Adventist Laymans' Services and Industries (ASI) recently held its annual convention, this year at Grand Rapids, Michigan. I wasn't there this year (for only the second time in the past six years) but I took note of some of the highlights.Read More
The great majority of those present were shocked to learn that the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventist’s was operating with two different sets of guidelines on abortion. The 1970 Abortion Guidelines, which were more restrictive, were the set made available to our own Adventist clergy and laity, as well as the general public. The 1971 Interruption of Pregnancy Guidelines superceded the 1970 Guidelines and opened the door to abortion on demand for any reason in our hospitals (16 months before Roe v. Wade). The liberalized 1971 guidelines were sent exclusively to our SDA medical institutions and never made known to our clergy and laity or the public.Read More
The Seventh-day Adventist Church has done well at using Scripture to sift traditional doctrine and practice, and reject that which is not biblical. A good example is the Sabbath, there being no sound biblical argument for keeping the pagan day of the Sun in derogation of the biblical Sabbath. Another example would be the state of the dead; the notion that a disembodied consciousness continues on after death is a pagan Greek idea that is contrary to the Scriptures. But Adventists have not done as well as most other “high Scripture” Christian churches in one area. We are weak on the one topic that Christianity has historically seen as emblematic of, almost definitional to, the distinction between Christians and pagans.
We Have No Fundamental Belief on Sexual Behavior
As Dr. Elizabeth Iskander pointed out in an article here last October, the SDA Church has no fundamental belief on sexual behavior. Elizabeth proposed that the following language be added to FB No. 22, on Christian Behavior:
We are not to engage in biblically unlawful sexual acts, including sexual acts between persons of the same sex, or between unmarried persons of opposite sex. Lev. 11:1-47; 3 John 2; Lev. 18:6-18, 22; Ex. 22:19; Prov. 7; Rom. 1:26-27; 1 Cor. 5:1-2, 6:9-11, 7:2-3; 1 Thes. 4:3-4; Heb. 13:4.)
It is not clear why our fundamental beliefs contain no statement setting out this basic, near universal Christian belief about sexual activity.
It could be argued that such a statement is not necessary, because it is common to Christianity. But there are many things in our fundamental beliefs that are shared by almost all Christians, including that the Scriptures are the written word of God (FB 1), the there is a Trinity (FB 2), that Jesus is God, was incarnated, died for our sins, and was resurrected (FB 4), etc. Since we chose to reiterate many of the basics of the Christian faith, why did we omit a statement on sexual behavior?
We Have Ignored All Biblical Guidance on Sex Roles
I will not extensively rehash what has often been discussed on this site, but the Bible establishes sex roles in the home and in the church. The husband is the head of the home. (Eph. 5:22-33; Col. 3:18-19; 1 Peter 3:1). The church offices of episkopēs (“bishop” or “overseer”) and presbuteros (“elder”) are described as male offices, to be filled by sober men who are the husband of one wife, and capable fathers. (1 Tim. 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9). Effective leadership of the family is a prerequisite to leadership in the church: “He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?” (1 Tim. 3:4) There are specific admonitions that women should not be in church leadership roles. (1 Cor. 14:33-35; 1 Tim. 2:11-14).
But when we Adventists read these passages, they seem alien to us. They have never been emphasized in the Quarterly, the Review, or any other official SDA publication. They seem almost the guilty secret of individual Adventist Bible readers, who think, “Wow, my pastor never said anything about this.” Needless to say, there is no fundamental belief on male headship. The clear biblical model of patriarchy in the home and in the church is not any part of our Adventist religious subculture.
