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DISCLAIMANT PRESS RELEASE, MARCH 6, 1974

(Submitted by the Rev. W. Dean Crouse, Philadelphia First Church of the

Brethren, 8707 W. Cheltenham Avenue, Philadelphia, Pa. 19118) The Church of the Brethren's participation in the religious coalition for abortion is without official sanction and is in direct conflict with stated denominational policy. The Church of the Brethren's only official statement says: “Brethren oppose abortion because it destroys fetal life. Let it be clear that the Brethren ideal upholds the sacredness of human life and that abortion should be accepted as an option only where all other possible alternatives will lead to greater destruction of human life and spirit.” The statement goes on to say, “Our position is not a condemnation of those persons who reject this position or of women who seek and undergo abortions. Rather, it is a call for Christ-like compassion in seeking creative alternatives to abortion."

The position statement on abortion passed by the annual conference of the Church of the Brethren in 1972 advocates contraception and voluntary measures such as sterilization rather than abortion.

W. D. CROUSE,

Moderator,
MARY E. WEAVER,

Moderator-Elect,
C. WAYNE ZUNKEL,

Immediate Past Moderator,
Atlantic Northeast District of the Church of the Brethren.

March 7, 1974. Rev. ROBERT HOLBROOK, First Baptist Church, Hallettsville, Tex.

DEAR BROTHER HOLBROOK: There are many Baptists throughout the Southern Baptist Convention, including the members of the Fellowship of Conservative Southern Baptists, who are very much concerned about the Supreme Court's decision related to liberal abortion.

We also feel that a survey of other Baptist groups, such as the General Assembly of Regular Baptists, the Conservative Baptist Convention, and the Independent Baptist Churches, would reflect the same opinion.

We urge that you impress on the minds of those that you meet that the stated opinions of the Baptist Joint Committee and other more liberal Baptist groups or conventions do not represent the main stream of Baptist thinking.

May the Lord be with you on your journey to Washington, and may He touch the hearts of all involved in the meeting, that they might bring pressure to bear where it will be most effective to correct the Court's grave error. Yours in Christ,

J. C. CARUTHERS,

Executive Director,

Fellowship of Conservative Southern Baptists. Senator BAYH. First, let me say, in pursuing who should testify, we are of necessity forced to have some people first and some people second. You mentioned there are a number of persons waiting to testify. Now, how would you, if you were chairman of this subcommittee, make the determination as to who should testify and who should not?

Reverend HOLBROOK. Well, first of all, Mr. Chairman, I believe that I would try to present a balanced testimony from all religious disciplines. I would allow also perhaps opportunity to hear from individuals from some of these denominations like myself, who do not agree with the official pronouncement. Many times these pronouncements are managed in a way that they do not reflect the grassroots support of the church. But basically, I believe I would say this, that I would in no way try to dictate to this committee. As I say, I am requesting an opportunitv.

Senator BAYH. Well, I am just asking for advice. You know, I have already been criticized from both sides, and I expect I will be criticized in the future as to the pecking order.

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Reverend HOLBROOK. I would not critize the pecking order. I would just make sure everybody had a chance to be pecked at.

Senator BAYH. What I am not too sure is who is the pecker and who is the peckee in this type of thing. I have a rather significant feeling that I am the peckee. I guess that is sort of like President Truman when he said, "If you cannot stand the heat, get out of the kitchen," and we are in the kitchen right now on a hot July day, with the airconditioning and the exhaust fans turned off.

But in other words, I guess you share my feeling that you would rather err on the side of hearing too much than too few?

Reverend HOLBROOK. I beg your pardon?

Senator Bays. You share my feeling that in a hearing as complex as this, you would rather err on the side of hearing too many than too few, to make sure that we have full opportunity for everybody to be heard ?

Reverend HOLBROOK. Yes, sir; I would, because as you said yesterday and today, the complexity of the issue is very great and people feel very strongly about it and people are perfectly sincere on both sides of the issue.

Senator BAYH. Oh, yes.

Reverend HOLBROOK. I do not question that. And due to those facts, I think that in the words of Solomon, there is wisdom in a multitude of counsel. And I would just urge that however it is carried out, that that be done as far as the logistics goal is concerned.

