Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

From Christian BioWiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Official Denominational Website: http://www.elca.org


Beginning of Life

Abortion

Official Statement: from Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, "A Social Statement on Abortion" (1991)

“The language used in discussing abortion should ignore neither the value of unborn life nor the value of the woman and her other relationships. It should neither obscure the moral seriousness of the decision faced by the woman nor hide the moral value of the newly conceived life. Nor is it helpful to use the language of "rights" in absolute ways that imply that no other significant moral claims intrude. A developing life in the womb does not have an absolute right to be born, nor does a pregnant woman have an absolute right to terminate a pregnancy. The concern for both the life of the woman and the developing life in her womb expresses a common commitment to life. This requires that we move beyond the usual "pro-life" versus "pro-choice" language in discussing abortion.
Because of the Christian presumption to preserve and protect life, this church, in most circumstances, encourages women with unintended pregnancies to continue the pregnancy.
An abortion is morally responsible in those cases in which continuation of a pregnancy presents a clear threat to the physical life of the woman.
A woman should not be morally obligated to carry the resulting pregnancy to term if the pregnancy occurs when both parties do not participate willingly in sexual intercourse. This is especially true in cases of rape and incest. This can also be the case in some situations in which women are so dominated and oppressed that they have no choice regarding sexual intercourse and little access to contraceptives. Some conceptions occur under dehumanizing conditions that are contrary to God's purposes.
There are circumstances of extreme fetal abnormality, which will result in severe suffering and very early death of an infant. In such cases, after competent medical consultations, the parent(s) may responsibly choose to terminate the pregnancy. Whether they choose to continue or to end such pregnancies, this church supports the parent(s) with compassion, recognizing the struggle involved in the decision.
This church opposes ending intrauterine life when a fetus is developed enough to live outside a uterus with the aid of reasonable and necessary technology. If a pregnancy needs to be interrupted after this point, every reasonable and necessary effort should be made to support this life, unless there are lethal fetal abnormalities indicating that the prospective newborn will die very soon.” ("A Social Statement on Abortion")[1]

Contraception

Official Statement: from Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, "A Social Statement on Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust" (2009)

“This church supports the development and use of medical products, birth control, and initiatives that support fulfilling and responsible sexuality. This church also recognizes the important role that the availability of birth control has played in allowing women and men to make responsible decisions about the bearing and rearing of children.” ("A Social Statement on Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust")[2]


Healthcare & Medicine

Access to Healthcare

Official Statement: from Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, "A Social Statement on Health, Healing, and Health Care... Caring for Health: Our Shared Endeavor" (2003)

“Health care as a shared endeavor entails a comprehensive and coherent set of services of good quality care throughout one’s life span. At a minimum, each person should have ready access to basic health care services that include preventive, acute, and chronic physical and mental health care at an affordable cost.
“As members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and as a corporate body, we support: 1) a comprehensive approach to health care as a shared endeavor among individuals, churches, government, and the wider society; 2) a vision of health care and healing that includes individual, church, and social responsibilities; 3) a vision of a health care system that is based on understanding health, illness, healing, and health care within a coherent set of services; 4) equitable access for all people to basic health care services and to the benefits of public health efforts; 5) faithful moral discernment guiding individual participation and public policymaking in health care services.” ("Caring for Health: Our Shared Endeavor")[3]

Organ Donation & Transplantation

Official Statement: from Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, "Donation of Organs, Tissue, and Whole Blood" (2004)

“In light of the situation and the longstanding commitments of this church and its predecessors, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America affirms that it:
  • regards the donation of organs, tissue, and whole blood as an act of stewardship and as an appropriate means for contributing to the health and well being of other persons;
  • recognizes that the donation of live organs (e.g., a kidney) can be an expression of sacrificial love for a neighbor in need;
  • recognizes that the donation of whole blood and renewable tissue (e.g. bone marrow) by those who are able can be an expression of care for a neighbor in need;
  • urgently encourages its members to consider donating organs, tissue, and whole blood;
  • encourages those willing to donate organs or tissue to communicate their wishes to family members and appropriate professionals such as a pastor or other rostered church leader, physician, or other health care provider;
  • urges those individuals, as well, to make the necessary legal arrangements, including the use of a signed donor card and other legal instruments such as living wills and durable powers of attorney for health care;
  • affirms that the human dignity of all donors and recipients should be respected and that all coercion and manipulation be absent from the donation process;
  • calls upon its pastors and other rostered leaders to become familiar with the moral and legal issues as well as with clinical procedures involved in organ and tissue donations so that they may be prepared to counsel persons and families considering donation;
  • urges its pastors and other rostered leaders, congregations, synods, agencies, and institutions to initiate and sponsor programs of education and moral deliberation on organ, tissue, and whole blood donation;
  • calls upon government to: a) maintain or to develop public policies that will encourage voluntary donations; b) discourage coercive donations; c) forbid the buying and selling of human organs, tissue, and whole blood; d) hold accountable those involved in such illegal activities; e) and ensure the efficient, equitable access to organs, tissue, and whole blood for medical procedure;
  • recognizes the existence of various efforts (presumed consent, xenotransplantation, cloning organs, and so forth) to increase the supply of organs and tissue that do not involve buying and selling them. It further recognizes that some of these may represent notable shifts in the economic, moral, social, and theological assumptions of current practice. This church calls for continuing deliberation and careful moral assessment of such proposals. ("Donation of Organs, Tissue, and Whole Blood")[4]


Science & Technology

Biotechnology

Human Cloning

Official Statement: from Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, "A Social Statement on Genetics, Faith, and Responsibility" (2011)