I do have an idea how this came to be. Adventist pioneers often had to deal with those who—quoting the patriarchal passages—argued that because she was a woman Ellen White should sit down and shut up. Having a group of texts constantly used against you will not engender any fond feelings toward those texts. Adventists apparently decided there must be something wrong with the texts themselves, rather than in how they were being deployed against Ellen White. In fact, there is clear biblical precedent for female prophets (Judges 14:4; 2 Kings 22:14; Luke 2:36; Acts 21:8-9), and for women to prophesy in a church setting (1 Cor. 11:5). But the biblical fact that women may be prophets and may prophesy in church does not vitiate the normal gospel order of headship. (1 Cor. 11:3)
The result of our ignoring the biblical guidance on sex roles is that the SDA Church is now riven over the issue of women in church leadership. Most SDA members are in third world countries with more traditional cultures; they do not want female ordination. But the first world, having drifted along with post-Sexual Revolution feminism, is committed to implementing female leadership in the church, just as first world cultural, business, military and governmental elites are committed to implementing female leadership in all aspects of secular life. Even otherwise very conservative Adventists in North America, Europe, and Australia see no problem with women in leadership roles in the church. Last year, we watched as the NAD's attempt to remove the barrier to women becoming conference presidents led to a rebuff from the GC, which led, in turn, to a rebellion by the Columbia Union and the Pacific Union, both of which voted to ordain women notwithstanding that the world church in General Conference session has twice voted against it.
We Are, as a practical matter, Pro-Abortion
God has commanded us to be fruitful and multiply (Gen. 1:28; 9:1), and Scripture portrays children as a blessing from God (Gen. 33:5; Deut. 7:14; 28:4, 11; Psalm 127:3-5; 113:9; 128:1-6; Prov. 17:6; John 16:21; 1 Tim. 2:15; 5:14). A recurring scriptural motif is the barren woman who, in answer to her prayers and through God's power, is made fertile and bears a child. This was true of Sara (Gen. 18:9-15; 21:1-6), Rachel (Gen. 30:1-22), Samson's mother (Judges 13), Hannah (1 Sam. 1:1-20), and Elizabeth (Luke 1:5-25). In Scripture, children are greatly sought after, a cause for rejoicing, and fondly cherished.
Interestingly, the prophets write of God having formed them in the womb, and called them to be his messengers while still in utero. “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb.” Psalm 139:12. “Yet you brought me out of the womb . . . from my mother’s womb you have been my God.” Psalm 22:9-10. Of Jeremiah, God says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” Jer. 1:5. Isaiah testifies: “Before I was born the LORD called me; from my mother’s womb he has spoken my name. . . . And now the LORD says—he who formed me in the womb to be his servant to bring Jacob back to him and gather Israel to himself.” Isa. 49:1, 5. Paul states, “But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles . . “ Gal. 1:15. Samson's mother began preparing him for his future calling while he was yet in the womb, by eating a special diet during her pregnancy. (Judges 13:7, 13-14) These passages clearly imply that personhood begins before birth; a person is a person, capable of being designated for a consecrated purpose, while yet in the womb.
One who accidentally causes a premature birth or a miscarriage is subject to a fine (Ex. 21:22-25), but Scripture does not seem to have contemplated a situation in which someone would intentionally kill a baby in the womb. Yet there can be little doubt that abortion is contrary to a biblical and Christian world view. Scripture condemns the ritual killing of children as a “detestable practice.” (Lev. 18:21; 2 Chron. 28:3, 33:6; Ezek. 16:20-21; Jer. 7:31; 19:3-6; 32:35). In most pagan cultures, including ancient Greece and Rome, it was perfectly acceptable to abandon unwanted babies to die of exposure. But just as a Christian Rome eventually outlawed gladiatorial combat, she eventually, in 374 AD, also outlawed the pagan practice of exposing unwanted babies (the ancient practice most comparable to the modern late-term abortion). The Christian consensus about babies is that they are not to be killed, in the womb or out of it.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church has an ambivalent official statement about abortion, which speaks of an unborn child as “a magnificent gift of God,” while also seeking to preserve “the personal liberty of women” to toss that magnificent gift in the trash. But there is nothing ambivalent about the Church's involvement in the abortion industry. We are hip deep in the abortion business. Elective abortions are performed at many Adventist hospitals, but the real history has been made by individual Adventist doctors. Dr. Edward C. Allred, a graduate of La Sierra University and Loma Linda University, founded “Family Planning Associates” and personally aborted well over a quarter of a million babies. Dr. Allred made the abortion business very lucrative by spending no more than five minutes with each expecting mother. “We eliminated needless patient-physician contact,” he told one reporter. Allred owned 23 abortion clinics, which generated $70 million in annual gross revenues and $5 million in annual profits. When Dr. Allred retired from the business, he sold it to another Seventh-day Adventist, Dr. Irving M. “Bud” Feldkamp III. (Dr. Feldkamp is a dentist, not an OB/GYN, but he recognized a profitable business when he saw one.)
