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Anglican Church affirms its position on abortion

http://archives.anglican.ca/en/permalink/official7233
Date
1989 November 3
Source
Anglican News Service
Record Type
Press release
Date
1989 November 3
Source
Anglican News Service
Record Type
Press release
Text
NEWS RELEASE
Friday November 3, 1989
12:00 noon [Toronto, Ont.]
In the light of the Government's announcement of a new Abortion Bill, the Anglican Church reaffirms its position that both the rights and needs of women, and the rights and needs of the unborn, require protection.
The Church welcomes a non-gestational approach. This accords with the Church's opposition to any arbitrary division which would make early abortion available on demand. The Church's fundamental position is that "abortion is always the taking of human life and, in our view, should never be done except for serious therapeutic reasons". However, the Church's Abortion report affirms that:
-an upper limit should be established at which "there is no reasonable prospect of viability"
- there should be a waiting period during which time counselling to women should be made available
- other alternatives to abortion explored including "social and financial supports to meet the needs of the woman, in housing accommodation, child care, employment, retraining, welfare benefits, and income support, as well as consideration of adoption of the baby expected."
The Church further affirms that there should be a conscience clause, so that "the conscientious right of health care personnel to refrain from participating in abortion procedures be guaranteed."
The Church also is "opposed in principle" to "anticipated genetic defect in the foetus as automatic grounds for abortion", because as Christians we are "called to be the voice of the voiceless and powerless (and) must speak out when those different from or less able than the norm are to be denied the full rights accorded their fellow humans".
The Church's Abortion Report also recommends legislation to "ban commercial transactions in human genetic material"; or any possibility of deliberate abortion for purposes of "foetal cell farming" for human transplants, and welcomes the recent announcement of a Royal Commission on reproductive techniques "as a vehicle to examine these concerns and develop legislative measures".
The Anglican Church sees abortion as a public justice issue, challenging Canadians to build a society that affirms human life, which values children and welcomes a new generation, and which provides legal and social protection for women caught in the trauma of problem pregnancies. Such extensive social legislation, to reduce conditions which make the choice of abortion more likely, would include:
- programs and education to combat violence against women
- more affordable housing
- pay equity for women
- a guaranteed annual income, and other financial measures
- universally accessible, publicly funded day care
- an intensified national program to collect child support payments from delinquent fathers
- better educational programs about sexuality and contraception in schools
The Church does not see abortion as simply a "woman's issue" but rather a community issue, which takes place on the battleground of women's bodies. Concerned that women are frequently forced to choose between marginalization and poverty or abortion, the Church believes that in many circumstances women are not "free" to choose to bear their children and so, because society fails to provide supportive structures, "abortion has become a means of `restructuring the woman' by emptying the womb". Many Canadian women who choose not to bear their child make their decision out of alienation and hopelessness. "True choice must involve alternatives to despair" the Report concludes.
Abortion In a New Perspective: Report of the Task Force on Abortion, is available from: The Anglican Book Centre, 600 Jarvis Street, Toronto, Ontario M4Y 2J6
For further information contact: The Reverend Michael Ingham, Principal Secretary to the Primate, 600 Jarvis Street, Toronto, Ontario, (416) 924-9192; Mrs. Diane Marshall (Family therapist, Report co-author) (416) 487-3613; Mrs. Phyllis Creighton (Research historian, Report co-author) (416) 978-2245
Subjects
Abortion - Law and legislation - Canada
Abortion - Religious aspects - Anglican Church of Canada
Bioethics - Religious aspects - Anglican Church of Canada
Disabled - Religious aspects - Anglican Church of Canada
Sexual ethics - Religious aspects - Anglican Church of Canada
Transplantation of organs, tissues, etc. - Religious aspects - Anglican Church of Canada
Reproductive technology - Religious aspects - Anglican Church of Canada
Human embryo - Religious aspects - Anglican Church of Canada
Human reproductive technology - Law and legislation - Canada
Human reproductive technology - Moral and ethical aspects
Medical ethics - Canada
Women's rights - Canada
Birth control - Canada
Birth control - Religious aspects - Anglican Church of Canada
Contraception - Religious aspects - Anglican Church of Canada
Poor women - Canada
Poverty - Religious aspects - Anglican Church of Canada
Less detail

