A question for (religious) pro-life folks: abortion and the afterlife

This is a question for people who believe that abortion is or is something like murder, and who believe in God. Chiming in to bluster about the fact that you don’t believe in one or both things isn’t going to make for a productive discussion, but hey, I’m not a mod, so I guess you can knock yourself out.

The question I have is this:

Suppose we’re right and there is a judgement day. Good people are going to heaven like we thought, and those who are bad don’t. What do you think will happen to women who have had an abortion? If abortion is murder, does that mean they’re not going to go to heaven?

Although I do not believe that bad people go to hell, I do believe that those who are good and moral (everyone, not just believers) will go to heaven. Those who were sufficiently immoral will be denied entry to heaven, and if they don’t repent will simply cease to exist entirely, as if they never were. Only Satan will be tormented in hell for eternity.

In my mind, having an abortion might be deemed sufficiently immoral, depending on the circumstances of why it was done. I’d like to think that each person is judged on a case by case basis, so that some murderers and some women who have had abortions and did so because it was the best of two bad options will be spared, but some, like women who had an abortion simply because they would have been sort of inconvenienced rather than carry a baby to term and put it up for adoption, are going to have a tough time arguing their case for why they should be allowed to continue their afterlives.

Obviously, with my non-belief in hell, my religious beliefs are not in line with most other people’s religions since many do believe sinners go to hell. So that’s what I’m wondering. If abortion is murder, and sinners go to hell, do women who’ve had abortions go to hell? If so do the circumstances matter - or are a girl who was raped by her grandfather and a woman who flat-out refused to use birth control instead of having multiple abortions equally likely to go to hell? Are men (and family members) who have coerced someone into having one, or the doctors who perform them going to hell too? Or is abortion not as much of a murder as that of a baby/kid/adult so they all get a pass?

I’m not presently a religious person and I’m pro-choice, so I’m not quite the target audience for your question. HOWEVER, from my background (Roman Catholic), and from what I understand of other Christian faiths, all have some way of redemption even after some pretty major sins. A Catholic would have very sincerely repent, confess, and probably do some pretty major penance for committing murder (whether of a fetus or a walking, talking person) in order to receive absolution.

Anyway, bottom line as I understand it, once you’re “square” with God, you could get into Heaven. If you die while still on the outs, you’d be out of luck.

What a bizarre system, especially for one supposedly the handiwork of a being outside of time. The particular state someone happens to be in at the time of a happenstance event (i.e. death) determines their eternal fate? Someone that repents and then dies is saved: another that repents and backslides and then dies is damned, another that repents, backslides, and then repents again and dies is saved: despite even the fact that they could but for the particular moment of death all have been exactly the same person.

Not really. Anyone can repent immediately after committing a given sin. I guess the real problem arises if you die **while **you are committing the sin. :slight_smile:

According to what I have been taught, if the mother understood and believed the Church’s teachings on this and still had an abortion–that is, essentially rejected God’s plan for her–and never repented of that act, then she is in a state of mortal sin and won’t be united with God in heaven. So, there’s a lot of moving parts in this equation. Was the mother in such a state of desperation, pain and anxiety that it comprimised her ability to truly make an objective decision? Did she know the act was “wrong” but not really understand the true nature of it? Was she coerced into the act by someone else? I suspect there are very few in the category of, “I know God considers this a terrible act and that He would see this as a rejection of His will, but I’m going to do it anyway and without a speck of remorse–let the chips fall where they may!”

God, just to be clear, is the one who sorts out all these particulars on a “case by case” basis. We in the peanut gallery can only speculate.

Not necessarily.

I don’t like abortion, especially not when it’s been used as a primary means of birth control.

But I think there are a lot of shades of gray here. First off, before the end of the first trimester, I’m not sure even I could claim that the fetus is human. After that point we’re into iffier territory so there are times that abortion does seem to be the taking of a human life to me.

At that point circumstances matter: If it’s a matter of having an abortion or running a serious risk of health or life for the mother, it’s not what I’d consider a sin, no more than failing to enter a suicide pact would be a sin. When talking about a severely damaged fetus I’m less clear about the morality, but I can’t imagine that an abortion is more damaging to anyone than having their baby die within 24 hours, from incurable conditions. With less clear circumstances, things get a bit iffier, but like a soldier in war - I’m sure that God will take into consideration motives and circumstances.

Finally, even if someone does have an abortion for reasons that I’d consider immoral that doesn’t mean they can’t make it to Heaven. As a Catholic I do believe in a God of forgiveness. A truly repentant person can be absolved anything. (For example, while I had no great complaint with Karla Faye Tucker’s execution, I’m also hopeful she’s been welcomed into Purgatory, or Heaven.) Simply being a murderer doesn’t mean one can’t enter Heaven. It’s the lack of repentance that’s important. (Better of course, if the repentance went with actions to back that up, but without the repentance, the actions don’t matter.)

No offence intended, just pointing out the fact that if the first statement is a true representation of your beliefs, you are the very definition of a “Cafeteria Catholic.”

I believe most women who have murdered their unborn children will spend eternity in hell. And while it’s very un-christian of me sometimes I’m quite happy about that fact.

Nope. I’m a bloody heretic! Get it right! :smiley:

Same thing. :wink:

Not the question I was expecting to find after hovering over the thread title.