Although Allred's fortune was built on aborted babies—and he continues to own horse-racing venues which he has stuffed with slot machines—his money was plenty good enough for his alma mater, La Sierra University, which named the “Edward C. Allred Center for Financial Literacy and Entrepreneurship” after him. La Sierra's board is chaired by Pacific Union President Ricardo Graham; other union officials and three conference presidents also sit on the board. If these men approve of taking blood money from a mass abortionist and naming a “center” after him, it cannot reasonably be argued that the SDA Church is ambivalent about abortion. We are pro-abortion. We seem to consider abortion as wholesome as motherhood and apple pie.
The church’s pro-abortion stance has consequences. It is often argued that high standards are an impediment to church growth, but all of the research and empirical evidence suggest that people are attracted to churches that have high standards and make demands on their members. Our failure to take a Christian position turns people off, including many Adventists. Teresa Fry Beem was a Seventh-day Adventist anti-abortion activist, one of four children of a prominent family in Keene, Texas, where I grew up and was educated. Teresa became so frustrated with the church's stance on abortion that she converted to Roman Catholicism. She's written a book entitled, “It's Okay Not to be an Adventist,” and has founded a “former Adventist discussion group” on Facebook. It's hard to know how to respond to the Teresa Beems; abortion is a needless and indefensible stain on the Adventist Church.
We Are Slowly liberalizing the Church Manual on Divorce and Remarriage
At the 2000 General Conference session in Toronto, a comprehensive re-writing of the church manual chapter on divorce and remarriage was approved. Actually, the re-writing had been tabled after stiff opposition from the conservative third-world delegates, but was revived by a parliamentary maneuver and approved by majority vote on the last morning of the session, when only about 150 of more than 2,000 official delegates (fewer than ten percent of the official delegates) were present on the floor. Most of the conservative delegates from the developing world had gone to check on flight reservations (there was a rumor of an Air Canada strike) and were not present for the vote.
The new chapter on divorce and remarriage begins with a general discussion of marriage that includes an unsubtle attempt to undermine the Biblical teaching of male headship in the home. (Eph. 5:22-33; Col. 3:18-19; 1 Peter 3:1) The new chapter states: “Partnership in Marriage—Unity in marriage is achieved by mutual respect and love. No one is superior.” Of course, role distinctions do not imply ontological superiority or inferiority, but role distinctions between men and women are part of the created order. The new chapter also states, under “Restoration and healing, No. 2”: “Oneness and Equality to be Restored in Christ—The gospel emphasizes the love and submission of husband and wife to one another (1 Cor. 7:3-4; Eph. 5:21).” The cited scriptural passages are not germane. Corinthians 7:3-4 commands spouses not to withhold sex from each other. Ephesians 5:21, telling believers to “submit to one another,” probably does not even apply to relations between the sexes, but rather to Christian believers in general. Most translations attach this phrase to verse 20, as in the KJV: “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.” Some politically correct translations, like the most recent NIV, detach verse 21 from the preceding verse and place it below an added, editorial subheading, “Instructions for Christian Households” or some similar verbiage. The next verse, Eph. 5:22 states, “Wives, submit to your husbands, as to the Lord.” In verse 25, husbands are commanded to love, but not submit to, their wives.
The biblical standard for divorce is very clear: “I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” Mat. 19:8. Jesus' disciples thought His teaching on divorce was outrageous, and we are just as committed to easy divorce as were the people of Jesus’ day. But the standard is the standard. “Men are not at liberty to make a standard of law for themselves, to avoid God’s law and please their own inclination. They must come to God’s great moral standard of righteousness.” Ellen White, The Adventist Home, p. 342.
