For full reports and exact statements of the denomination's position on a particular issue, the reader should look to the references provided.

Position

Because the CRC believes that all human beings are imagebearers of God, it affirms the unique value of all human life. Mindful of the sixth commandment—"You shall not murder" (Ex. 20:13)—the church condemns the wanton or arbitrary destruction of any human being at any stage of its development from the point of conception to the point of death. The church affirms that an induced abortion is an allowable option only when the life of the mother-to-be is genuinely threatened by the continuation of the pregnancy.

The church calls believers to show Christian compassion and to offer support to those experiencing unwanted pregnancies as well as to those who have undergone abortions. Further, it calls believers to speak out against the atrocity of abortion, to promote action and legislation that reflect the teaching of Scripture regarding the sanctity of human life, and to reject all violence against those who perpetrate abortion.

See also Life Issues.

History

The Christian Reformed Church took its official stand on abortion in 1972 in response to overtures and a study committee appointed in 1971. Its synod has dealt with the issue of abortion several times since then. It endorsed the Human Life Amendment in 1976 and urged the churches to do all in their power to protect and promote the sanctity of human life. Synod defeated an overture to designate an annual Sanctity of Human Life Sunday because it was hesitant to add to the number of special Sundays. However, in 1981 and in 1995 it did encourage the churches to give continued attention to this important issue and to use the anniversary date of the United States Supreme Court decision on abortion in the most effective way possible.

In 1996, in response to concern about a Calvin College professor whose position on abortion did not agree with the official position of the CRC, synod noted that synodical decisions do not preclude faculty discussion, debate, or disagreement with the substance of the position taken. Synod reaffirmed its position on abortion in 1997 and condemned the practice of partial-birth abortion. Synod 1998 urged the churches to continue to oppose the atrocity of abortion, to minister to those who do not choose abortion as well as to those who suffer from its aftermath, and to reject all violence against those who perpetrate abortion. Synod 1999 considered an overture to study abortion and pregnancy-related issues along with an overture regarding ethical and theological issues in bioscience, and in response synod appointed a study committee "to examine the biblical/theological/ethical issues raised by the increasing capabilities and recent discoveries in bioscience and genetic engineering" (Acts of Synod 1999, p. 578). Synod 2010 received an overture regarding advocacy of the denominational position opposing abortion and adopted a recommendation "to instruct the Office of Social Justice and Hunger Action (OSJ) to boldly advocate for the church’s position against abortion, and to help equip churches to promote the sanctity of human life" (Acts of Synod 2010, p. 883).

References to Agendas and Acts of Synod

Acts of Synod 1971, pp. 48, 651, 667, 672
Acts of Synod 1972, pp. 63-64, 479-84
Acts of Synod 1976, pp. 63-64, 667-68
Acts of Synod 1981, pp. 61, 593
Acts of Synod 1988, p. 528
Agenda for Synod 1990, p. 478
Acts of Synod 1990, p. 596
Agenda for Synod 1993, p. 283
Acts of Synod 1993, p. 515
Agenda for Synod 1995, pp. 525-27
Acts of Synod 1995, p. 659
Agenda for Synod 1996, pp. 313-16
Acts of Synod 1996, p. 528
Agenda for Synod 1997, pp. 443-46
Acts of Synod 1997, pp. 604-7
Agenda for Synod 1998, pp. 208-10
Acts of Synod 1998, pp. 401, 432, 442-43
Agenda for Synod 1999, p. 389
Acts of Synod 1999, pp. 578, 625, 637
Agenda for Synod 2010, p. 661-62
Acts of Synod 2010, p. 883