The debate about contraception and abortion in Christian circles has long and complex history. Perhaps the reason why the debate has never been put to rest is that there is no express verse in the Bible (in both the New Testament and the Old Testament forbidding contraception and abortion.
Furthermore, the Jewish Law defines unborn child as “potential human life” and not considered a human being until majority of the body parts have emerged from the mother and that life begins when the baby takes breath through the nostrils (Genesis 2:7). The pro-choice groups use this verse to argue that there is no life in an unborn child and so abortion and contraception cannot be considered unbiblical.
The Stand of the Catholic Church
Among the most vocal and pro-life Christians, are Roman Catholics. The Catholic faithfuls in Australia share their stance with the catholic body of the whole world. These Christians believe that life starts at conception with sexual intercourse. The intercourse itself is considered a sin if it is not between married couples. If it results in pregnancy then the developing foetus is a person and no one has the right to take its life. The Catholics claim that even the use of contraceptive drugs is an act of violence against the unborn baby.
According to the position of Catholic Church in Australia, the direct and voluntary killing of the unborn is gravely immoral. No reason, however serious or tragic, can ever justify the deliberate killing of an innocent human being. In other words, once a pregnancy has been confirmed and labelled “unwanted” it cannot be terminated on any grounds, even medical.
The Positions of Other Churches
All the other denominations and religious groups in Australia support neither abortion nor contraception. The basis of their arguments is that life begins with fertilization and contraceptives that seek to alter the environment of implantation or discourage the growth of the fertilized egg cause as much harm as terminating an already confirmed pregnancy deliberately.
The Anglican Church, Assemblies of God, Baptist churches, Greek Orthodox Church (Archdiocese of Australia), Lutheran Church of Australia, Presbyterian Church and Salvation Army, Seventh-Day Adventists, and Jehovah’s Witness, all have different positions but the common thing is that they condemn the act on the basis that it violates the sixth commandment of the Bible (Genesis 20:13).
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) and Uniting church have a more liberal position on contraception and abortion with the former supporting abortion in cases where the pregnancy was due to unacceptable circumstances such as rape and incest. The Uniting Church on the other hand says they hold no position on the abortion issue claiming they only bear witness to God and do not have final answer on such matters.
Christian views on contraception and abortion are not expected to change soon as the biblical principles they are based on will never change. However, with the increasing campaign by women right groups and pro-life proponents, many individual Christians are becoming more and more liberal and this could explain the success of pro-choice campaigners.