Thursday, June 4, 2015

Minister John M Swomley Justifies Abortion Because of "Original Sin"

Life News reports in an article entitled "Methodist Pastor Justifies Abortion by Saying Unborn Babies Have Original Sin," an interesting, albeit, erroneous argument that abortion is justifiable because of the concept of original sin. Swomley's argument is:
“The first claim is that society should protect innocent human life that is unable to protect itself. The term “innocent,” originally used by various popes, refers to fetal life which has committed no sin. Yet the Roman Catholic Church has proclaimed only one person, Mary, the Mother of Jesus, as having an immaculate conception and hence free from original sin. In any event, public policy cannot be founded on theological claims to innocence.

There is another meaning of “innocence” which comes from two Latin words, in (not) and nocere (to harm), and therefore means “not harmful or dangerous.” However, it is precisely the fact that some pregnant women (and their physicians) view the fetus as harmful or threatening to their health or welfare and hence leads them to consider abortion.”
There are some flaws to "original sin" argument for justifying abortions. First, we know from scripture that children are born innocent.
46 But behold, I say unto you, that little children are redeemed from the foundation of the world through mine Only Begotten;

47 Wherefore, they cannot sin, for power is not given unto Satan to tempt little children, until they begin to become accountable before me;
D&C 29:46-47. I believe it was James Joyce that pointed out that the concept of "original sin" as applied to children was incompatible with Christ's commandment that the little children be gathered to him, as well as urging us to become as little children.

Second, if we were to accept Swomley's argument, murder would be justified. That is, even if we accepted the doctrine of "original sin" and apply it to unborn infants, it would necessarily follow that anyone successfully born would not only have their "original sin" but all his or her other sins accumulated through their life besides, and thus even less innocent than the newly born.

His final argument based on a fetus potentially being a threat to health and welfare does not resolve the issue. Most people that are opposed to abortion would probably concur that a genuine threat to the health of the mother would justify an abortion. Some fewer numbers would agree that an abortion could be permitted under other circumstances where there might be severe emotional trauma, such as pregnancies from rape and incest. However, neither of these positions would support abortion where the pregnancy is merely inconvenient to the mother, or to further the Progressive/Liberal plan to reduce certain "surplus" populations.

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