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Presbyterian Minister Pens ‘Christian Argument For Abortion’

By  Paul Bois

Jesus would be totally down with the killing of unborn children, says Presbyterian minister Rebecca Todd Peters, who, in her new book, claims that abortion is not contrary to Christian teaching — even though Christianity has condemned abortion for over 2,000 years.

In her book, “Trust Women: A Progressive Christian Argument for Reproductive Justice” from Beacon Press, the Presbyterian “minister” says that pro-lifers begin their argument from the wrong premise: that unborn life should be protected at the mother’s expense. She also argues quite wrongly that pro-life laws somehow suggest that women cannot be self-governing.

“The starting point of our ethical conversation should be women’s lives, [yet] the problem that we face in this country is our failure to trust women to act as rational, capable, responsible moral agents,” she writes.

Todd Peters misses the point that plenty of women in this country conduct themselves as “rational, capable, responsible moral agents” regarding abortion. The problem is they just don’t swing in Todd Peters’s direction. Here’s how Publishers Weekly described the arguments that Todd Peters lays forward:

For Peters, who is open about having had abortions, there are big problems with the way Christians and Catholics frame moral questions around abortion and women. She writes that they employ a “justification paradigm” in which the default expectation is for women to bear children if they get pregnant, and they must “justify their moral decision” to do otherwise.

Peters’s book is dense with the history of women’s rights, as well as analysis of patriarchal oppression and the ways the church, legislators, and businesses have tried to control and govern women’s bodies. This theologically astute and social justice-minded book will appeal to progressive Christians who are interested in reclaim-ing abortion as an issue of women’s health and could easily become part of the required reading for an array of university courses.

Todd Peters serves as a professor at Elon University, which publicly praised her book for “developing a Christian ethic of reproductive justice as the framework for thinking about women’s whole reproductive lives, including everything from access to contraception to fertility treatments to unplanned pregnancies.”

“This new project also focuses on helping people think in more sophisticated ways about how pregnancy challenges our existing moral categories of personhood and life,” said the university.

Since Christianity first began, it has always taught that abortion and infanticide are moral evils that cannot be permitted under any circumstance. Here’s what some Church Fathers had to say:

“Indeed there are those women who cut off the word prematurely born/aborted, before they give birth, there are those who have Christ in the womb but they will not yet have formed (him), to whom it is said: my children, whom I desire to bring forth again and again until Christ be formed in you.” – St. Ambrose

“Why sow where the ground makes it its care to destroy the fruit? Where there are many efforts at abortion? Where there is murder before the birth?” – St. John Chrysostom

“Some, when they find themselves with child through their sin, use drugs to procure abortion, and when (as often happens) they die with their offspring, they enter the lower world laden with the guilt not only of adultery against Christ but also of suicide and child murder.” – St. Jerome

The list goes on . . .

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