Eternal Marriage Student Manual, (2003), 1–2

Abortion is an evil, stark and real and repugnant, which is sweeping over the earth.

—President Gordon B. Hinckley

Selected Teachings

President Spencer W. Kimball

“Abortion is a growing evil that we speak against. Certainly the terrible sin of premeditated abortion would be hard to justify. It is almost inconceivable that an abortion would ever be committed to save face or embarrassment, to save trouble or inconvenience, or to escape responsibility. How could one submit to such an operation or be party in any way by financing or encouraging? If special rare cases could be justified, certainly they would be rare indeed. We place it high on the list of sins against which we strongly warn the people.

“‘Abortion must be considered one of the most revolting and sinful practices in this day, when we are witnessing the frightful evidence of permissiveness leading to sexual immorality.’ (Priesthood Bulletin, February 1973, p. 1.)” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1974, 8; or Ensign, May 1974, 7).

President Gordon B. Hinckley

Question 3: What is your position on abortion?

“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were more than 1,200,000 abortions performed in 1995 in the United States alone. What has happened to our regard for human life? How can women, and men, deny the great and precious gift of life, which is divine in its origin and nature?

“How wonderful a thing is a child. How beautiful is a newborn babe. There is no greater miracle than the creation of human life.

“Abortion is an ugly thing, a debasing thing, a thing which inevitably brings remorse and sorrow and regret.

“While we denounce it, we make allowance in such circumstances as when pregnancy is the result of incest or rape, when the life or health of the mother is judged by competent medical authority to be in serious jeopardy, or when the fetus is known by competent medical authority to have serious defects that will not allow the baby to survive beyond birth.

“But such instances are rare, and there is only a negligible probability of their occurring. In these circumstances, those who face the question are asked to consult with their local ecclesiastical leaders and to pray in great earnestness, receiving a confirmation through prayer before proceeding.

“There is a far better way.

“If there is no prospect of marriage to the man involved, leaving the mother alone, there remains the very welcome option of placing the child for adoption by parents who will love it and care for it. There are many such couples in good homes who long for a child and cannot have one” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1998, 91–92; or Ensign, Nov. 1998, 71).

“You who are wives and mothers are the anchors of the family. You bear the children. What an enormous and sacred responsibility that is. I am told that between 1972 and 1990 there were 27 million abortions in the United States alone. What is happening to our appreciation of the sanctity of human life? Abortion is an evil, stark and real and repugnant, which is sweeping over the earth. I plead with the women of this Church to shun it, to stand above it, to stay away from those compromising situations which make it appear desirable. There may be some few circumstances under which it can occur, but they are extremely limited and for the most part improbable. You are the mothers of the sons and daughters of God, whose lives are sacred. Safeguarding them is a divinely given responsibility which cannot be lightly brushed aside” (“Walking in the Light of the Lord,” Ensign, Nov. 1998, 99).

Elder Boyd K. Packer

“Whatever the laws of man may come to tolerate, the misuse of the power of procreation, the destroying of innocent life through abortion, and the abuse of little children are transgressions of enormous proportion. For cradled therein rests the destiny of innocent, helpless children” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1986, 21; or Ensign, Nov. 1986, 18).

“Nowhere is the right of choice defended with more vigor than with abortion. Having chosen to act, and a conception having occurred, it cannot then be unchosen. But there are still choices; always a best one.

“Sometimes the covenant of marriage has been broken; more often none was made. In or out of marriage, abortion is not an individual choice. At a minimum, three lives are involved.

“The scriptures tell us, ‘Thou shalt not … kill, nor do anything like unto it’ (D&C 59:6; italics added).

“Except where the wicked crime of incest or rape was involved, or where competent medical authorities certify that the life of the mother is in jeopardy, or that a severely defective fetus cannot survive birth, abortion is clearly a ‘thou shalt not.’ Even in these very exceptional cases, much sober prayer is required to make the right choice.

“We face such sobering choices because we are the children of God” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1990, 108; or Ensign, Nov. 1990, 85).

“I know of no sins connected with the moral standard for which we cannot be forgiven. I do not exempt abortion” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1992, 95; or Ensign, May 1992, 68).

Elder Neal A. Maxwell

“Abortion, which has increased enormously, causes one to ask, ‘Have we strayed so far from God’s second great commandment—love thy neighbor—that a baby in a womb no longer qualifies to be loved—at least as a mother’s neighbor?’ Even so, violence to an unborn child does not justify other violence!” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1993, 94–95; or Ensign, May 1993, 76).

Elder Russell M. Nelson

“Regrettable as is the loss of loved ones from war, these figures are dwarfed by the toll of a new war that annually claims more casualties than the total number of fatalities from all the wars of this nation.

“It is a war on the defenseless—and the voiceless. It is a war on the unborn.

“This war, labeled ‘abortion,’ is of epidemic proportion and is waged globally. Over 55 million abortions were reported worldwide in the year 1974 alone. Sixty-four percent of the world’s population now live in countries that legally sanction this practice. In the United States of America, over 1.5 million abortions are performed annually. About 25 to 30 percent of all pregnancies now end in abortion. In some metropolitan areas, there are more abortions performed than live births. Comparable data also come from other nations” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1985, 13; or Ensign, May 1985, 11).

Elder Dallin H. Oaks

“The ultimate act of destruction is to take a life. That is why abortion is such a serious sin. Our attitude toward abortion is not based on revealed knowledge of when mortal life begins for legal purposes. It is fixed by our knowledge that according to an eternal plan, all of the spirit children of God must come to this earth for a glorious purpose, and that individual identity began long before conception and will continue for all the eternities to come. We rely on the prophets of God, who have told us that while there may be ‘rare’ exceptions, ‘the practice of elective abortion is fundamentally contrary to the Lord’s injunction, “Thou shalt not … kill, nor do anything like unto it” (Doctrine and Covenants 59:6)’ (1991 Supplement to the 1989 General Handbook of Instructions, p. 1).

“Our knowledge of the great plan of happiness also gives us a unique perspective on the subject of marriage and the bearing of children. In this we also run counter to some strong current forces in custom, law, and economics” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1993, 99–100; or Ensign, Nov. 1993, 74).