Presbyterian Elder Hits Out at Pro-Abortion Minister, Warns Abortion Is ‘Threat to Woman‘s Humanity‘
By , Christian Post Reporter | Aug 30, 2018 11:47 AM (Photo: REUTERS/Eric Thayer)People attend the March for Life rally in Washington, U.S., January 19, 2018.
A Presbyterian church elder has hit out against an ordained minister advocating that Christians should “trust women” when it comes to abortions.
Paula Rinehart, who is also a therapist and author of books such as Sex and the Soul of Woman, argued that “progressives are getting desperate” in a piece published by on Wednesday.
“Christians see embodied compassion as that which leads a person into richer, unfolding life, in which children can only be construed as a blessing. Abortion is a threat to the humanity of the woman herself,” Rinehart wrote.
At the center of her criticism is Rebecca Todd Peters, a professor of religious studies at Elon University in North Carolina, an ordained Presbyterian minister and author of Trust Women: A Progressive Christian Argument for Reproductive Justice.
In the book, and in an op-ed in in July, Peters argues that different Christian denominations accept some forms of abortion, such as in relation to prenatal health, rape, incest, and health of the mother.
She adds that women who want to have abortions outside those reasons should not be condemned, however.
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“Limiting our cultural approval of women‘s reproductive decisions about the size, shape, and timing of their families to a narrow list of PRIM reasons flies in the face of Jesus‘ teaching that he came to bring abundant life. A Christian vision of abundant life requires recognizing and supporting the development of healthy and robust families,” Peters writes.
“It requires respecting women and the moral decisions that they make about their families. A Christian approach to supporting healthy families recognizes that only individual women and their partners are able to determine their ability to parent a child.”
Rinehart argues that what stands out in Peters‘ arguments are her attempts to “wring actual Christian virtue out of the traumatic act of ending life in the womb.”
“She commends women for the ‘moral courage‘ of choosing abortion when they aren‘t prepared to parent. (Missing in the conversation is what justice might look like for the child in the womb),” the therapist positions.
Touching on the theological debate, Rinehart says that supporting abortion goes against Old and New Testament history and Scripture.
“Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Augustine — none of these early church fathers considered intentionally destroying life in the womb as anything other than grave sin. That‘s not to mention Jesus, who claimed that to care for ‘the least of these‘ was to care, in fact, for him,” she points out.
“For both Christian and Jew, the defining reality and the one that makes abortion a tragic, nearly unthinkable option is the belief that each person, from conception to last breath, carries in his or her being the Imago Dei — the image of God,” Rinehart continues.
“This is powerful truth. It eventually broke the back of slavery, in spite of centuries of willful ignorance from even religious slave owners. The glory of God embedded in a human being is the theological hill that pro-life advocates are willing to die on.”
The divisions in Presbyterian thought when it comes to abortion were also recently highlighted in the Republic of Ireland‘s national referendum, which greatly expanded the cases in which abortion is legally permitted.
At that time, instead of directing members to vote for or against the country‘s Eight Amendment, which restricted abortion, The Presbyterian Church in Ireland to “vote in accordance with their conscience.”
The statement was criticized by conservatives, such as Carmen LaBerge, president of Reformation Press, who said that church leaders “only breed confusion” by refusing to take a firm stance, which suggests to others that “Jesus is either double-minded or schizophrenic.”</p