Documents of Quaker Organizations Favoring Abortion and/or Euthanasia Legalization
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American Friends Service Committee
American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) has the following chronology, based on documents sent by email attachment when requested for their position in 2007:
1969 - The book expressing the position was approved by the AFSC Board. It was entitled: Who Shall Live? Man's Control over Birth and Death. It established a position in favor of legalized abortion.
1971 - AFSC joined an amicus brief in Roe v. Wade
1980 - AFSC joined an amicus brief in Harris-McCrae
1981 – AFSC lobbied against the Abortion Control Act of Pennsylvania, including a report on the expected impact on pregnant teens
1992 - AFSC sent a memo to regional directors about their involvement in Casey. They mention also having been involved in Webster.
2000 – AFSC joined an amicus brief at the request of the Religious Coalition for Abortion Rights in the Carhart case. That's in support of partial-birth abortions.
2004 - The March for Women's Lives, April 25 at the National Mall in Washington DC, was a demonstration which focused on preserving and expanding taxpayer-funded abortion-on-demand. Several sources on the web indicate that AFSC was on the list of co-sponsors.
2009 - AFSC signed on to "An Interfaith Call to Action on Reproductive Health," a letter to the Obama transition team. It called for enaction of the "Freedom of Choice Act" and repeal of the Hyde Amendment.
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From the AFSC documents, two quotations of interest:
July 1980 statement of interest in support of amicus brief in Harris-McCrae case, supporting the pro-choice position on abortion:
"The AFSC has a vital interest in this litigation because of Friends belief in the infinite worth of each human being and the equality of all human beings in the sight of God. This testimony has led the AFSC to commit a significant portion of its resources to work which seeks to root out the causes of violence . . . "
March 20, 2000 minutes of Board Executive Committee conference call:
"Some hesitancy was expressed about the way an earlier statement of interest express[ed] our belief in the worth of each human being, which might leave AFSC vulnerable to charges of not valuing the unborn."
The sentence on the worth of each human being was removed from the updated statement of interest.
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A statement of position listed by the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (formerly the Religious Coalition for Abortion Rights), is found among other places at http://www.rcrc.org/we_affirm.html:
American Friends Service Committee, 1970
"For two decades the AFSC has taken a consistent position supporting a woman's right to follow her own conscience concerning child-bearing, abortion and sterilization. AFSC is deeply aware that the decision to terminate a pregnancy is seldom an easy one. That choice must be made free of coercion, including the coercion of poverty, racial discrimination and availability of services to those who cannot pay."
HOWEVER -- At a face-to-face meeting on October 17, 2010, at AFSC headquarters in Philadephia, Clinton Pettus, Deputy General Secretary for Programs, told Rachel MacNair that AFSC did not have a position on abortion. Documentation as listed above has been sent, and we are awaiting clarification.
Illinois Yearly Meeting
MINUTE, proposed in 1990 by a Committee with a Concern for Reproductive Issues, and adopted by Illinois Yearly Meeting as its own Minute, 7-24-1992.
The basic Quaker belief of "that of God in every person" demonstrates the great reverence Friends have for life. The issue of abortion presents us with a very painful dilemma as we weigh our respect for the rights of each woman's individual leadings and her bodily privacy against the loss of a potential life. Members of the Committee with a Concern for Reproductive Issues are united in caring about the clearness of each woman considering this decision. Recognizing the gravity of the situation, we urge Friends to hold each other in the Light without being judgmental.
We know that it's not always easy to honor convictions other than our own, but we would remind Friends that one person's honest and carefully sought leading may not be another's. We urge Friends to give aid and succor to women in need, whether this aid be spiritual or temporal. We ask of women that they open their hearts freely to the leadings of the Light. We ask of the Society that they accept the varied leadings of women who come to them for help.
Neither abortion nor pregnancy should be compulsory nor illegal. A pregnant woman forced by legal or economic means to act against her own leadings is an abused woman. We hold that it is morally wrong for the federal or state governments to take upon themselves the power of compelling women to complete or terminate pregnancy, whether such coercion be done by legal or economic means.
We pledge our support for a society which raises its children to cherish themselves and those around them. We pledge our support for a society in which women and children are valued as much as men. We pledge our support for a society in which at least as much time and money is spent over the quality of life as is now devoted to the means of destruction and war.