Adventist Church Works to Clarify its Stance on Abortion

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Dialogue includes a diverse group of Adventist theologians, medical professionals and Church leaders

A diverse group of Seventh-day Adventist medical experts, theologians, healthcare administrators and ethicists are currently engaged in an attempt to clarify the Church’s official stance on the controversial issue of abortion.

The denomination last offered guidelines, but not an official statement on abortion, in a 1992 document.

Beginning two years ago, the Biblical Research Institute of the General Conference (BRI), which offers biblical and theological insight to the church on many issues, was tasked with preparing a statement that reflects Scriptural principles bearing on the discussion of abortion.

The BRI Ethics Committee has developed multiple drafts of a proposed document, on which there is ongoing dialogue with the Church’s Health Ministries department and the General Conference (GC) Bioethics Committee.  The Bioethics Committee includes representatives from the church’s teaching hospitals and medical systems, as well as independent Adventist healthcare administrators and practitioners.

An August 27 action of the General Conference Administrative Committee (ADCOM) established a Working Group to continue development of the statement on abortion.  The 26-member group includes representatives from Health Ministries, Women’s Ministries, Family Ministries, Education, Children’s Ministries, Ellen G. White Estate, Biblical Research Institute, Adventist Chaplaincy Ministries, Office of General Counsel, Public Affairs, senior administration, the General Conference Communication Department, and the Adventist Review.  

Chaired by General Conference vice-president Artur Stele, the committee includes 23 members from countries other than the United States, including Argentina, Mexico, Brazil, South Africa, Russia, Finland, Norway, Jamaica, Senegal, Ghana, Canada, Singapore, Australia, Mauritius, Germany, and Chile.  Six members are female; three of those are on the statement Writing Committee.

“The process of drafting any church statement should include representation from all segments of the church,” says Stele. “This important statement involves the participation of theologians, medical practitioners and clinicians, healthcare administrators, Church administrators, and both men and women.” 

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