competent medical authority to have severe defects that will not allow the baby to survive beyond birth. But even these circumstances do not automatically justify an abortion. Those who face such circumstances should consider abortion only after consulting with their local Church leaders and receiving a confirmation through earnest prayer.”

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, “Abortion,” (accessed Nov. 5, 2019)

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America: PRO

“A developing life in the womb does not have an absolute right to be born, nor does a pregnant woman have an absolute right to terminate a pregnancy. The concern for both the life of the woman and the developing life in her womb expresses a common commitment to life. This requires that we move beyond the usual ‘prolife’ versus ‘pro-choice’ language in discussing abortion…

Because we believe that God is the creator of life, the number of induced abortions is a source of deep concern to this church. We mourn the loss of life that God has created. The strong Christian presumption is to preserve and protect life. Abortion ought to be an option only of last resort. Therefore, as a church we seek to reduce the need to turn to abortion as the answer to unintended pregnancies…

Because of our conviction that both the life of the woman and the life in her womb must be respected by law, this church opposes:

· the total lack of regulation of abortion;

· legislation that would outlaw abortion in all circumstances;

· laws that prevent access to information about all options available to women faced with unintended pregnancies;

· laws that deny access to safe and affordable services for morally justifiable abortions;

· mandatory or coerced abortion or sterilization;

· laws that prevent couples from practicing contraception;

· laws that are primarily intended to harass those contemplating or deciding for an abortion.”

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, “A Social Statement on Abortion,”, Aug. 28-Sep. 4, 1991

Episcopal Church: PRO

“All human life is sacred from its inception until death. The Church takes seriously its obligation to help form the consciences of its members concerning this sacredness…

We regard all abortion as having a tragic dimension, calling for the concern and compassion of all the Christian community.

While we acknowledge that in this country it is the legal right of every woman to have a medically safe abortion, as Christians we believe strongly that if this right is exercised, it should be used only in extreme situations. We emphatically oppose abortion as a means of birth control, family planning, sex selection, or any reason of mere convenience.

In those cases where an abortion is being considered, members of this Church are urged to seek the dictates of their conscience in prayer, to seek the advice and counsel of members of the Christian community and where appropriate, the sacramental life of this Church…

Resolved, That this 71st General Convention of the Episcopal Church express its unequivocal opposition to any legislative, executive or judicial action on the part of local, state or national governments that abridges the right of a woman to reach an informed decision about the termination of pregnancy or that would limit the access of a woman to safe means of acting on her decision.”

Episcopal Church, “The Acts of the Convention: Reaffirm General Convention Statement on Childbirth and Abortion,”, 1994

Greek Orthodox: CON

“The Orthodox Church has a definite, formal and intended attitude toward abortion. It condemns all procedures purporting to abort the embryo or fetus, whether by surgical or chemical means. The Orthodox Church brands abortion as murder; that is, as a premeditated termination of the life of a human being. The only time the Orthodox Church will reluctantly acquiesce to abortion is when the preponderance of medical opinion determines that unless the embryo or fetus is aborted, the mother will die. Decisions of the Supreme Court and State legislatures by which abortion, with or without restrictions, is allowed should be viewed by practicing Christians as an affront to their beliefs in the sanctity of life.”

Stanley S. Harakas, “The Stand of the Orthodox Church on Controversial Issues,”, Aug. 12, 1985

Hinduism: CON

“Hindus consider children a gift from God. Conception, development and birth of a child are sacred events, honored by a ceremony, or samskara, marking these rites of passage. Today’s medical technology has developed many means for conceiving children. Hindus have a general unwillingness to interfere with nature and a special aversion to abortion, based on the belief in reincarnation and the sanctity of marriage… Hindu scripture and tradition clearly prohibit abortion, except to save the life of the mother… Multiple births are rare, except when a couple is undergoing fertility treatments, which may result in multiple fetuses, creating a potentially dangerous condition for the mother. Under the principle that abortion is allowed to save the mother’s life.”

Hinduism Today, “How Hindu Dharma Addresses 25 Controversial Medical Issues Frequently Encountered by Physicians,” hinduismtoday, Jan.-Mar. 2013

Islam: CON

“Rule 1: In Islam, it is forbidden (haram) to abort the fetus… 

Rule 2: If the child was to die while in the womb of the mother, then it is obligatory to remove it from the womb.

