Insights from Mennonites

     Mennonites are one of the historic peace churches. Membership in the church can be used as evidence for conscientious objector status to the draft in the United States. The "New Call to Peacemaking" was a cooperative project of the three such churches, including Quakers and Church of the Brethren.

From Article 22 of the Mennonite Confession of Faith:

     "Led by the Spirit, and beginning in the church, we witness to all people that violence is not the will of God. We witness against all forms of violence, including war among nations, hostility among races and classes, abuse of children and women, violence between men and women, abortion, and capital punishment."

Links to statements:

2003 Official Statement on Abortion

Congregational Resources on Abortion

Mennonite Central Committee Statement on Abortion

Peace and Justice Support Network of Mennonite Church USA, list of abortion statements

Links to articles:

Winning hearts and minds in the Areopagus

Standing Firm

Don't Abort the Truth

Abortion: Providing and Alternative

Witnessing Against Violence: Abortion

If you know of more links that should be added, or have more content that you'd like to offer for this page, please send to clerk @

Off-line Mennonite Quotations

     Stated simply, in treating Christian women as isolated and abstract individuals, we rob them of their connections, relationships, and community, and we rob ourselves of the opportunity to care for and welcome both them and their children.

-- Kathy Rudy, Beyond Pro-Life and Pro-Choice: Moral Diversity in the Abortion Debate (Boston: Beacon Hill Press, 1996), p. 114

      Beyond the potential physical and psychological harm, our society's open abortion policies contribute to a social ethos that is not good for women. For example, many women, perhaps even the majority of women, have an abortion in part because someone is pressuring them to do so. The pressure can be relatively subtle, such as withholding emotional support or expressions of love until the woman agrees to have the abortion. Shockingly often, however, the pressure comes in the form of threats, such as threats that the male partner will leave the relationship or that the family will kick the woman out of the house unless she gets an abortion. This pressure, both in more subtle and in explicit forms, comes from parents, boyfriends, friends, employers and even health clinic workers.
     When women face this type of pressure, at a time when they are often quite vulnerable, it is unclear what type of "choice" they are making. It certainly is not the empowering, autonomous choice implied by the pro-choice movement. Moreover, while women undoubtedly faced similar pressures in an earlier age, our society's permissive view of abortion as a "solution" to an unintended, untimely pregnancy lends itself to this type of pressure. After all, those exerting pressure can see themselves as encouraging a socially approved fix to a problem, even viewing the pregnant woman who refuses abortion as acting irresponsibly.

-- Joseph J. Kotva Jr., "The Question of Abortion: Christian Virtue and Government Legislation," The Mennonite Quarterly Review (October, 2005), pp. 490-491

     We do not, and should not, view the woman in the image of her attacker [from a rape] or through the lens of the crime against her. Instead, she is to be viewed in the image of God her maker. She is originally a child of God, irreducible to an object of violence, and thus to be cared for as precious rather than cast out as disgraced. Likewise, we do not, and should not, view the attacker primarily in the image of his crime; instead, he also is to be viewed in the image of God. He, too, is seen in light of the redemption and reconciliation possible in Christ. Why, then should we suppose that the unborn child, though conceived in violence, is to be viewed in the image of the attack, and thereby effectively reduced to that act of violence? The unborn child, despite the circumstances of conception, nonetheless presents most originally an embodiment of the face of God.

-- Darrin W. Snyder Belousek, "Toward a Consistent Ethic of Life in the Peace Tradition Perspective: A Critical-Constructive Response to the MC USA Statement on Abortion," The Mennonite Quarterly Review (October, 2005), p. 455


     In this study, I have traced the ethic of the pre-Constantinian church through a series of individual moral issues related to the taking of human life, and have found that, without exception, the church strongly condemned the taking of human life in any form whatsoever. Neither homicide, nor feticide, nor infanticide, nor suicide, nor capital punishment, nor killing in war were considered acceptable to a church fiercely committed to following the teaching and moral example of the incarnate Lord.

-- Robert Arner, Consistently Pro-Life: The Ethics of Bloodshed in Ancient Christianity



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