When we relocated to the city of Loma Linda, almost half a century ago, we used to hear the barking of dogs at odd hours of the day. This is no longer the case. However, this morning, as we were busy working in our yard pulling some weeds, we heard—to our surprise—a dog barking in our neighborhood. He was probably attempting to alert the owners of a potential intruder. It was a rare sound.
So what happened to our Loma Linda residents? Did they suddenly loose their love of dogs? I don’t think so. They more likely discourage their pets from barking, and the dogs probably feel there is no incentive for their native barking habit.
As I listened to the barking of that dog this morning, a Bible text came to my mind that illustrates a spiritual truth. Here it is:
Israel's watchmen are blind. None of them know anything. All of them are like dogs that are unable to bark. They lie around dreaming; they love to sleep (Isaiah 56:10).
Abortion and the SDA Church
This illustrates what took place both in the city of Loma Linda and in the Adventist community at large. Three decades ago, there was quite a discussion in our Adventist media regarding the topic of abortion. Three decades ago in the pages of our Ministry Magazine there was so much interest in this topic that this news media printed the following comment:
“Our articles on abortion have touched a sensitive nerve. We are receiving more email on this subject than on any other recently published article. The letters are running 10 to 1 in favor of the church adopting a stricter standard.”
Then suddenly—a few years after the publication of our current “Guidelines on Abortion”— a long silence ensued on the pages of this periodical. There was very little discussion about this topic in Ministry Magazine.
What happened? Why the sudden silence? Did the interest in abortion diminish, or was this the result of an intentional desire by the pro-choice elite and the liberal Adventist leadership to silence the pro-life opposition whose opinions were running, according to Newman, “10 to 1 in favor of the church adopting a stricter standard? We cannot be 100% sure, but the timing of the comments on abortion blackout was rather suspicious!
I did perform an exhaustive investigation about this topic and discovered that two thirds of our Adventists who were active in expressing their opinions in our publications were on the pro-life side of the issue, while two thirds of the Adventist leaders and article writers were favoring a pro-choice agenda. The church granted the power to draft our guidelines on abortion to the latter group, and they prevailed in this moral controversy.
My guess is that the members of the Adventist intelligentsia must have concluded that if the freedom of the press was allowed to continue, their favored views on abortion might eventually be in danger of collapsing under the weight of those who were making their voice heard loud & clear through the pages of our Adventist periodicals.
George Gainer's Historical Sketch
A good example of the Adventist pro-life position on abortion can be seen in an article written by George Gainer, who accurately described the history of how our church moved from a pro-life position to a pro-choice/pro-abortion position. His article was published by Ministry on August 1991 with the following title Abortion: history of Adventist guidelines.
Our Church Gets a Black Eye
Here is a short review of some of the salient points of Gainer’s article. It begins with the following anecdote by a non-Adventist pastor who chose our Washington Adventist Hospital for prenatal care. His wife was pregnant, and this pastor wanted his wife to be cared for by an Adventist physician. The first question this doctor asked the couple was: “Do you want to keep this baby?”
The pastor and his wife could not believe their ears. They got up and left the office with the following explanation: “We must be in the wrong place.” This is how this Christian couple discovered that this Adventist hospital was offering abortions on demand and not the so called “therapeutic” kind resulting from rape, incest or malformation.
Our Founders Opposed Abortion
Next, Gainer relates the historical position of the Adventist pioneers regarding this issue. Abortion was labeled by the founders of the Adventist movement as plain murder and the direct and unmistakable violation of the biblical injunction against the killing of innocent human beings and the shedding of innocent blood. James and Ellen White, as well as Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, the founder of the Adventist medical work, demonstrated in their writings a high regard and respect for the value of human life from the moment of conception.
It Started in Hawaii
Then the author of this article proceeded to detail the events that led the Adventist Church to engage in the profitable business of abortion. It started in Hawaii following the legalization of abortion in said State in 1970. The Adventist Castle Memorial Hospital was staffed by Adventist and non-Adventist physicians. A man who had donated $25,000 for the construction of said medical institution came asking for an abortion for his pregnant daughter.
Soon, the non-Adventist physicians demanded the right to offer elective abortions to their patients and threatened to take their patients elsewhere if their petition was denied. The church leadership was made aware of this anomalous situation, and our Adventist leaders caved in for fear of losing business to competing public medical institutions. This was 1970.
Church President Issues statement
On March 17, 1970, Neal C. Wilson, president of the North American Division, made a statement on abortion that was carried by the Religious News Service. He predicted that when the denomination met at Atlantic City in June it would steer a middle-of-the-road course. And he rationalized such a morally devious course of action with the following explanation:
“Though we walk the fence, Adventists lean toward abortion rather than against it. Because we realize we are confronted by big problems of hunger and overpopulation, we do not oppose family planning and appropriate endeavors to control population.”