Rule 3: If the pregnancy is a danger to the life of the mother or would result in her become handicapped, then it is permissible for her to abort the child before the time when the soul has been infused into the body.

However it is not permissible to abort the child once the soul has come into the body and the fetus starts to move (inside the womb) and the mother must carefully watch over and give special attention to the child inside her and must make sure that it is brought into the world at the appropriate time.

Rule 4: If the child which has been aborted was four months old or more, then it must be given the Ghusl-e-Mayyit and must also be provided with a Kafan (burial shroud) and must be buried. In addition, anyone that touched the body of the child (such as the mother, grand mother, or others who were taking care of the mother) must perform a Ghusl of Mass-e-Mayyit.

If the child was less than four months old, then it must be wrapped in cloth, and without giving it a Ghusl, it must be buried. If anyone has touched the body of the child, then it is better that they too perform the Ghusl (of Mass-e-Mayyit).”

Ayatollah Sayyid ‘Ali Khamene’i, “Abortions,” (accessed Apr. 4, 2018)

Jehovah’s Witnesses: CON

“The Bible does not use the word ‘abortion’ in the sense of an induced expulsion of a human fetus. However, many Bible verses provide God’s view of human life, including that of an unborn child.

Life is a gift from God. (Genesis 9:6; Psalm 36:9) He considers all life to be precious, including the life of a child in the womb. So if someone intentionally kills an unborn child, that amounts to murder…

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.

What about the rare situation where at the time of childbirth an emergency forces the choice between saving the life of the mother or saving the baby? In such a case, those involved would have to make a personal decision about which life to try to save.”

Jehovah’s Witnesses, “What Does the Bible Say about Abortion?,” (accessed Nov. 5, 2019


“While Judaism takes a far less stringent approach to abortion than do many pro-life denominations of Christianity, providing explicit exceptions for threats to a mother’s life and rabbinic support for terminating a pregnancy in a host of other situations, there is nonetheless broad objection to abortion in cases without serious cause. In addition, despite the consensus that abortion is permitted in cases where continuing the pregnancy poses a threat to the life of the mother, there is disagreement over just what constitutes a threat.

Jewish law does not share the belief common among abortion opponents that life begins at conception, nor does it legally consider the fetus to be a full person deserving of protections equal those accorded to human beings. In Jewish law, a fetus attains the status of a full person only at birth…

As a public policy matter, many of the major American Jewish organizations have been vocal in support of broadening or protecting abortion access. Orthodox organizations, however, do not support broad legal protections for abortion.”

MJL, “Abortion and Judaism,” (accessed Nov. 5, 2019)

National Baptist Convention: NOT CLEARLY PRO OR CON

“[F]or the National Baptist Convention, a historically black Protestant denomination in the U.S., church policy is to allow each individual congregation to determine its views on abortion.”

David Masci, “Where Major Religious Groups Stand on Abortion,”, June 21, 2016

Presbyterian Church USA: PRO

“Presbyterians have struggled with the issue of abortion for more than 30 years, beginning in 1970 when the General Assembly, the national governing body of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), declared that ‘the artificial or induced termination of a pregnancy is a matter of careful ethical decision of the patient . . . and therefore should not be restricted by law’…

The considered decision of a woman to terminate a pregnancy can be a morally acceptable, though certainly not the only or required, decision. Possible justifying circumstances would include medical indications of severe physical or mental deformity, conception as a result of rape or incest, or conditions under which the physical or mental health of either woman or child would be gravely threatened.

We are disturbed by abortions that seem to be elected only as a convenience or ease embarrassment. We affirm that abortion should not be used as a method of birth control.

Abortion is not morally acceptable for gender selection only or solely to obtain fetal parts for transplantation.

We reject the use of violence and/or abusive language either in protest of or in support of abortion.

The strong Christian presumption is that since all life is precious to God, we are to preserve and protect it. Abortion ought to be an option of last resort.

The Christian community must be concerned about and address the circumstances that bring a woman to consider abortion as the best available option. Poverty, unjust societal realities, sexism, racism, and inadequate supportive relationships may render a woman virtually powerless to choose freely.”

Presbyterian Mission, “Abortion/Reproductive Choice Issues,” (accessed Nov. 5, 2019)

Seventh-Day Adventist Church: NOT CLEARLY PRO OR CON

“The Seventh-day Adventist Church 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. Believers aim to trust God and follow His will for them, knowing He has their best interests in mind.

