The Christian Reformed Church’s Office of Social Justice (OSJ) is calling on church members who live in the United States to contact their senators in support of a bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of gestation.
Known as the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Act (H.R. 36), the bill passed in the House of Representatives on October 3 and has gone on to the U.S. Senate, where it is now in committee. The bill would penalize those who perform abortions after 20 weeks’ gestation, not the women attempting to have them. Violators would be subject to criminal penalties of a fine, up to five years in prison, or both. The bill provides exceptions for an abortion (1) that is necessary to save the life of the pregnant woman, or (2) when the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.
According to the OSJ action alert, this is the third time the bill has made its way to the Senate, having failed both times prior. It suggests emailing senators a message affirming the sanctity of all human life and urging a vote in favor of the legislation.
The CRC’s official position on abortion is that all human beings are image-bearers of God and goes on to say that “the church condemns the wanton or arbitrary destruction of any human being at any stage of its development from the point of conception to the point of death. The church affirms that an induced abortion is an allowable option only when the life of the mother-to-be is genuinely threatened by the continuation of the pregnancy.” The church also calls believers “to show Christian compassion and to offer support to those experiencing unwanted pregnancies as well as to those who have undergone abortions.”
That position was adopted by synod (the annual leadership meeting of the CRC) in 1972. Synod 1997 reaffirmed that position and condemned the practice of partial-birth abortion. Synod 2010 instructed the Office of Social Justice “to boldly advocate for the church’s position against abortion, and to help equip churches to promote the sanctity of human life.”
CRC executive director Steven Timmermans said, “Legalized abortion has been with us so long, we may find ourselves slipping into complacency. Yet our witness and work must remain strong in promoting life for the unborn.” He added, “We need to remember, too, our advocacy for life doesn’t end at birth but should draw us into promoting a wide range of efforts in obedience to our and all of humanity’s Creator.”