Anglican Church responds to abortion legislation

http://archives.anglican.ca/en/permalink/official9060
Date
1989 November 10
Source
Anglican News Service
Record Type
Press release
Date
1989 November 10
Source
Anglican News Service
Record Type
Press release
Text
NEWS RELEASE
Friday November 10, 1989
1:00 pm [Toronto, Ont.]
The Anglican Church of Canada welcomes -- with some reservations -- the federal government's initiative in bringing forward legislation to regulate abortion in Canada. While there are important areas of concern which the Bill does not address, we would give cautious support to its provisions, as far as they go, and we express the hope that it will be open to amendment in the parliamentary process.
The Anglican Church is pleased the Bill is not based on a gestational approach, which devalues the unborn in the early stages of development. A non-gestational approach accords with the Church's opposition to any arbitrary division which would make early abortion available on demand. The Church's fundamental position is that "abortion is always the taking of a human life and, in our view, should never be done except for serious therapeutic reasons".
We think it right to try to establish a balance between the legitimate rights of women and the state's interest in the foetus.
We think it right to distinguish between contraception and abortion.
However, we question a number of matters in the legislation itself, and would raise some issues that are not included in the Bill; namely:
- we are dismayed that it includes criminal sanctions against women
- we question whether the measure will actually protect the foetus. The Bill allows its life to be taken if one physician agrees that a woman's physical, mental, or psychological health would be likely to be threatened if the pregnancy continues. The Anglican Church, in its resolutions, accepts abortion as a therapeutic measure where pregnancy endangers a woman's life or physical or mental health. But the language of "threat" provides not clear standard. Will a serious threat be required -- a balancing of rights -- or will a minor one do ? Neither the woman's rights not the foetal rights are clear.
- we would prefer the legislation to require a second and independent medical opinion
- we would prefer to see a mandatory waiting period during which counselling to women should be made available ensuring that alternatives to abortion can be explored, including social and financial supports to meet the needs of the woman, in housing accommodation, child care, employment, retraining, welfare benefits, and income support, as well as consideration of adoption of the baby expected.
- we regret there appears to be no provision for recording the reasons for which abortion is undertaken. How will legislators learn what needs to be done to remedy the conditions leading to abortion ?
- we regret there is no conscience clause protecting health care workers who do not wish to participate in abortion procedures
- we would prefer to see provisions in this, or some accompanying legislation, which would guarantee equitable access across the country to both abortion and counselling services
- we do not believe the legislation addresses the root causes of the number of abortions in Canada
Too often, women face the choice between abortion and poverty. If this is to be changed, and the number of abortions diminished, women need to be given realistic alternatives.
"True" choice will only be possible when there exists:
- adequate social and economic support structures to enable women to have their children
- programs and education to combat violence against women
- more affordable housing
- pay equity for women
- a guaranteed annual income, and other financial measures
- universally accessible, publicly funded day care
- an intensified national program to collect child support payments from delinquent fathers
- better educational programs about sexuality and contraception in schools
The Anglican Church wants to see the social context and the need for support for women to be taken seriously. This legislation puts all the responsibility on the woman herself, and on her physician. It does nothing to address the responsibility of the wider community towards children.
We urge that the Government bring in accompanying measures -- including budget commitments -- to provide the counselling, education, and preventative programs, and the social and economic supports -- such as housing assistance, day care, improved welfare benefits, and income supports -- that would ensure women have alternatives to abortion.
For these reasons we hope the legislation will be opened for amendment in the parliamentary process.
- END -
The policy of the Anglican Church of Canada on abortion is stated in:
"Abortion In a New Perspective": Report of the Task Force on Abortion and is available from: The Anglican Book Centre, 600 Jarvis Street, Toronto, Ontario M4Y 2J6
For further information contact: The Reverend Michael Ingham, Principal Secretary to the Primate, 600 Jarvis Street, Toronto, Ontario, (416) 924-9192; Mrs. Diane Marshall (Family therapist, Report co-author) (416) 487-3613; Mrs. Phyllis Creighton (Research historian, Report co-author) (416) 978-2245
Subjects
Abortion - Law and legislation - Canada
Abortion - Religious aspects - Anglican Church of Canada
Bioethics - Religious aspects - Anglican Church of Canada
Sexual ethics - Religious aspects - Anglican Church of Canada
Human embryo - Religious aspects - Anglican Church of Canada
Medical ethics - Canada
Women's rights - Canada
Birth control - Canada
Birth control - Religious aspects - Anglican Church of Canada
Contraception - Religious aspects - Anglican Church of Canada
Poor women - Canada
Poverty - Religious aspects - Anglican Church of Canada
Less detail