While not condoning abortion, the Church and its members are called to follow the example of Jesus, being “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14), to (1) create an atmosphere of true love and provide grace-filled, biblical pastoral care and loving support to those facing difficult decisions regarding abortion; (2) enlist the help of well-functioning and committed families and educate them to provide care for struggling individuals, couples, and families; (3) encourage church members to open their homes to those in need, including single parents, parentless children, and adoptive or foster care children; (4) care deeply for and support in various ways pregnant women who decide to keep their unborn children; and (5) provide emotional and spiritual support to those who have aborted a child for various reasons or were forced to have an abortion and may be hurting physically, emotionally, and/or spiritually.”

Seventh-Day Adventist World Church Executive Committee, “145-19G Statement on the Biblical View of Unborn Life and Its Implications for Abortion,”, Oct. 16, 2019

Southern Baptist Convention: CON

“RESOLVED, That we affirm the full dignity of every unborn child and denounce every act of abortion except to save the mother’s physical life; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we affirm the full dignity of every human being, whether or not any political, legal, or medical authority considers a human being possessive of ‘viable’ life regardless of cognitive or physical disability, and denounce every act that would wrongly limit the life of any human at any stage or state of life.”

Southern Baptist Convention, “On Reaffirming the Full Dignity of Every Human Being,”, 2018

Unitarian Universalist Association: PRO

“BECAUSE, Unitarian Universalists believe that the inherent worth and dignity of every person, the right of individual conscience, and respect for human life are inalienable rights due every person; and that the personal right to choose in regard to contraception and abortion is an important aspect of these rights; and

BECAUSE, we believe in tolerance and compassion for persons whose choices may differ from our own; and

BECAUSE, we believe not only in the value of life itself but also in the quality of life; and

WHEREAS, pain, suffering, and loss of life were widespread prior to the legalization of abortion in 1973 by the U.S. Supreme Court (Roe v. Wade) and the 1969 amendments to the Criminal Code of Canada;

WHEREAS, the issue of abortion is morally complex, abortion must remain a legal option; and

WHEREAS, attempts are now being made to restrict access to birth control and abortion by overriding individual decisions of conscience, and attacks in legislatures, courts, and the streets often result in depriving poor women of their right to medical care; and such legislation is an infringement of the principle of separation of church and state in that it tries to enact private morality into public law; and

WHEREAS, there is a movement to re-criminalize abortion both for women and their health-care providers which could bring back dangerous alternatives to clinically safe abortions;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: That the 1987 General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association reaffirms its historic position, supporting the right to choose contraception and abortion as legitimate aspects of the right to privacy…

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED: That we reaffirm the right to choose contraception and abortion as a legitimate expression of our constitutional rights.”

Unitarian Universalist Association, “Right to Choose: 1987 General Resolution,”, 1987

United Church of Christ: PRO

“God has given us life, and life is sacred and good. God has also given us the responsibility to make decisions which reflect a reverence for life in circumstances when conflicting realities are present. Jesus affirmed women as full partners in the faith, capable of making decisions that affect their lives…

The United Church of Christ has affirmed and re-affirmed since 1971 that access to safe and legal abortion is consistent with a woman’s right to follow the dictates of her own faith and beliefs in determining when and if she should have children, and it has supported comprehensive sexuality education as one measure to prevent unwanted or unplanned pregnancies, and to create healthy and responsible sexual persons and relationships.”

United Church of Christ, “Reproductive Health and Justice: Why The UCC Is a Leader in This Area,” (accessed Nov. 5, 2019)

United Methodist Church: NOT CLEARLY PRO OR CON

“Our belief in the sanctity of unborn human life makes us reluctant to approve abortion.

But we are equally bound to respect the sacredness of the life and well-being of the mother and the unborn child…

It’s important to note that the Church’s statements on social issues, such as abortion, represent the effort of the General Conference to speak to human issues in the contemporary world from a sound biblical and theological foundation. They are intended to be instructive and persuasive, but they are not church law and are not binding on members. Members will hold differing views on abortion. There is no requirement for members to agree with the Church’s view.”

United Methodist Church, “What Is the United Methodist Position on Abortion?,” (accessed Nov. 5, 2019)