Ellen White’s counsel notwithstanding, the SDA Church at Toronto made a new standard. The revised Church Manual chapter states:
Grounds for Divorce—Scripture recognizes adultery and/or fornication (Matt. 5:32) as well as abandonment by an unbelieving partner (1 Cor. 7:10-15) as grounds for divorce.
Did Paul really intend to add another ground for divorce to what Jesus had clearly stated? (How ironic that, based upon this lone passage, we’ve expanded the biblical grounds for divorce, yet remain in full-throated denial of Paul’s oft reiterated specification of male headship in the home and the church.) Even assuming that Paul created a new ground for divorce, does this situation arise often enough to warrant mention in the Church Manual? It seems to apply only when two non-Christians marry, one is later converted, and the unconverted spouse then insists upon getting a divorce without biblical grounds.
The re-written Church Manual chapter also postpones discipline in cases of non-biblical divorce until either of the spouses marries a third party, at which time the remarrying spouse should be removed from church membership. The most probable practical effect of this change is that one or both of the former spouses will have moved to different church before remarriage, the prior marriage and divorce will have been forgotten, and discipline will go by the boards.
As explained below, church discipline in cases of divorce has become rare, so the changes to the church manual were largely academic. But the absence of practical consequences argues for leaving the standards as they were: Since discipline is rare anyway, why add another ground for divorce, and why defer the possibility of discipline from the time of the unlawful divorce until the time of the unlawful re-marriage? It is difficult to view these changes as other than incremental (creeping) liberalism, a slow abandonment of that much-hated, impossibly high moral standard on divorce and remarriage.
What to do?
In all of these areas—biblical grounds for divorce, sex roles, sexual behavior, and abortion—a Southern Baptist will be far more likely than an Adventist to be familiar with the relevant biblical principles. That is not something to be proud of. Our Adventist religious subculture has, strangely, failed to acknowledge plain biblical standards and principles in the area of human sexuality.
Until about four decades ago, Adventism in North America could ride the coattails of a basically Christian sexual constitution. In the 19th and early 20th Century, we were more patriarchal than Latin America is now or ever was. Father knew best. Divorces could only be obtained by rigorously proving a ground for divorce (or by agreement, but even an agreed divorce usually necessitated an extended vacation in Nevada). Abortion was illegal, expensive and dangerous. Pornography was illegal; “stag films” existed underground, not as a multi-billion dollar above-the-counter business. Sodomy was illegal, and laws against overt homosexual activity were often enforced. Social disapproval of unwed motherhood and illegitimate children, and the lack of effective birth control, discouraged out-of-wedlock heterosexual activity; when an unmarried girl was found to be pregnant, inquiries were made and a shotgun wedding was arranged.
But the Sexual Revolution changed all that. Society rejected the concept of sex-role differentiation in the workplace, and governments began to enforce gender neutrality across a wide range of endeavor. Between 1967 and 1973, all 50 states adopted no fault divorce, meaning that either party could be granted a divorce without having to prove grounds. In the late 1960s, a few jurisdictions began to liberalize their abortion laws, and in 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court mysteriously found a theretofore unimagined constitutional right to abortion. Some 55 million babies have been aborted since Roe v. Wade. Most forms of pornography—those that did not involve minors or extreme acts—effectively became legal, as the Supreme Court subjected state obscenity laws to an expanded notion of freedom of expression. The gay rights movement erupted after the Stonewall Riots of 1969, and by the late 1970s most cities had stopped enforcing sodomy laws (although they remained enforceable until the Supreme Court's 2003 decision in Lawrence v. Texas deemed them unconstitutional). Strong social disapproval of unwed motherhood began to dissipate (does anyone remember “Murphy Brown”?); unsurprisingly, the percentage of out-of-wedlock births has quintupled since the sexual revolution, and now stand at 41% of all births. In sum, the Sexual Revolution overthrew a basically Christian sexual constitution and replaced it with one that is pagan or worse.
