Pro-choice Stance is About Sunday Laws







At first pass, one could see little, if any, relationship between the SDA position on abortion and their beliefs about Sunday Laws. However, the link is more firm than you might think.

First, let’s be clear about whether or not the SDA church’s position on abortion is actually pro-choice. There are certainly active voices within the church that oppose abortion, but the position of the SDA church is that it is each person’s own decision on whether abortion is morally right or not. Pro-choice, by definition, means that you support giving each person the ability to make their own decision on the subject.

SDAs claim that their pro-choice position on abortion stems from a larger philosophical and theological foundation that values giving people freedom of choice. This makes their position on abortion seem like it is about having high and lofty ideals, but the reality of SDA practice shows that free choice isn’t truly a value the church upholds.

If you are admitted to an SDA hospital, you will not be allowed to exercise your choice to eat ham if you wish, but you will be allowed to exercise your choice to have an abortion. If SDAs truly valued the freedom of human choice, wouldn’t the freedom to have a ham sandwich be just as important as the freedom to end the life of an unborn child? Most would argue that the choice to eat ham only affects the person making the choice while the choice of an abortion affects the person making the choice and others (potentially the father, certainly the unborn child). Based on this clear example of the duplicitous behavior regarding free choice in SDA hospitals, Adventists demonstrate that their support of abortion isn’t really about the ideals of free choice but has deeper roots.

I believe that the true reason SDAs support the pro-choice movement is their fear of the pro-life movement. Some political and military strategists believe that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”. SDAs believe that in the end times Catholics and Protestants will unite in their efforts and pass laws in the United States that establish their religious beliefs as national laws. SDAs believe that this will ultimately result in a National Sunday Law and the direct persecution of all Sabbath observers. The pro-life movement scares SDAs because it has united Catholics and Protestants in a manner not seen by any other issue in American politics. This ecumenical pro-life movement has become a powerful political force and SDAs fear that this power could extend to National Sunday Laws. Because SDAs fear the future that they predict, they oppose anything that might lead to a National Sunday Law.

SDAs may promote their views on abortion as being based on lofty ideals, but in reality they are based in fear of the end times. It is a sad day indeed when people, claiming to follow in the footsteps of Christ and His Apostles, allow their fear of personal suffering and persecution to stop them from standing up for the helpless.

Rick Barker

Rick Barker

Rick Barker is a native of Southwestern Ohio and facilitates a weekly Bible study for former and transitioning SDAs in the Dayton, OH area. More information on this study group can be found at Rick graduated from Andrews University in 1987 and received a Masters degree from the University of Dayton. He previously served on the staff of the Thomas Bilney Institute for Biblical Research and is an active member of his local Lutheran church. Rick was a volunteer on the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry website for 6 years and remains a participant on the discussion boards. Rick and his wife Sheryl formally left the SDA chuch in 2004. Prior to this they had been active in the Miamisburg and Wilmington Ohio churches.
Rick Barker


  1. Hi Ric!

    I have to say that I was very curious as to how you found a relationship between Pro-Choice and the Sunday Law.

    I liked your use of the word “lofty”. So true. SDA’s are so lofty in their “thinking” or “paradigm” regarding Pro-Choice… yet you can’t order a ham sandwich at their hospital. We can end life… but there’s no way you can eat bacon. sigh. How did eating bacon become more important than a decision on a baby’s life? How did keeping a weekly Sabbath become more important that keeping a life? Very thought provoking… the things I could choose to do while I was Adventist.

    Thanks for pointing out that because Pro-Life is a Catholic Protestant view, Adventists don’t want to be associated in a political movement with them. I found that very interesting.

    Thx for posting this!


  2. Very insightful perspective regarding the reality of the professed “personal choice” stance. It is unfathomable that an organization can dictate on so many levels what people are allowed (eat, drink, wear, marry, etc), yet on this subject turn a deaf ear and site “personal freedom”.

  3. As an Adventist myself, I find this to be quite insulting to my religion. Trying to find new ways to attack the SDA religion has now brought you to this conclusion? How sad, misleading, and twisted. The church’s views are that life was given by God and to be cherished.

  4. Jen,
    If your church truly valued and cherished life it would refuse to perform abortions in its hospitals and it would join the larger Christian community in condemning abortion. What I think is sad and twisted is the SDA church and members making excuses for continuing to support the right to choose murder. How do you find this “freedom” to have and to perform abortions to be a good thing about your church?