Did Neal Wilson have in mind the Adventist laymen—whose views were described by David Newman as ten to one opposing abortion—or the liberal leaders of our church and those connected with our medical work who had a conflict of interest regarding this issue? You decide! The math doesn’t seem to have been on his side, or perhaps he was blinded by financial considerations.
Think about this: This declaration was made in the richest country of the world at a time when the United States of America was also the largest creditor on earth—not the largest debtor as today—and the largest producer of food and clothing. Of course, we need to also remember that this declaration was made at the time when the Atomic Clock was pointing to three minutes before midnight.
The fear of a nuclear war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union was matched by the fear of the uncontrolled demographic growth in the Communist country of China. The fear of God was set aside by the fear of a nuclear annihilation of the human race. Moral detours are usually taken at a time of great fear of an impending catastrophe. I am not attempting to justify the action of the Adventist leadership, but simply trying to understand the complexity of our moral failure.
These events gave rise to the need for the development of guidelines for the provision of abortions in Adventist medical institutions. A separate set of guidelines were drafted, one for the Adventist hospitals and the other for public consumption. The net result of all this led M. C. Midkiff to make the following declaration: “I believe if you do a bit of research you will find that the majority of Adventist hospitals permit abortion on request.”
An article authored by Gerald Winslow revealed that five of our hospitals did report as offering elective abortions to their patients. However, according to George Gainer, “The American Hospital Association Guide to the Health Care Field,” 1986 lists 12 of the 56 Adventist hospitals in the United States as offering “abortion services,” including “a program and facilities.” The hospitals identified by said entity included the following Adventist medical institutions:
“Castle Medical Center, Hadley Memorial Hospital, Hanford Community Hospital, Loma Linda University Medical Center, Porter Memorial Hospital, Portland Adventist Medical Center, Shady Grove Adventist Hospital, Shawnee Mission Medical Center, Sierra Vista Hospital, Walla Walla General Hospital, Washington Adventist Hospital, and White Memorial Medical Center.”
And let us not forget that Adventists were in the forefront in the legalization of abortion, since our Castle Memorial Hospital in Hawaii started offering elective abortion services back in 1970—three years before the practice was legalized in the U.S. mainland. This is incredible. The Remnant Church of God with the last message to a perishing world engaged in the extermination of innocent unborn babies by the thousands for the sake of expediency and profit.
Edward C. Allred made a fortune owning a chain of abortion clinics, personally aborting hundreds of thousands of babies, and currently owns gambling venues in California and New Mexico. In 2010, La Sierra University founded the “Edward C. Allred Center for Financial Literacy and Entrepreneurship" in his honor. It hardly seems possible that La Sierra University, which still purports to be a Seventh-day Adventist school, would name anything after a man who has left such a trail of wreckage in his wake, a man who made his fortune eliminating two generations of humanity, and now spends his days devising ways to separate gamblers from their money. And yet they did. A more honorable response would have been to refuse the money and place the matter in God’s capable hands. Had they done so, we might be discussing an inspiring story of God’s providence today!
It is also noteworthy that the Los Alamitos Seventh-day Adventist Church building in southern California is owned by abortion magnate and horse racetrack owner Dr. Edward Allred. Apparently, gambling and abortion are perfectly acceptable sources of church philanthropy—at least in the Southeastern California Conference.
If our Adventist pioneers were to witness this terrible deviation from moral duty inside the medical institutions they worked so hard to establish, they would writhe in anguish and pain. As God’s people on earth, we need to repent of this terrible sin, publicly acknowledge our moral depravity, and ask God to forgive us for veering off the right path and plead for a revival of the faith delivered to the saints.
The brief description of George Gainer’s report I have included here contains merely some of the salient events he talks about in carefully documented details. If this issue is of interest to you, I encourage you to read the original document published by the Ministry magazine. Here is the Internet link to it:
Does our silence on the abortion issue please heaven? Not so, instead of acting like dumb dogs that cannot bark (Isaiah 56:10), the Bible orders us to raise the alarm:
“Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet. Declare to my people their rebellion and to the descendants of Jacob their sins.” [Isaiah 58:1]
Responding to this call, we now have a young Adventist evangelist who is sounding the alarm like a faithful watchdog. Here is a link to a video describing his miraculous conversion and another to a pro-life video he created on behalf of the unborn:
Convicted: the amazing conversion story of Andrew Michelle
Desmond Doss and Abortion [Adventists and Abortion series]