Recent articles about the Salvation Army have highlighted the organization’s support of abortion in some cases based on the Salvation Army’s International branch statement on abortion.
Although The Salvation Army believes in the sanctity of all human life, the International Positional Statement of the organization on abortion outlines the instances in which abortion is considered permissible.
The organization’s stance shows contradictory positions. The Salvation Army acknowledges “the moment of fertilization as the start of human life”, and says that “Human life is sacred and all people should be treated with dignity and respect”, yet it accepts abortion in certain circumstances. Their opening statement defines abortion as an “operation or other procedure to terminate a pregnancy before the foetus is viable.” Yet induced abortions occur after the point of viability and these are still called abortions. The circumstances in which the Salvation Army believes that abortion can occur are: pregnancy as a result of rape or incest, when carrying the pregnancy threatens the life of the mother, or when there is a foetal abnormality and the baby will not live long after birth. However, how can the poor health of a baby be a justification for killing an unborn child when in another statement they insist that “all people-without exception- are of value… irrespective of age, gender, race, religion, health or social status, or their potential for achievement”?
According to Life News.com, Rebecca Kiessling, a former attorney whose mother was a victim of rape told World Net Daily that the Salvation Army’s statement on abortion “is one of the most disheartening things I’ve seen.” -even though she donates to and supports the Salvation Army. “…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.”
Leaders of the Salvation Army USA have said that the statement on abortion from the International branch does not reflect their position. They have directed visitors to the statement on their website. They have also placed the issue on the agenda for the next international conference and correspondence will be sent to the International branch on the matter.