    As far as being mislading, please consider that your church’s published Guidelines on Abortion state “They make their choices according to scripture and the laws of God rather than the norms of society. Therefore, any attempts to coerce women either to remain pregnant or to terminate pregnancy should be rejected as infringements of personal freedom.” This is a staunchly pro-choice position.

  5. I believe that one of the reasons the Adventist church is actually pro-choice is related to the fact that they do not believe there is an immaterial spirit that defines the person. Many Adventists believe that a fetus really becomes viable when it actually breathes. Until then, it is not technically a “living soul”.

    I know that my disbelief in an immaterial human spirit led me to be pro-choice as an Adventist. When I began to realize that humans were more than merely physical bodies, my reaction to abortion did a complete turnaround. I realized profoundly that it is murder, not just ending the potential for life.

  6. I find the comparison of choice of eating habits compared to the mind wrenching decision for or against abortion to be insulting to anyone’s intelligence . And to think of some committee in the Adventist church sitting behind closed doors and plotting some scenario of using a military thought process for keeping it’s members safer in the end time, to be a total hoax, not to mention totally insulting to Adventists in general. Mr. Barker can “think” what he will, but until he can come up with some proofs of such allegation, I think he would do better to spend his thinking time elsewhere.
    p.s.I have worked in a couple Adventist hospitals and yes they do not serve pork products, but neither would they deter a patient from exercising their rights by having someone bring them a ham sandwich.

  7. You need to go back in history and look at the church going hand and hand with the Nazi’s and what did that get you? A lot of dead bodies. So it does not supprise me on their stance for abortion.
    So my question is what does abortion have to do with the sunday law any more than eating a ham sandwich?

  8. I my view the point Rick is making is using the contrast of a ham sandwich (a rather unemportant issue or secondary moral significance) with that of abortion which is really a capital crime of murder. Even if you kill an unborn child through abortion that is murder and is a major crime. Because someone thinks they have a right to choose dosn’t make it right. I have a grandson who is now seventeen but was born five months early. He was clearly a human being before born but it would have been legal to have aborted him. Thankfully my daughter understands that and would never have allowed that to happen. Later, she had a miscarrage which still haunts her to this day but never never has to regret saving the life of the one she could, a very health young man.

  9. So Sue,
    Based on your work at SDA hospitals, I am correct in stating that the SDA organization will not provide a ham sandwhich just because someone wants one? SDAs have no problem restrict free choice in something like the choice of food which is going to do little, if any, damage to a life.

    But the same SDA hospitals will provide an abortion just because someone wants one? Doesn’t abortion do far more harm to a life (that of the unborn baby) than eating ham?

    The claim that the SDA position on abortion is based on the high value that SDAs place on allowing personal freedom is clearly false based on the actions of SDA institutions regarding other personal freedoms.

    So SDAs, if you don’t believe that the reason is that SDAs fear the activities of the “religious right”, what reason do you propose for why your church REALLY rejects the right-to-life effort in the US?

    1. What is all this about ham sandwiches ? Ridiculous.
      SDA’s claim that it was the “ceremonial” commands that were done away with, those having to do with sacrifices, washings, etc…. but ignore the fact that the dietary restrictions were also part of the “ceremonial” NOWHERE in the TEN written on stone is anything said about what to eat or not eat and yet food choices are one of the biggest things SDA’s worry about.

      Adventists claim to keep the TEN Commandments,, and yet when it comes to abortion they ignore “thou shalt not kill” … Also,,,, they worry so much about “keeping” the 4th (Sabbath) that they dont realize they also break the FIRST as they make an IDOL of the Sabbath. Also they do NOT “keep” the Sabbath as required in the command or they would “put to death” anyone who did not “keep” it. So SDA’s who claim to “keep” the Ten Commandments plainly LIE and do not “keep” them at all.

  10. Should have said “pro-life” rather than “right-to-life” if my question, but you still get the point. What reason, besides the already debunked “value of personal freedom” argument, can you provide for why a religious organization would promote pro-choice in regards to abortion.

  11. I want to echo something Colleen said above. I think probably the most significant reason that SDA hospitals perform abortions is that they do not believe that a baby in the womb is a living being or a “living soul”.