“As a matter of respect, however, the ELCA affirms the widely held rejection of research into human reproductive cloning because of the unacceptable risk of harm to experimental subjects. This church will continue to reject human reproductive cloning as a matter of respect even if it becomes safe and economically feasible. A person should not be treated as a means to another person’s end. Cloning for the sake of repeating another individual’s genotype violates this standard. Aims other than the replication of identity may be possible, but they are not compelling today.” ("A Social Statement on Genetics, Faith, and Responsibility")[5]

Genetic Ethics

Official Statement: from Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, "A Social Statement on Genetics, Faith, and Responsibility" (2011)

“The ELCA does not reject the use of genetic technology such as genetically modified organisms, prenatal diagnosis, or pharmacogenetics.” ("A Social Statement on Genetics, Faith, and Responsibility")[6]

Gene Therapy/Genetic Engineering

Official Statement: from Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, "A Social Statement on Genetics, Faith, and Responsibility" (2011)

“The priority of respect over that of promotion means that not every possible enhancement or innovation should be pursued. Promotion must not violate the fundamental directive of respect. Efforts toward enhancement or innovation must be evaluated also through the norms of justice and wisdom. This church rejects striving after some imagined perfection or idealized state of human life. Qualified by these limits, the ELCA encourages human imagination and innovation in the use of genetic knowledge to address physical and mental conditions, relieve human suffering and improve the human situation. It supports efforts to benefit general well-being within the rest of nature and the use of creative means to restore the environment that human have destroyed or damaged. It supports investment in such goals.” ("A Social Statement on Genetics, Faith, and Responsibility")[7]

Genetic Screening

Official Statement: from Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, "A Social Statement on Genetics, Faith, and Responsibility" (2011)

“The ELCA does not reject the use of genetic technology such as genetically modified organisms, prenatal diagnosis, or pharmacogenetics.” (A Social Statement on Genetics, 2011 page 4)[8]
“There are circumstances of extreme fetal abnormality, which will result in severe suffering and very early death of an infant. In such cases, after competent medical consultations, the parent(s) may responsibly choose to terminate the pregnancy.” ("A Social Statement on Genetics, Faith, and Responsibility")[9]

End of Life

Extraordinary Measures

Official Statement: from Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, "A Message on End-of-Life Decisions" (1992)

“The patient, family, and health-care providers need to make thoughtful decisions that serve the patient’s goals and well-being and that take seriously the limits of health care resources. This might mean, for example, that persons near the end of life choose to forego expensive treatments, the effectiveness of which might be very limited.
“Because competent patients are the prime decision-makers, they may refuse treatment recommended by health care professionals when they do not believe the benefits outweigh the risks and burdens. This is also the case for patients who are incompetent, but who have identified their wishes through advance directives, living wills, and/or conversation with family or designated surrogates.” ("A Message on End-of-Life Decisions")[10]

Artificial Hydration & Nutrition

Official Statement: from Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, "A Message on End-of-Life Decisions" (1992)

“Food and water are part of our basic human care. Artificially-administered nutrition and hydration move beyond basic care to become medical treatment. Health care professionals are not required to use all available medical treatment in all circumstances. Medical treatment may be limited in some instances, and death allowed to occur. Patients have a right to refuse unduly burdensome treatments which are disproportionate to the expected benefits.” ("A Message on End-of-Life Decisions")[11]

Physician-Assisted Suicide/Euthanasia

Official Statement: from Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, "A Message on End-of-Life Decisions" (1992)

“The integrity of the physician-patient relationship is rooted in trust that physicians will act to preserve the life and health of the patient. Physicians and other health care professionals also have responsibility to relieve suffering. This responsibility includes the aggressive management of pain, even when it may result in an earlier death. However, the deliberate action of a physician to take the life of a patient, even when this is the patient’s wish, is a different matter. As a church we affirm that deliberately destroying life creating in the image of God is contrary to our Christian conscience...We oppose the legalization of physician-assisted death, which would allow the private killing of one person by another. Public control and regulation of such actions would be extremely difficult, if not impossible. The potential for abuse, especially of people who are most vulnerable, would be substantially increased.” ("A Message on End-of-Life Decisions")[12]


Issues of Human Dignity & Discrimination

Disability Ethics

Official Statement: from Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, "A Message on People Living with Disabilities" (2011)

“All people with disabilities are created in God’s image and share the gift of freedom for relationship and its dignity, regardless of their particular disabilities or range of personal capacities to respond to God and others.” ("A Message on People Living with Disabilities")[13]

The language regarding the termination of pregnancy is ambiguous and could include termination of embryos who have disabilities:

Official Statement: from Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, "A Social Statement on Abortion" (1991)

“There are circumstances of extreme fetal abnormality, which will result in severe suffering and very early death of an infant. In such cases, after competent medical consultations, the parent(s) may responsibly choose to terminate the pregnancy.” ("A Social Statement on Abortion")[14]


Notes

  1. http://download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/AbortionSS.pdf
  2. http://download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/SexualitySS.pdf
  3. http://download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/HealthSS.pdf
  4. http://download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Donation_Organs_BloodSPR04.pdf
  5. http://download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/GeneticsSS.pdf
  6. http://download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/GeneticsSS.pdf
  7. http://download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/GeneticsSS.pdf
  8. http://download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/GeneticsSS.pdf
  9. http://download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/GeneticsSS.pdf
  10. http://download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/End_Life_DecisionsSM.pdf
  11. http://download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/End_Life_DecisionsSM.pdf
  12. http://download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/End_Life_DecisionsSM.pdf
  13. http://download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/People_with_DisabilitiesSM.pdf
  14. http://download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/AbortionSS.pdf
Personal tools
Namespaces
Variants
Actions
Navigation
Christian BioWiki
Tools