Doctrine and Worship Committee - Disposition of Frozen Human Embryos

http://archives.anglican.ca/en/permalink/official2006
Date
1993 November
Source
National Executive Council. Minutes
Record Type
Resolution 15-11-93
Date
1993 November
Source
National Executive Council. Minutes
Record Type
Resolution 15-11-93
Mover
Rev. V. Matthews
Seconder
Mrs. A. Davidson
Text
That this NEC:
1. Commends the paper on the Disposition of Frozen Human Embryos, by Phyllis Creighton.
2. Will appoint a small working group to examine the recommendations of the Royal Commission on New Reproductive Technologies when these become available.
3. Requests the Executive Director of Program to communicate these concerns to the news media on behalf of the Church.
Amendment
The mover and seconder agreed to delete the first word "Will" in #2 and replace it with "Requests the Doctrine and Worship Committee to."
The amended motion now reads:
2. Requests the Doctrine and Worship Committee to appoint a small working group to examine the recommendations of the Royal Commission on New Reproductive Technologies when these become available.
3. Requests the Executive Director of Program to communicate these concerns to the news media on behalf of the Church. CARRIED #15-11-93
Subjects
Bioethics - Religious aspects - Anglican Church of Canada
Human embryo - Religious aspects - Anglican Church of Canada
Reproductive technology - Religious aspects - Anglican Church of Canada
Human reproductive technology - Law and legislation - Canada
Canada. Royal Commission on New Reproductive Technologies
Church and the press - Anglican Church of Canada
Less detail

Misuse of Human Embryos "Morally Repugnant," Church Report Says

http://archives.anglican.ca/en/permalink/official1989
Date
1993 November 2
Source
Anglican News Service
Record Type
Press Release
Date
1993 November 2
Source
Anglican News Service
Record Type
Press Release
Text
November 2, 1993 -- Canada urgently needs to address the ethics of reproductive technologies and related experimentation, a new report from the Anglican Church of Canada recommends. The report urges the creation of a regulatory agency to oversee practice and experimentation related to assisted reproductive technologies. It also says there should be a registry of all Canadian in-vitro fertilization clinics.
The "Report on the Disposition of Frozen Embryos" addresses the ethics and implications of scientific research on "excess embryos" now routinely produced in the in-vitro fertilization (IVF) process. Embryos created in the laboratory by mixing eggs and sperm can be frozen and then implanted in the womb at a later date.
The Anglican Church's National Executive Council is expected to discuss the Report on November 5 [1993]. Meanwhile, the Anglican Church and others await the report of the Royal Commission on New Reproductive Technologies to be presented to the Privy Council on November 15, after 4 years of study.
Last week's news story about a human embryo cloning experiment makes the discussion of these reports particularly timely. A current issue of "Science" magazine includes a description of the experiment, conducted by Dr. Jerry Hall of George Washington University Medical Center, in which single human embryos (obtained in the course of IVF procedures) were split into duplicate embryos with identical sets of genes.
The experiment raises the spectre of couples deciding to have a "twin" after they've determined the nature of the first child, or for organ or tissue transplants needed by the first child. In an interview with CBC Radio, Dr. Hall said he felt it was necessary to "let the guidelines and ethics catch up a little bit" with what is already possible in the laboratory.
The Anglican Church report was prepared for the church's doctrine and worship committee by Phyllis Creighton, a historian who has participated in Anglican ethics task forces for more than 20 years. In the report, she warns against treating embryos as objects for others' benefit: "To create an embryo solely for adult consumption is to deny it the intrinsic value due a human life and accord it only the instrumental value befitting things", an approach she calls "morally repugnant".
Creighton takes issue with Bernard Dickens, a well-known ethicist at the University of Toronto's Centre for Bioethics, who states the view that "planned wastage" of embryos through experimentation raises no legal questions, if the gamete donors consent, and is ethically acceptable if the purpose of the experimentation is for "the perceived benefit and health of others".
The report calls for legislative bars to the commercialization of gametes and embryos and any experimentation that makes human life a means to an end.
The report does not shut the door absolutely on using embryos (created in IVF) for the study or diagnosis of a severe disease, if a case can be made in the name of compassion. But such research also "raises a host of broader concerns, especially for the church as a community dedicated to justice and compassion."
"Will funding for research, treatment, or support for the living who suffer such diseases dwindle, and society become even less tolerant of them ?" the report asks. "Will women be obliged to undergo genetic analysis ... ?"
Although the question of what to do with frozen embryos implies the church's acceptance of IVF in principle, the report challenges the use of IVF as a way of dealing with infertility. Creighton cites critics like Varda Burstyn who points out that IVF is not successful by basic medical or scientific standards. There is no standardized system of measurement by which to assess IVF programs, but because of the glowing personal accounts publicized by the media, "most couples seeking IVF have unrealistic hopes doomed to bitter disappointment." Studies cited in the report suggest that, despite the enormous costs associated with IVF, success rates are extremely low and there is a high incidence of health problems among children born through IVF.
The report recommends that a register of all IVF clinics in Canada be established in order to gather consistent data about clinical practices and results. In addition, the report recommends the creation of a regulatory agency, with a lay and professional board and access to IVF registry information to monitor IVF practice and related experimentation.
"Created free, in the divine image, we have been given special responsibility for the created order. Intervention in nature is part of our very human nature," the report says. But it warns, "Assuming ultimate power to reshape the roots of our being is arrogance, not wisdom, for humankind .... We need moral imagination, and soberness that begins in awe."
-30-
For further information, contact: Doug Tindal, Director of Communications, 416-924-9199 ext. 286 [or] Phyllis Creighton, 416-481-7647
Subjects
Bioethics - Canada
Bioethics - Religious aspects - Anglican Church of Canada
Reproductive technology - Canada
Reproductive technology - Moral and ethical aspects
Reproductive technology - Religious aspects - Anglican Church of Canada
Human embryo - Religious aspects - Anglican Church of Canada
Human reproductive technology - Law and legislation - Canada
Human reproductive technology - Moral and ethical aspects
Fertilization in vitro, Human - Religious aspects - Anglican Church of Canada
Fertilization in vitro, Human - Religious aspects - Canada
Medical ethics - Canada
Canada. Royal Commission on New Reproductive Technologies
Less detail

