Abuse: A Loma Linda University Study A recently created video by the Loma Linda University (LLU) shows that physical, emotional, and sexual abuse in the Adventist community matches that of society in general. You can watch the dramatic testimony of several victims of child abuse and how they managed to overcome these dark experiences of their childhood. The same is true about the incidence of abortion.
A Study Dealing With the Ultimate Form of Child Abuse? As I was watching this video, I wondered if LLU researchers will ever decide to carry out a similar study about the ultimate kind of abuse: abortion. My reasoning is as follows: If child abuse is painful and tragic, what can be as hurtful and damaging as the dismemberment of the body of an unborn child? The victim of child abuse usually survives; the victim of abortion has no such hope. The act is irreversible and final!
Our Adventist Moral Blind Spot Do I believe that such a study involving the ultimate form of child abuse is likely to take place in the near future at our LLU? I don’t think so! My reason is as follows: As a community of faith, we have slowly developed a blind moral spot regarding abortion. This started approximately half a century ago, and it is now firmly rooted in the Adventist psychic life.
The Strong Pro-life Position of Our Adventist Pioneers Most Adventists are aware that our pioneers were definitely pro-life as evident from the statements made by some of the leaders of the Adventist movement. A classic example is a paragraph taken from an article authored by a pro-lifer that James White, the founder of our publishing work, included in his book Solemn Appeal in which he condemned the practice of abortion in the strongest terms:
Few are aware of the fearful extent to which this nefarious business, this worse than devilish practice, is carried on in all classes of society! Many a woman determines that she will not become a mother, and subjects herself to the vilest treatment, committing the basest crime to carry out her purpose. And many a man, who has as many children as he can support, instead of restraining his passions, aids in the destruction of the babes he has begotten. The sin lies at the door of both parents in equal measure; for the father, although he may not always aid in the murder, is always accessory to it, in that he induces, and sometimes even forces upon the mother the condition which he knows will lead to the commission of the crime.
How Did Adventists Manage to Jump Over the Life Fence? The hard question is: How did a pro-life church manage to jump over the life fence into the pro-choice/pro-abortion camp? This is a fence so high that even Rome did not dare to scale? And how did we dare to profit from the violation of the Sixth Commandment of the Decalogue written by God’s own hand on two tables of stone and the violation of our own guidelines on abortion?
In order to answer this question, we need to remember the days when the Cold War between the U.S. and the Soviet Union was so hot that the symbolic hands of the Atomic Clock were moved to three minutes before midnight. The fear of an atomic Armageddon was augmented by the uncontrolled demographic explosion in the country of China, and many world leaders warned that this population explosion was to be feared more than an atomic war.
This obsession with the uncontrolled population growth was complicated by the sudden legalization of abortion in the State of Hawaii where our Castle Memorial Hospital was located. The non-Adventist physicians at said medical facility demanded the right to offer abortion on demand, and our North American Division president, Neal Wilson, caved in to the pressure when he made the following public declaration:
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. (1)
The Inevitable Result of this Change of Policy Such a drastic change in church policy regarding the sacredness of human life resulted in the participation by many Adventist medical institutions in the profitable business of killing human beings at the most vulnerable time of their lives. Here is a list of medical institutions which participated in this new facet of medical service which involved killing in addition to healing:
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.
At least five Adventist institutions admitted that their abortion services included elective abortion. This, of course, was done with full knowledge of the leadership of the church and with total impunity (2), which made Adventist pro-lifers wonder about the apparent double standard applied to abortion: How can we declare that the Adventist Church does not condone abortions on demand, but allow its own medical institutions to profit from the same? Isn’t this what Pilate did when he ruled that Jesus was innocent of any crime, yet he ordered his execution?
The Thrashing of the Hippocratic Oath This change in policy regarding the sacredness of human life explains our LLU abandonment of the Hippocratic Oath [HO] which had been in high esteem for two millennia in the West. Many Adventists are not aware of this change. Compare the so called “Do no harm” contained in the HO with the morally neutral statement contained in the LLU “Physician's Oath.”
I will not give a lethal drug to anyone if I am asked, nor will I advise such a plan; and similarly I will not give a woman a pessary to cause an abortion.
I will maintain the utmost respect for human life. I will not use my medical knowledge contrary to the laws of humanity. I will respect the rights and decision of my patients.
Notice that the abortion prohibition was replaced by the “will respect the rights and decision of my patients.” The obvious purpose of this drastic change was to allow for the provision of abortion services in our LLU medical facility. Seemingly no one has recorded a formal protest against such a fundamental alteration of our traditional respect for human life, except for one LLU professor: Ingrid Blomquist, MD, an associate professor in the school of medicine:
Dr. Blomquist is Board certified in Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases. She has been elected a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. Being a Hippocratic Physician, she has taken, and continues to believe in the principles of the Hippocratic Oath. …
Conclusion Considering all of the above, my conclusion is that there is an urgent need to restudy our policy of abortion and a need to pay attention to the ultimate form of child abuse: abortion. Yes, there is money to be made out of the killing of innocent human beings who are eagerly waiting to see the light of day.
I am not calling for a window dressing—this has already been done with great success! I am calling for a radical treatment for this moral cancer which is threatening the vitality of our God-given mission to the world. I am calling for the thrashing of our “Guidelines on Abortion,” and the restoring of the Hippocratic Oath.
There is no need for any guidelines which negate the crystal clear prohibition contained in the Sixth Commandment of the Decalogue. God’s unambiguous directive needs no redefinition! We need to restore all Ten of God’s Rules for human behavior to the place of honor they originally had when the Adventist movement was born!
Nic Samojluk holds an MA from La Sierra College (now LSU) and a Ph.D. from Andrew Jackson University. He is the author of “From Pro-life to Pro-choice: The Dramatic Shift in Seventh-day Adventists’ Attitudes Towards Abortion” and many other articles connected with the abortion issue.
References 1. Gerald R. Winslow, “Abortion Policies in Adventist Hospitals” Spectrum 19/4 (May 1989): 47-50. 2. George Gainer, "The Wisdom of Solomon?" Spectrum 19/4 (May 1989): 38-46)