Mormon beliefs teach that all of life comes from God. He is the literal Father of our spirits. The ability to create life on earth is a sacred responsibility, and therefore, Mormons are opposed to abortion in all but a very few limited circumstances.Abortion is permitted-but should not be an automatic choice-in cases of rape and incest, danger to the life of the mother according to a responsible and qualified doctor, and defects that would cause the child to be unable to survive following birth. When a woman faces one of these rare situations, she should counsel with her church leaders and family, and turn to God in prayer to know what God wants her to do. The Church does not hold only the pregnant woman responsible for abortions. Those who encourage, pay for, perform, or arrange for abortions can also lose their church membership, as can a woman who chooses abortion inappropriately. The taking of a life is a right given only to God, who created it. The Doctrine and Covenants, a collection of official church revelation and teachings in modern times, states, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Thou shalt not steal; neither commit adultery, nor kill, nor do anything like unto it.” (Doctrine and Covenants 59:6) Mormons teach that each person has agency-the right to choose-given to them by God. However, agency invariably comes with responsibility and consequences. While we can choose our actions, we cannot choose the consequences, nor can we avoid affecting others by our decisions. The ability to create a child is to be used only within the bonds of marriage, and is to be used responsibly. When a woman chooses to use her body in a way that can lead to the creation of a human being, she must also accept the possible consequences of doing so. There are many consequences involved in this choice, and the willingness to give birth to any child created is one of the most serious. Where possible, the natural parents of a child born out of wedlock should marry and raise the child in a loving home. When this is not possible, the child should be placed in a loving home with adoptive parents who will raise it as their own. The church agrees that women have a right, within the bounds of health and science, to control what happens to their bodies. This is one reason abortion is permitted in cases of rape-the woman’s right to choose what would happen to her body was stolen from her. However, when a child is created through voluntary actions on the part of the mother, another body and other lives are involved. The woman’s right to choose happened when she chose to be intimate. With that choice, God expects her-and the child’s father– to accept the consequences of the choice. Every choice we make in life limits our remaining options. Responsible people accept that choices have consequences and they accept those consequences even when it is difficult, embarrassing, or unpleasant. Avoiding consequences is never part of God’s plan. We came to earth, in part, to have experiences, and to test our ability to make wise choices and to accept the consequences of the choices we make. Those who are parents have learned that when we don’t teach our children to understand that choices have consequences and that those consequences must be dealt with responsibly, we set them up for a disastrous life. Good parents don’t do this to their children. God is not just a good parent; He is a perfect parent. As our Father in Heaven, He wants us to learn to be responsible and to make the hard choices in life. He knows that in the eternal scheme of things, this is better for us. Knowing we must face the consequences motivates us to make wise decisions at the beginning of the process, in order to avoid the harder ones later on if we’ve made an incorrect choice. Facing the consequences of our choices wisely helps us to become more responsible and mature. In 1985, Russell M. Nelson, a former doctor who now serves as an apostle of the Lord, wrote:
To clarify this concept, we can learn from the astronaut. Any time during the selection process, planning, and preparation, he is free to withdraw. But once the powerful rocket fuel is ignited, he is no longer free to choose. Now he is bound by the consequences of his choice. Even if difficulties develop and he might wish otherwise, the choice made was sealed by action. So it is with those who would tamper with the God-given power of procreation. They are free to think and plan otherwise, but their choice is sealed by action. The woman’s choice for her own body does not validate choice for the body of another. The expression “terminate the pregnancy” applies literally only to the woman. The consequence of terminating the fetus therein involves the body and very life of another. These two individuals have separate brains, separate hearts, and separate circulatory systems. To pretend that there is no child and no life there is to deny reality. It is not a question of when “meaningful life” begins or when the spirit “quickens” the body. In the biological sciences, it is known that life begins when two germ cells unite to become one cell, bringing together twenty-three chromosomes from both the father and from the mother. These chromosomes contain thousands of genes. In a marvelous process involving a combination of genetic coding by which all the basic human characteristics of the unborn person are established, a new DNA complex is formed. A continuum of growth results in a new human being. The onset of life is not a debatable issue, but a fact of science. Approximately twenty-two days after the two cells have united, a little heart begins to beat. At twenty-six days the circulation of blood begins.–Russell M. Nelson, “Ensign, May 1985″ Reverence for Life,” 11 Mormons have a great reverence for life at every stage, before birth, during life, and after life ends on earth. Their stance on abortion is a seamless part of their respect for eternal life and their love for God, who creates all life.