Suspended in time : the frozen human embryo : report on the disposition of frozen human embryos

http://archives.anglican.ca/en/permalink/catalog2196
Author
Creighton, Phyllis (Phyllis Joyce Manning)
Publication Date
c1994
Material Type
Book
Location
Trinity College (Graham Library)
Call Number
RG 133.5 C74 1994
Author
Creighton, Phyllis (Phyllis Joyce Manning)
Place
Toronto ON
Publisher
Anglican Book Centre
Publication Date
c1994
Physical_Description
42 p. ; 21.5 x 13.5 cm.
Material Type
Book
Notes
"[By] Phyllis Creighton".
Includes bibliographical references and bibliography: p. 35-42.
"This report, which was requested by the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada and commended by the National Executive Council on November 5, 1993, focuses on concerns of broad public interest that are being widely discussed. .... The ethical issues arising from the new reproductive technologies and practices need to be addressed, as do their social and legal ramifications. This report was undertaken at the request of General Synod in 1989 because of concern about one of these technologies, the freezing of human embryos. The release on November 30, 1993 of the long-awaited report of the Royal Commission on New Reproductive Technologies, 'Proceed With Care', has heightened interest in Canada about such issues and makes the publication of this report on frozen embryos timely. .... This report on the disposition of frozen human embryos is issued now to encourage deeper reflection on our developing powers, our concomitant responsibilities, and the need for legislative action on reproductive technologies." -- Foreword.
"Act 75, passed by the General Synod in June 1989, decreed: 'That the Doctrine and Worship Committee be requested to prepare a position paper, for approval by the National Executive Council (with the results to be shared with the whole Church) on the disposition of frozen embryos'. .... In the late autumn of 1990 I was invited by the Doctrine and Worship Committee, through Bishop Joachim Fricker, to convene a task force to study the whole question. Recruitment proved difficult. .... I circulated some further materials and proposals to the group, but in the end it proved impossible for the task force to write the position paper. This is therefore a personal report. The press of commitments I had made prior to agreeing to serve on this task force made it impossible for me to get a report ready in time for submission to NEC, as Act 75 required. In tackling the task I did a literature search in medical, legal, ethical, and other serious journals. On the basis of twenty years' reflection on similar issues, and the experience of having written the interim report of the Task Force on Human Life submitted to General Synod 1973, I wrote and now submit this report as an initial contribution to consideration of the subject". -- Origin of the Report.
Contents: Foreword / Michael G. Peers, Archbishop and Primate -- Origin of this Report dated 20 Sept. 1993 / Phyllis Creighton -- Background to the Current Debate -- The Moral Status of the Human Embryo -- Legal Concerns -- Scientific Experimentation -- Broader Issues: Social Context and Slippery Slope -- Recommendations -- Endnotes -- Bibliography.
Added Entry
Anglican Church of Canada. General Synod
Subjects
Frozen human embryos - Moral and ethical aspects
Frozen human embryos - Religious aspects - Anglican Church of Canada
Human embryo - Religious aspects - Anglican Church of Canada
Reproductive technology - Religious aspects - Anglican Church of Canada
Bioethics - Religious aspects - Anglican Church of Canada
Fertilization in vitro, Human - Religious aspects - Anglican Church of Canada
Medical ethics - Canada
ISBN
1-55126-091-3
Call Number
RG 133.5 C74 1994
Location
Trinity College (Graham Library)
Less detail