The Lamb of God: Jesus for the Non-Religious, Part III

Column by Bishop John Shelby Spong on 29 March 2006 0 Comments
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With regards to abortion, I did not do them for birth
control. However, I have done them for medical
indications. I tried to avoid the psychiatrists since
they all said that the patient would go crazy if not
aborted. Maybe that is an exaggeration.

I did a late term abortion for a woman with cancer of
the cervix. I also lifted the ovaries out of the
radiation paths. I was so sure that the baby would be
born dead at C-section that I didn't have a
pediatrician present. The baby came out screaming and
is still living as far as I know.

I also delivered a woman with idiopathic myocarditis.
We carried her until the baby would survive and then
delivered her. She was on anti-coagulants that we
reversed for the delivery. Six weeks later I tied her
tubes and she died that night. We just couldn't win
with that one.

I also did a C-section on one lady with a
Pheochromocytoma. The baby died but the mother
survived after the tumor was removed.

My daughter-in-law had a normal pregnancy and then
had a baby with Downs syndrome. Her next pregnancy
resulted in a diagnosis of Turner's syndrome. There
was also another broken chromosome. The diagnosis was
made by chorionic villous sampling. Since there was a
high chance of mental retardation, I advised her to
have an abortion. I can't imagine making a person
have a baby with mental problems when it can be
avoided by abortion. She is now 5 months pregnant
with a normal girl.

I think that a lot of diseases warrant having an
abortion. Most of the heart diseases with valve
disease and heart failure are grounds for abortion.
It has to be individualized. If one can get past the
second trimester, there is less stress on the heart.
The fluid volume in the woman decreases in the last

I certainly think that severe hemorrhage from
placenta previa warrants abortion. Also severe
toxemia of pregnancy warrants termination of the
pregnancy at any time. I would use late term abortion
for severe malformations like hydrocephalous and
anencephaly. Still late term abortions are relatively
rare. The physician should have the option of doing
what is best for the mother and not have to worry
about going to jail.

I saw a lot of women who died of Clostridium
infections from back room abortions. I wouldn't want
to go back to that. So in answer to your question, I
do believe in abortions at any time. I don't think
you can make a law that makes everybody happy. It's
still up to the doctor and patient. Every day there
are new advances in genetics and all these problems
will change.


Thank you for sharing your knowledge. I am quite
willing to protect your privacy by not sharing your
name. I do hope, however, that medical practitioners
will not long have to seek anonymity for fear of their
lives at the hand of pro-life crazies who kill to
protect the pro-life position.

Thank you for asking.

John Shelby Spong

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