Salvation Army Faces New Criticism for Stance on Abortion

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 19, 2011   |   1:59PM   |   Washington, DC

A weekend article by WorldNetDaily has the Salvation Army facing new criticism for its position on abortion, — which supports the pro-life position on most all abortions but allow for rape and incest exceptions.

The Salvation Army is not new to criticism for supporting exceptions to its pro-life position, as Life Decisions International, which compiles frequent lists of corporations to boycott for donating to the Planned Parenthood abortion business, has cited the Salvation Army for criticism. LDI has included the red kettle organization in its list of groups that deserve scrutiny because of less than absolute pro-life positions.

The Salvation Army’s abortion position statement starts off with a pro-life theme.

“The Salvation Army believes all people are created in the image of God and therefore have unique and intrinsic value. Human life is sacred and all people should be treated with dignity and respect. The Salvation Army accepts the moment of fertilization as the start of human life. We believe that society has a responsibility to care for others, and especially to protect and promote the welfare of vulnerable people, including unborn children,” the organization says.

“The Salvation Army believes that life is a gift from God and we are answerable to God for the taking of life. As such, The Salvation Army is concerned about the growing ready acceptance of abortion, which reflects insufficient concern for vulnerable persons including the unborn. We do not believe that genetic abnormalities that are identified in an unborn child who is likely to live longer than a brief period after birth are sufficient to warrant a termination of pregnancy,” it continues.

The Christian group also shows love, as do all pro-life organizations and pregnancy centers, to women after an abortion — by bringing them spiritual hope and healing.

“When an abortion has taken place, The Salvation Army will continue to show love and compassion and to offer its services and fellowship to those involved,” it says.

The group’s position statement has it opposing the 99% of abortions not done in the so-called hard cases:  rape, incest or to save the life of the mother.

“The Salvation Army holds to the Christian ideals of chastity before marriage and fidelity within the marriage relationship and, consistent with these ideals, supports measures to prevent crisis pregnancies. It is opposed to abortion as a means of birth control, family planning, sex selection or for any reason of mere convenience to avoid the responsibility for conception,” it says. “Therefore, when an unwanted pregnancy occurs, The Salvation Army advises that the situation be accepted and that the pregnancy be carried to term, and offers supportive help and assistance with planning.”

But on those hard cases, the Salvation Army is more permissive.

“The Salvation Army recognizes tragic and perplexing circumstances that require difficult decisions regarding a pregnancy. Such decisions should be made only after prayerful and thoughtful consideration, with appropriate involvement of the woman’s family and pastoral, medical and other counsel. A woman in these circumstances needs acceptance, love and compassion,” it says. “In addition, rape and incest are brutal acts of dominance violating women physically and emotionally. This situation represents a special case for the consideration of termination as the violation may be compounded by the continuation of the pregnancy.”

“The Salvation Army believes that termination can occur only when a) Carrying the pregnancy further seriously threatens the life of the mother; or b) Reliable diagnostic procedures have identified a foetal abnormality considered incompatible with survival for more than a very brief post natal period,” it’s position statement indicates.

Those positions are upsetting to pro-life activist Rebecca Kiessling, an attorney and noted pro-life speaker who was born after her mother was a victim of rape.

“This [abortion] statement is one of the most disheartening things I’ve seen,” she told WND — even though she donates to and supports the Salvation Army.

“They are clearly trying to set forth a biblical standard. They say that God defends the weak and those who are marginalized and that He is a God of justice, but the Salvation Army has now marginalized children like me who were conceived in rape. In other words, they support the death penalty for innocents like me who were conceived out of violence. Yet the Bible says that a child should not be punished for the crimes of [his or her] father,” said Kiessling. “The Salvation Army is all about rescuing treasures and trading beauty for ashes with the used clothes and household items people donate to them, but they can’t seem to do the same for rape victims and their children.”

Salvation Army officials did not respond to WND’s request for comment, but several other pro-life advocates urged the Christian group to revise its pro-life position.