    SDA theology rejects the idea of an immaterial aspect to man. It argues that the term translated as “spirit” simply means “breath”. SDA theology further teaches that man is not body plus spirit, but body plus breath. When body plus breath are combined, man becomes a living soul according to SDA theology.

    So, according to this reasoning, a baby in the womb who is not yet using his or her lungs to breath air is not yet considered by Adventist theology to be a living soul or a living being. So then, killing that baby before he or she has a chance to breath is something other than killing a living being and can in some way be justified.

    This just goes to show, what we believe determines how we live. What we believe matters.

  12. Chris,
    Regardless of what SDA theology teaches about our spirit, one has to essentially ignore the Scriptural evidence in order to conclude that life doesn’t start until birth. Take the story of John the Baptist rejoicing in the womb at the presence of Jesus, still in the womb (Luke 1:40-42).

    Or how could Jacob and Esau stuggle in the womb if they were not alive (Gen 25:21-22).

    When the Bible speaks of a woman being “with child” was it referring to a child that was already born, or one that had yet to be born? If the Bible considered the unborn a “child”, doesn’t this imply that life had already begun?

    Psalm 51:5 suggests that life begins at conception.

    Jeremiah was consecrated before he was born (Jer 1:5).

    Scripture is not silent on the subject of life beginning in the womb rather than at birth. Something causes SDAs to ignore the clear Scriptural teaching on this subject.

  13. Yep! Fear, fear and more fear. And I always thought it was simply greed–$,$ and more $ for the hospitals. I think most SDAs don’t even know about all of this because the church doesn’t take a firm stand nor brings up this “hot potato” issue, but passes the buck to the members, giving them the right to choose to kill or not to kill their babies. Interesting that the administration of the church goes against the Whites on this one while worshipping at their feet on so many other issues. BTW we can exercise our power of choice all we want but that doesn’t eliminate the consequenses, including eternal ones. Being able to choose doesn’t mean our choice is going to be right. Moreover, I wouldn’t even want to repeatedly stab an unborn animal to death, soul or no soul. And what is this SDA nonsense about equating our being born with Adam and Eve’s beginning of life? They weren’t born. Humans are born in the same biological way all mammals are. More SDA illogic which can be observed in this subject as in many others. The SDA views on this topic bothers me very much because the harmful fallout spreads beyond the person making their “precious” choice. Sometimes I have to take a break from thinking about SDAisms as they are so disturbing and frankly embarrassing. Thanks tho Rick for bringing up this important observation.

  14. Way back in the day~ when I worked for a short time at Loma Linda Hospital, an early abortion, was discretely called, a “D & C”~ not what it really was;
    Taking the life of an unborn child~
    This was how the doctors got away with performing so many with no questions asked~

  15. As a Seventh-day Adventist, i am ashamed of our church’s stance on this very fundamental issue. We talk so big of laying down our life to help others, but we wink and look the other way while the most helpless of society get their brains sucked out in our hospitals. How is God going to send his angels to protect us in the Time of Trouble, if we don’t take a stand for those in trouble now? And, to our shame, it is true that our current guidelines would condone Mary murdering baby Jesus in her womb, as she definitely had a “moral dilemma”.

    I made a video decrying this sin and asking for our leaders to publicly repent, and put it on youtube. Search on youtube for “sda abortion”.

    May we repent and follow lovely Jesus.

    1. Thank you for the response. I hope more SDAs like yourself will stand up and speak against your church’s stance on this. How can a church claim to be keeping the 10 commandments and still affirm abortion as a personal choice?

  16. Excellent article! Our Adventist pioneers gave us a good pro-life example which we discarded back in 1970–three years before abortion was legalized in the U.S. mainland. This means that we Adventists led in the legalization of abortion.

    We allowed our Castle Memorial Hospital in Hawaii to offer elective abortions for profit, and five other Adventist hospitals followed this shameful example. The result is that thousands of innocent babies were either dismembered or poisoned in some of our medical institutions.

    I know this to be factual because I wrote my doctoral dissertation about this issue and my main source was our official “Ministry” magazine. I recently published a book about this. You can locate it at You will need to type my name–Nic Samojluk–to access the book’s page site.

    I also recomment that you watch the video someone posted above about Adventists and abortion. It generated over 800 views in a short time.

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