Senator Bayu. Could I ask you just one question about your statement where you say on page 12, "The involvement of the liberal Protestant clergy in the women's rights movement and the political and then the full cultural and economic disenfranchisement of women must be set down as another factor in the conspicuous present-day concern of many ministers for the complete autonomy of the mother and the protection of her from an unwanted child", what does that mean?

Reverend HOLBROOK. I was speaking of the involvement and concern of the clergy in these Protestant denominations in past decades beginning with getting the full rights of women, getting the right to vote, getting the right of cultural and economic opportunity. Then this has been carried over—and I think perhaps it missed a turn in the road somewhere--into feelings like that to be consistent in this, that these women, whom they have been concerned with over many years as far as wages and working conditions and things like this, that to be consistent they must go ahead and present what they feel is the full liberation of women by having the right to kill their unborn child or to have an abortion.

Senator Bayi. Is it your opinion, Reverend Holbrook, that only liberal Protestant clergy have been concerned about equal rights for women?

Reverend HOLBROOK. Not at all.

Senator BAYH. I do not know how one would draw a line between liberal and conservative, but I must say as chairman of this committee, that I have had a lot of clergymen and people who would call themselves pretty conservative that do not think it is too liberal to decide a woman ought to have a right to vote.

Reverend HOLBROOK. Well, in the context of the statement, that was not what was meant

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Senator BAYH. OK, that is question No. 1. Part 2, and what really concerned me, does it follow that when you have clergymen, or shail we broaden it to say citizens, concerned in the women's rights movement and then you have the political and the full cultural and economic disenfranchisement of women must be set down as another factor and the conspicuous present-day concern of many ministers for the complete autonomy of the mother and the protection of her from an unwanted child”? Does that necessarily follow? Somewhere or other I thought we were trying to do just the opposite, that rather than to disenfranchise people culturally and economically and politically, that the whole thrust of the equal rights movement for most of us who are concerned about that was to provide full development and full ability to the part and not to be disenfranchised.

Reverend HOLBROOK. I appreciate your drawing this out. I have a pecking order also, and I must talk to the secretary who typed this. Obviously it is an error.

Senator BAYH. Well, maybe I am more sensitive than most about that cause having been involved in the debate here in this committee on the Senate about the equal rights, but does it necessarily follow in your judgment that if one is for equal rights for women, that one must be for unlimited abortion?

Reverend HOLBROOK. That is the point I am making. I believe this is why, going back over page 11, this is why there is such a high profile of Protestant clergymen who are proabortion because, going back in time, their concern and interest in the visible distress of women—and I mean the economic condition and then the cultural condition—was so great. So then they just came out for this. That is what I am saying. I am not saying it follows that if you are concerned about those, you must blindly go ahead and say that the woman should have the right also to gain her full freedom by ending the pregnancy and killing the unborn child.

Senator Bayh. Well, I am sure there will be other clergymen who will be able to express themselves on this better than I.

President McKay, you stressed the permissiveness and immorality aspect of abortion. Would you care to define that more specifically? I think you were here when I directed that question at one of the preceding witnesses, Rabbi Bleich. Is this immorality and permissiveness or the act of abortion that concerns you most?

Mr. McKay. Both, Mr. Chairman. The church is against the permissiveness and promiscuity of course. It is very vocal against sexual permissiveness and feels that this law or this absence of a law actually is a tacit approval of sexual indulgence.

On the other hand, too, the killing of the fetus in itself has an immoral aspect. So there are two parts of the immorality aspect.

Senator BAYH. One of our previous witnesses suggested in response to a similar question, that it was not really the ultimate capability of abortion, but the existence of other medical and scientific techniques that lead to the conditions which you are concerned about. Do you have any opinion about that?

Mr. McKay. Undoubtedly that does contribute to it, but the fact that abortion becomes much easier is one further contribution to immorality and sexual promiscuity.

Senator BAYH. Does the church have a position or have you been able to define in your mind, sir, at just what point life does begin?

Mr. McKay. I am not sure from the standpoint of the church that that question is relevant. The fetus is existent. At some point it becomes living. The fact that it is destroyed is destroying something which either is alive or will become alive.

Senator Bayu. Let me try to show why it might indeed be relevant at least as far as what we are trying to pursue here.

Mr. McKay. I do not mean that it is not relevant in your opinion, but in the attitude of the church it is not relevant.

