You’ve all apparently already had a long conversation on this site on abortion and the ethics (or lack thereof) of a Mormon pro-choice position, so let me just make two brief points with respect to those who brought the issue into their responses to my Mormon Republican Majority post. First, consider the sin of adultery. . . .
This is among the most serious sins one can commit in our faith, often described as second only to murder itself. Aren’t those who argue that Latter-day Saints are ethically bound by the Church’s restrictive position on abortion to support only pro-life abortion laws (and candidates?), also necessarily committed by the logic of their argument to support the passage and enforcement of laws that criminalize adultery? The latter seems ludicrous; is there a principled distinction between pro-life laws and anti-adultery laws that explains why Mormons are required to support the former, but not the latter? (Many states have repealed their criminal adultery laws, but others still have criminal adultery laws on the books. Prosecutions are exceedingly rare, even in Utah. I think Miss made headlines a few months ago with an adultery prosecution filing, which then went nowhere and was ultimately dismissed.)
Second, while it takes two sinners to conceive a baby out of wedlock, one of the sinners–the woman, of course–suffers disproportionate costs. Is this just “too bad,” or does gender equality count as a reason justifying a pro-choice position? Note that many of the disproportionate costs borne by women re unwanted pregnancy could be mitigated or eliminated entirely by social welfare legislation (which is usually vociferously opposed by the same interest groups that support restrictive abortion laws). Shouldn’t restrictive abortion laws be ethically linked with social welfare and other legislation that minimizes, to the extent biologically possible, the difference in the costs borne by men and women when their immoral behavior results in conception of a child? While Elder Oaks’s Ensign essay is a powerful and cogent statement of the ethical necessity of linking the Church’s moral statement on abortion with one’s personal view of the availability of abortion as a matter of public policy, the problem of disproportionate costs is not something he addresses.
If these arguments have been made and addressed before, then of course someone should simply say so and we can move on to other things.