What is Abortion? Abortion is a moral problem that creates conflicts of values and rights. The weighing of the values is not a religious issue. Christian doctrines of creation and redemption bring the problem of abortion respect for the lives of all persons. Some Christian groups disagree abortion, reasoning it as sinful. But few disagree that it is tragic, even when morally warranted.
We wish to discuss the topic of What is Abortion. But before moving to discuss on the topic; We see a little about pastoral care and counselling.
What is Pastoral Care and Counselling?
Pastoral care a broad term that refers to all or any that a pastor does; as well as organising, shepherding the individuals and proclaiming the gospel to them.
Wayne E. Oates says, “Pastoral care is to heal sometimes; to remedy often; however, to comfort always.” subject matter is that the task of re-establishing the broken relationship; between human and human and between human and God.
Pastoral counselling is a selected task among the umbrella of pastoral care. Pastoral counselling arises from a crisis scenario of the people. It’s a caring ministry centred on a personal or cluster targeted on a specific problem.
The church plays a very vital role in rendering pastoral care and subject matter to her congregation. And also the task to an excellent extend falls within the hands of the pastor.
Pastoral care and counselling is an instrument to help people in preventing serious problems; and it can develop the potentialities of the people; or to overcome the problems by helping the sick person in time of critical condition.
Definition of Abortion
First, we need to understand the definition of abortion.
“Abortion could be a term which is employed for the removal of a foetus before 28 complete weeks; and nobody can determine the acceptable thanks to killing the unborn. And the abortion can be defined with qualifying terms such as ‘spontaneous’; ‘induced’; or ‘miscarriage’. And abortion is one of the key factors which take most of the lives of human unborn in India; it is very common.
According to J. Foster, he says that, as a medical term, the word ‘abortion’ is often used as a synonym for ‘miscarriage’. In this medical sense; we may speak of abortion even when the miscarriage is purely accidental e.g. the result of a fall. But outside the medical world; the term ‘abortion’ is normally reserved for cases in which the miscarriage is deliberately induced cases; in which someone deliberately terminates the pregnancy with destroying the foetus.
Debate on Abortion
In the debate on abortion, there are generally two big views which are differing from one another. They are simply known universally as Pro-Choice and Pro-Life.
It is a view that every woman has the right to choose what happens to her own body. This view justifies all the above-mentioned reasons for abortion. They argue that according to the ‘actuality principle’ of functionality; a foetus is not a person and it is only when a person begins to act as a moral, spiritual and intellectual being, then only he or she is considered as a human being. They, therefore, validate the process of abortion depending on the case. On the basis of their belief, these people assume that,
i. Abortion is an important instrument in controlling population explosion.
ii. They also justify it in the interest of the health of women and saving the life of a mother.
iii. They found abortion as a remedy to pregnancy caused due to sexual assault and get rid of the foetus to maintain family relationship and status.
iv. They sometimes stand on the cause of the female to escape discrimination and misery which can be brought about by bearing of a fatherless child.
v. At the most, the advocates of this opine that women have the right over their reproductive system and even can decide when and what gender of the child they want.
It regards that every foetus has the right to live and it totally rejects abortion. They are the anti-abortionists who emphasize the rights of the unborn child.
They took the stand of ‘potentiality principle’ in Functionalism; emphasizing the right to life. They argued that even modern medical science proved that the heart of a baby begins to beat by the third week of pregnancy and the head and body are distinguishable by the fifth week and so forth. Therefore abortion is a sin in this view.
i. They believe that it is risky for the foetus, to draw amniotic fluid through the uterus since this can lead to physical defects and deformity.
ii. The use of ultrasound scanning is also believed to be unreliable and can also lead to abortion of the foetus accidentally.
iii. They also felt the necessity to educate the people and society on the value of life.
Biblical and Traditional Responses
When God of Israel delivered the people from the land of Egypt. He gave them laws which they have to follow to keep remember that the LORD of Israel delivered them from the slavery and oppression in Exodus 21:22; if any man harm women and it cause a miscarriage; he should pay what her husband demands.
It shows the concern of the Lord about the unborn and the 6th law says “you shall not murder” Exodus 20:13. And in the Deuteronomy 7:13 Lord made a covenant with the people of Israel “… He will bless the fruit of the womb”, in the book of Prophet Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I made you in your mother’s womb, I chose you”. It shows that the Lord of Israel blessed His people with the new-born he made the covenant so the purpose of a human is to be faithful to the covenants which we find in Exo.19:8 “Everything that the Lord has spoken we will do.” Here we see the people also ready to follow the laws which, are given by the LORD.
Through these passages, we know that LORD commanded ta hem about the killing of an unborn child seen as a sinful act. The Decalogue itself says thou shall not kill.
“In biblical, patristic, medieval, and Reformation Christianity, avoiding reproduction was seen as sinful, the life of the unborn was accorded high value, women were thought to have few rights of independent self-determination in family or society, and abortion was associated with sexual immorality.”