The Sexual Revolution’s toppling of the Christian sexual constitution has many implications for organized Christianity, including the Seventh-day Adventist Church, one of which concerns church discipline following divorce. Before the introduction of “no fault” divorce, the church could usually rely on the state to determine who was at fault in a divorce proceeding. But today, almost all divorces are no-fault divorces; the state courts no longer find fault, but merely divide the common property and issue any necessary orders regarding child custody, support, and visitation. The church would need to introduce ecclesiastical divorce courts in order to replace the factual findings of fault that the civil courts no longer make. Thus far, the church has shown no interest in instituting church courts. The result is that, in North America over the past 35 years, there has been less and still less formal church discipline over divorce, until it is now almost never seen. Sadly, we now have even pastors who are remarried in a way that is biblically unlawful.
The Sexual Revolution brought about radical changes to the sexual constitution of the developed world, discarding a traditional Christian view of sexuality and replacing it with a pagan view of sexuality that is based upon the idea that anything consenting adults want to do with each other is normative and acceptable. Because of this cultural earthquake, Christians in the developed world can no longer coast along with the dominant culture. And yet that is exactly what Seventh-day Adventists have done in the areas of sex roles, abortion, and divorce and remarriage. We must not continue to drift along with an increasingly pagan larger culture. As Seventh-day Adventists, we need to open our Bibles and, in humble submission, learn what Scripture teaches about sexuality. It seems late in the day to transform our sexual subculture, but the first step in solving any problem is to admit you have one. We have one.
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)
Edward C. Allred made a fortune owning a chain of abortion clinics, personally aborting hundreds of thousands of fetuses, 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. But apparently they are not proud to be associated with his life work, as shown by the misleading information on their website:
Dr. Allred has always been an entrepreneur, whether in his innovative and financially successful medical practice or in his lifelong commitment to the sport and business of quarter horse racing in the United States and Southern California in particular. To both he has brought not only sound and creative business practices but also a deep interest in his colleagues and employees and a genuine care for their well being.
To characterize a business with annual revenues of $70 million from 23 outlets in two states as a “medical practice” goes beyond spin and crosses over into dissimulation.
In 1969, Dr. Edward C. Allred, a graduate of La Sierra University and Loma Linda University, founded the “Avalon-Slauson Medical Group,” which was later renamed “Family Planning Associates.” Although this was before the Supreme Court effectively legalized abortion nationwide in Roe v. Wade (1973), California had already legalized abortion in several situations, and hence many women traveled to California to have abortions. “We had planeloads of people coming in,” recalled Allred to a Los Angeles Times reporter in 2002, “We'd meet them at the airport with a bus.”
In 1980, Allred claimed to have personally aborted a quarter of a million fetuses in the preceding 12 years. It may seem difficult to believe that one man could perform so many abortions, but Allred tried to spend no more than five minutes with each pregnant woman. “We've been pioneers in so many ways,” he once told a reporter. “We streamlined, we made efficiencies, we employed the suction technique better than anyone, and we eliminated needless patient-physician contact. We usually see the patient for the first time on the operating table and then not again.” Spending only five minutes per patient would have allowed Allred to perform as many as 100 abortions in a 10-12 hour working day, and 200 working days per year (50 four-day work weeks) would, over 12 years, add up to 240,000 aborted fetuses. So Allred's estimate of the number of abortions he performed during that time is credible.
You might wonder how a person who has aborted a very large city worth of human lives salves his conscience. The pioneers of abortion, such as Margaret Sanger, were quite explicit in favoring it as a means of weeding out undesirables and the unfit, and there was general agreement that the black race was undesirable. Dr. Allred has, at least on one occasion, voiced similar thoughts.
Population control is too important to be stopped by some right-wing pro-life types. . . . The Aid to Families with Dependent Children program is the worst boondoggle ever created. When a sullen black woman of 17 or 18 can decide to have a baby and get welfare and food stamps and become a burden to all of us, it's time to stop. In parts of South Los Angeles, having babies for welfare is the only industry the people have. Edward C. Allred, M.D. quoted in Anthony Perry, "Doctor's Abortion Business is Lucrative," San Diego Union, October 12, 1980, pages A-3 and A-14.
