As a social worker in the eighties, I worked extensively with the Salvation Army, so I had a positive image of their good works, and regularly donated to their kettle campaign each Christmas. This all changed this week when Anita Crane, a reporter for World Net Daily sent me the Salvation Army's policy on abortion. It has loopholes which are unacceptable, too many babies fall through.
"The Salvation Army believes in the sanctity of human life. Humankind was created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). All people – without exception – are of value to him, holding a special place in his creation (Psalm 8:5), irrespective of age, gender, race, religion, health or social status, or their potential for achievement."
But it also states, "A serious commitment to the protection and care of the unborn calls us to a commitment to the prevention of unwanted pregnancy through means such as access to reliable birth control, safety in relationships, and societal respect of women."
Specifically, it says the Salvation Army "believes that termination [abortion] can occur only when carrying the pregnancy further seriously threatens the life of the mother; or reliable diagnostic procedures have identified a foetal abnormality considered incompatible with survival for more than a very brief post natal period."
My reaction is contained within the article, but here is the long version:
As a peer minister to women facing a pre-natal diagnosis of Down syndrome, I have heard the horror stories of what the doctors tell women in order to convince them to abort their child. They are told their child will do nothing to help himself, will only live to 10 years of age, will be miserable, will make their siblings miserable, will never be able to tie her shoes, read, graduate high school, and ruin her parents' marriage. This information is patently false.
The truth is marriages last longer when a couple has a child with Down syndrome,according to this Vanderbuilt University Study, and more are graduating high school and college every day, thanks to inclusive education. No one can say how long a child will live based on information gathered pre-natally or what their IQ will be, and Dr Brian Skotko has just published the results of a survey in the American Journal of Medical Genetics saying how happy families who have a member with Down syndrome are.
I shared this in my article for the National Catholic Register;
“We mailed surveys to families around the country, and 3,150 mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and people with Down syndrome responded. Here is just a sample of what we found:
• 99% of people with Down syndrome said they were happy with their lives;
• 97% of people with Down syndrome liked who they are;
• 99% of parents said they love their child with Down syndrome;
• 5% of parents felt embarrassed by their child;
• 97% of brothers/sisters, ages 9-11, said they love their sibling.”
Now, some would interpret Down syndrome in the definition given by the Salvation Army policy statement as "a foetal abnormality considered incompatible with survival for more than a very brief post natal period."
Some babies with Down syndrome do not live long. Some live for decades, outliving their parents.
Take another 'abnormality' trisomy 18. Most babies with t18 don't live to birth, that is true, but there are exceptions. Tell that to Rick Santorum whose three year old Bella Maria is still with us, and Mary Kellett of Pre-natal Partners for Life whose son Peter was a blessing to his family and the world till his recent death at 6 and 1/2 years.
So, if Salvation Army says abortion is OK for babies with abnormalities, most women facing such a diagnosis will be told by their health care professional that that includes them.
It is beneath the dignity of a Christian organization to allow innocent unborn children to be killed. It is beneath the God-given dignity of the babies to be told their lives can be cut short because their mother was raped (the other exception) or they are not perfect enough. If God only gives them life while in their mother's womb, who are we to cut it even shorter?
It is the position of KIDS Keep Infants with Down Syndrome that possessing an abnormal prenatal diagnosis does NOT lower the God-given dignity of a baby. We believe that all human life is sacred from conception till natural death, and if, in the tragic circumstance that a baby is destined to live only the briefest of times, only within a mother's womb or a few brief moments or days afterward, that we must give that child the full span of life and not end her life by abortion.
There is always the possibility of an incorrect diagnosis, so we must always decide on the side of life, and trust God with the life of our beloved child.
The Salvation Army should re-consider their position on this critical issue, as it is not consistent with a pro-life stance.
Let them live, Salvation Army. Let the babies live.
Support their moms if they feel that they can't do it alone, and give them hope for their child's future, if not here on earth, forever in eternity.
That is what we celebrate with the birth of the Christ Child, the birth of the giver of Eternal Life.
Send Salvation Army a message that you will not be donating until they revoke the loopholes in their abortion policy using this contact information:
Commissioner M. Christine MacMillan
The Salvation Army
International Social Justice Commission221 East 52nd Street
New York, NY 10022, USA
Phone: (212) 758-0763Email: IHQ-ISJC@salvationarmy.org
Read the entire article here.