Prohibition against murder
Every Christians would affirm that murder is wrong as it is written in the Bible, ‘You shall not murder, (Ex. 20:13). From the biblical perspective, it can be said that personhood is continuous-it occurs before and after birth. In many instances, it is found that even in the womb, a foetus is considered a person and given importance in the Bible.
Therefore abortion in the light of biblical idea might be not ethical for a Christian.
Life is a gift from God
Human life comes into being by an act which shares in the creative power of God himself (Ps. 139:13). It is generally agreed that life starts when fertilization takes place.
In Jeremiah 1:5 there is a mention of the consecration of the prophet before he was born.
Human is created for eternal life
The beginning of life therefore cannot be neglected and cut short at one’s own will to take a risk of the danger of disobedience and distorting God’s intent. It is not justifiable to abort a baby in the womb the b simply by stating that it is just a lump of cell.havingife is created for fulfilment: Every having each own purpose in the eyes of God.
The attainment of a fuller life is not derived from a concern for convenience or a desire for comfort or self-centred pleasure. Not wanting to be a mother does not provide a proper justification for declining to have an abortion.
Life and death in the hands of God
No human has the right to extinguish human life by a decision of his own, made apart from general percept that express God’s will (Phil. 1:21-24)
A person cannot just bear a child in his own liking. Therefore abortion can never be justified from a biblical perspective.
Care and Counselling in the context of morally ambiguous are situations – abortion
Care and counselling are necessary for women or for the couples who are considering the termination of an unwanted or otherwise problem at gone pregnancy and fa or persons who have already gone through such a situation.
Most of the abortion counselling is given to women alone and men may also be included. Pastors can encourage their participation since men are also affected or involved in such situations.
In these days there is a great incompatibility over the moral and legal issues in abortion and the abortion counselling should give answers for all questions related to sexuality, marriage and children raising. And, the pastoral care of persons having an intention of aborting the foetus or one who is recovering from abortion is s positive and complicate.
But, while abortion presents a moral dilemma in pastoral care, a look at the broader picture reveals that there need be no incompatibility between holding a particular moral position oneself, as pastor or counsellor, while assisting an individual to reach a free decision of conscience.
It is in any case extremely important that the counsellor is in touch with his or her own feelings; and values concerning abortion, without feeling compelled to limit the counselee’s freedom of conscience.
The mind of a person who is having an intention of abortion be in dilemma, and they make be seeking counselling. Some need to make a decision quickly and a counsellor in such a situation may help them to expand the level of awareness.
Therefore, pre-abortion counselling is very important. In order to avoid major problem counsellors encouraged to ask some simple and direct questions to the counselee.
Pastoral conversation and questioning should try to elicit the counselee’s motives for seeking an abortion. Pregnancy and abortion can have various meanings even for persons in similar circumstances, so it is important to ask and to listen. It is often helpful to the counselees themselves to express and talk through their feelings and motives, and pastors should encourage them to do so insofar as that seems wanted and useful.
The pastor can assist by asking simple, direct questions and listening well, and at times by providing appropriate information and moral perspective.
After the abortion, people may feel grief. They need immediate recovery. So, in such situations also pastoral care and counselling are more important.
As in mourning other losses, grief reactions in abortion vary widely in kind and intensity depending on many factors. They are usually intensified, however, to the extent that conflicting desires and feelings about the foetus are present. A complicating factor in abortion grief magically ambiguous status of the foetus.
This may make the mourning process both easier in some ways and more difficult in others. It is often the case also that abortion is an isolating experience socially and emotionally, making pastoral care and presence all the more important.
Church’s Responsibility for Abortion:
Abortion presents a significant threat to the physical and spiritual health of a mother so taking care of her in spiritually and physically is that the responsibility of the church.
The Church should consider protecting the foremost vulnerable and dependent citizenry, namely, unborn children as a requirement.
Without rejecting the ladies who had an abortion, the Church calls upon them to repent and to beat the destructive consequences of the sin through prayer and penance followed by participation within the salvific Sacraments.
The church should confirm that the abortion of an unborn child is accepted by the daddy; along side the mother. If the abortion is without the consent of her husband, it would grounds for divorce.
The Church calls upon the state to recognise the proper of medics to refuse to acquire abortion for the explanations of conscience.
The church should give importance to part for the doctors who are involving within the treatment for preserving life and encourage them to carry strong the moral values with Christian conscience.
There should be church role to teach the spouses and recollect the human reproduction among the principal purposes of the divinely established with marital union; so deliberate refusal of childbirth on egoistic grounds devalues marriage and may be a definite sin.
Commercialized and compulsory abortions should be strictly avoided; and therefore the church should take initiative against such quite social evils.
The church should encourage the people for adopting the youngsters.
In summary, Christians still debate the status of the foetus; and of its rights as compared to the proper of these whom its continued development affects, especially its mother.
While some Christians condemn abortion altogether; but the foremost extreme cases, others view it because the right of any woman who chooses it.
A broader consensus exists in favour of abortion as an option; when the mother has been victimized by rape or incest when the kid are going to be severely abnormal. Precise criteria for such abortion decisions still be refined. So, as to avoid major problems in abortion. Pastoral care and counselling are going to be very helpful in these critical situations.