Family Planning Associates expanded to the point where Allred owned 21 abortion clinics in California and two in Chicago. According to a 2001 article in Forbes Magazine, Allred's business generated $70 million in annual gross revenues and $5 million in annual profits. Just as McDonald's founder Ray Kroc pioneered efficiencies and economies of scale in the hamburger business, Edward C. Allred pioneered efficiencies in the abortion clinic business, causing some to call Allred “the Ray Kroc of abortions.”
But things did not always go smoothly; there have been post-abortion deaths, and Allred has been sued many times. One abortion technique Allred used in the early days was saline amniocentesis--injecting saline in place of the normal amniotic fluid--which slowly poisons the baby while burning its skin. This method was usually used in late-term abortions, and the baby typically took an hour to 90 minutes to die. In 1977, Gianna Jessen's 17-year-old mother went to Dr. Allred's Avalon Clinic in Inglewood, California, seeking to abort a pregnancy of 29 weeks (seven months). Dr. Allred used the salt poisoning method, underestimating the amount of saline necessary to kill the fetus, which began struggling to escape the deadly womb. Gianna Jessen was born alive, and Dr. Allred is listed on her birth certificate as the doctor who delivered her. Gianna suffers from cerebral palsy, which she calls the gift of cerebral palsy, and today has become a prominent spokeswoman in the pro-life movement.
Dr. Allred sold Family Planning Associates in 2005, and has retired from the abortion business. He devotes his time to a hobby and passion he acquired while still in medical school: horse racing. Dr. Allred now owns Los Alamitos Race Track in Cypress, California, and Ruidoso Downs, in New Mexico. Horse racing is a very dangerous “sport,” and the exploitation of jockeys is one of the most under reported aspects of that “sport” (really just an excuse for gambling).
Jockeys are independent contractors who earn on average about $38,000 per year; for a basic “mount fee” of as little as $60.00 per race, they risk death and paralysis. In a typical year, at least one or two jockeys are killed or suffer catastrophic spinal cord injuries, and yet the tracks do not carry adequate insurance. A paralyzed jockey will typically burn through a million dollars in medical bills in the first 2 years after the accident. This isn't a theoretical concern; on September 2, 2011, Jacky Martin suffered a broken neck in a fall at Ruidoso Downs, is now a quadriplegic, and needs mechanical help to breathe. Ruidoso downs reportedly carries only $500,000 in accident insurance, and, as in almost every case of this type, that is grossly inadequate to provide for Jacky Martin's ongoing medical needs.
These men and women risk death an catastrophic injury almost solely to provide an occasion for gambling. At Los Alamitos, the daily “handle,” or total dollar amount of bets taken in, was reported to be $1.3 million. Allred decided to simulcast Los Alamitos races to other venues, thus enabling gamblers to bet and lose money on races that they did not attend. Ruidoso Downs had been losing money, but Allred and his partners made the track profitable by adding 300 slot machines, some of which are proudly shown on the track's website. Attendance at horse racing venues has sharply declined in recent years, and industry insiders say the “sport” cannot survive without casino-style gaming at the tracks. But is saving the tracks in the public's interest? According to the National Gambling Impact Study Commission (NGISC), more than one in three racetrack patrons is a pathological or problem gambler, so the tracks cause financial problems for the patrons, as well as causing jockeys to risk death and quadriplegia.
Back to La Sierra University. The Board of Directors is stocked with Adventist Church leaders. Pacific Union president Ricardo Graham is Chairman of the Board of Trustees, and all the affiliated conference presidents within the Pacific Union are also board members. These are all decent men, so it is difficult to understand how they could have allowed La Sierra to become associated with such a person as Edward C. Allred. This sad incident, along with previous stories—such as the issuing of tax-free bonds that came with a secularizing bond covenant, and the ongoing failure to prevent Darwinism being inculcated as truth—call into question whether the Board of Trustees is exercising any meaningful oversight at all.
If the church leadership in the region cannot reform La Sierra, world church leadership must take action. If La Sierra cannot be reformed, it must be clearly and publicly separated from the official church.