Senator Bayh. Well far be it from me to tell you what is relevant in your church. Let me just ask one other question. Does the church have a position relative to the rightness or wrongness of certain types of contraception?

Mr. McKay. Not officially. Many of the authorities of the church have spoken out against contraceptives.

Senator Bayh. You see the issue is relevant at least to us, which need not be relevant to you, but inasmuch as you have taken a very strong position about the immorality of taking life, then it would seem to me that we should try to determine at what point does that all occur. When is creation? And there are certain beliefs that creation is at the point of fertilization. Others believe that it is at the point of implantation. And if one believes the former instead of the latter, then almost by definition certain types of contraceptives and contraceptive devices that are designed to prevent implantation, would be abortion. That is why I asked the question.

Mr. McKay. I cannot speak for the church on that. There has not been a pronouncement.

Senator BayH. Thank you. Mrs. Garton, you in your terminology used the term “willful abortion." Does that have any particular significance? Are there times when you might feel abortion could be accepted and moral?

Mrs. GARTON. The word is used in opposition, first of all, to spontaneous abortion but also allows for the possibility of pregnancy, which would lead to the death of the mother. In which case, there is very serious consideration.

In that case the death of the child would not be the intent of the action but rather to save the life of the mother.

Senator BAYH. How about emotional and mental health of the mother, is that considered in serious cases?

Mrs. GARTON. No, because we then are not weighing a life against an illness.

An abortion, the act of abortion would not cure the mental problem that exists. In fact, an abortion for a woman who has mental problems or mental instability, it might permit further complications of those problems.

Senator BAYH. What about deformity of the fetus?
Mrs. GARTON. What about?
Senator Bayh. Deformity of the fetus.

Mrs. GARTON. Oh, the deformity of the fetus, well then you would have to decide how deformed is deformed? You know, could it be something as simple as being left-handed and by having to go through

life this way.

Senator Bayh. My wife would disagree with that.

Mrs. GARTON. But the deformity of a body is not necessarily deformity of the human being.

Senator Bayh. Well, I just did not know whether there was any distinction there at all in your thinking. But if you could have an X-ray that could prove a badly deformed child, let us in conjection say a Mongoloid child, would that be grounds for abortion?

Mrs. GARTON. Well, I do not believe any of the techniques we have now can say with certainty what or when the child will be deformed. In fact, the technique you have in mind, which has been used, the very process could cause a deformity where non exists. And if indeed it shows that there is some kind of problem, there is no way of determining to what degree there is a problem. So we would consider, first of all, that deformity is not a reason for elimination and, second, that our techniques do not even definitely establish that.

Senator Bayh. President McKay, you described in some detail the steps that should be taken in your church before an abortion could be proceeded with by the mother if her health was in jeopardy or her life was in jeopardy. Does the church permit any leaway in those other two areas, namely, the deformity of the fetus or the serious emotional or mental health of the mother?

Mr. McKay. There has been no pronouncement on that. It may be.

Senator Bayu. Well, Mrs. Garton, you made a very pressing statement relative to your feelings in being a mother in carrying children and your right versus the rights of the child. The Reverend Holbrook mentioned the women's rights movement. How do you feel about the equal rights amendment?

Mrs. GARTON. Is that really germane to this issue? Are you saying that to be against abortion that you would assume I would also be against the equal rights amendment?

Senator Bayh. I am not making that assumption at all. In fact, I think the question I asked Reverend Holbrook might lead one to believe I thought it possible to be the opposite. I am not making any assumption. I was just interested.

With a woman that has your background and speaks very eloquently about this issue of women's rights, I just wondered what you thought about it. If you do not think it is relevant, you do not need to answer.

Mrs. GARTON. No; personally I would not answer about the equal rights amendment. I will say that I am very concerned about equal rights for women and self-determination, which has been such a primary thrust of the feminist movement and is one with which I have great sympathy.

Senator Bays. Do you think it is possible to be a supporter of the equal rights amendment andMrs. GARTON. Is it possible for me to be a supporter?

Senator Bayu. No; you said you did not want to answer that question so I will not push it. I ask is it possible in your judgment to be a supporter of the equal rights amendment and still feel a very strong commitment against abortion?

Mrs. GARTON. Oh, absolutely. I tell why I hesitated. On our commission

Senator Bayh. You are speaking as an individual here I am sure. The question is phrased as an individual question and not for the Missouri Synod.

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