I was expecting it to be about the afterlife fate of those who are aborted, not those who get abortions. (It does often seem to me as if religious pro-life folk don’t think aborted fetuses go to heaven, so that aborting them deprives them entirely of all existence. I’ve often wondered if that’s strategic, i.e., their leadership figured long ago that it would dilute the impact of their message if they conjured up visions of aborted fetuses in heaven living happy peaceful afterlives, or if it really represents a theological inconsistency or lack of confidence in the afterlife they posit?)

FWIW, this religious pro-lifer’s religion (RC) teaches that aborted babies have an afterlife in heaven (not having had the opportunity to achieve the age of reason where it’s even possible to commit a real sin).

I’m Christian, raised Lutheran, now Episcopalian. When it comes to any sin, and I imagine abortion is one of them, it has always been taught to me that if you sincerely repent of a sin and ask God for forgiveness, you will get that forgiveness.

But in both denominations making sure you don’t have any known sins on your platter is not what gets you into, or keeps you out of Heaven. What opens Heaven for someone is faith, faith that Christ came to this world to be their Savior.

Faith and living a Christian life are inextricably intertwined though. A person who professes faith but is not showing it, and keeps on sinning(too long a list of actions to choose from folks) might be said to be not truly repentant.

In the Confession of Sin, in the Episcopal Church’s Book of Common Prayer, in Rite One, the priest says the following, when the general confession of the congregation has been made:

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, who of his great mercy hath promised forgiveness of sins to all those who with hearty repentance and true faith turn unto him, have mercy upon you, pardon and deliver you from all your sins, confirm and strengthen you in all goodness, and bring you to everlasting life;, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

In the Lutheran Book of Worship(ELCA), during the general confession of the congregation, the presiding minister makes the following statement:

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sins, God who is faithful and just will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

So while “manifest and unrepentant” sinners may not be entering Heaven, it’s not just their sins, it’s their lack of faith in Christ that prevents them from being in His presence.

And that’s what Heaven or Hell is, either being with God forever or being excluded from His presence.

My personal view concerning abortion is that life begins at conception, and that abortion takes a human life, so the idea of abortion distresses me greatly. But I can’t prove my view, it’s a matter of my personal religious faith, so I don’t believe that abortion can or should be a matter of civil legislation. Seperation of church and state, and all that. What a woman does with her body is for her to decide, not the state, and if she has sinned she’ll have to sort it out with God later, not the civil authorities.

I was born Catholic and AFAIK, conscience plays a big part in it. If in your heart you have no doubt about the rightness of your action, then you wouldn’t even have sinned. You would have followed the dictates of your conscience and you would have done the right thing.

FWIW, this religious pro-lifer’s religion (RC) teaches that aborted babies have an afterlife in heaven (not having had the opportunity to achieve the age of reason where it’s even possible to commit a real sin).
I was under the impression that children that dies before they were baptised go to “limbo.” According the second edition of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “limbo” seems to be more of state than a place where we can “only entrust [the child]
to the mercy of God.” (sec 1261). That is always something that I have had a hard time reconciling as a Catholic.

As to the person that cooperates in the act, the Catechism says that that person, and anyone who aids in the act, is committing a “grave sin” that “puts an innocent to death” and that both violates moral, Church and civil law. Further if one dies without (2270- 2273). These persons are hereby excommunicated from the Church. (2272) This is only scary if you are already Catholic, I guess. Excommunication “impedes reception of the sacraments” (1463) and it is through the sacrament of Reconciliation that you can be forgiven and absolved of your sins ensuring your place in heaven. I bet that there are loopholes and apparently anything can be forgiven on your deathbed.
My take: I am not the best Catholic. I am pro-choice. But I believe that a fetus is a human, a child, born, whatever from the moment of conception. If you have an abortion, you are committing murder. I also believe that you should be able to make the choice in a civil arena but in the end I believe that without true repentence you are doomed to an eternity in Hell.

Make that “…children who die before…” And “who” for any thats I use in reference to people. Good thing not previewing in not an excommunicable offense.

John Mace - I don’t think you understand what “repent” is. True repentance means to be truly sorry for the sin you’ve committed, not to mouth the words. And to try your best not to commit the sin again. The words to the Act of Contrition are:

"O My God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee and I detest all my sins because of Thy just punishments, but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, who art all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to sin no more and avoid the near occasions of sin."

I believe that women who’ve had abortions and people who have performed abortions, unless they are truly sorry and ask God’s forgiveness, and don’t continue to advocate abortion, are bound for Hell.


I don’t accept your premise. People who accept God will be welcomed into the Kindom of Heaven and live with God, those who don’t accept God will be allowed to live sepperated from Him. IIRC the line when He open the book for a non-beleiver is ‘I don’t know you’

About the same as women (or men) who sinned otherwise. Their getting into Heaven or Hell is is not a function of them sinning, it is a function of their acceptance of God. Arguably sinning could help determine your place in Heaven or Hell, and we have that one technicality of the unpardonable sin in the Bible.

It certainly is. I believe Jesus is rather disappointed in you.

I believe that if there is an afterlife, your destination there depends on the sum total of the life you lived. Everyone ‘sins’. But I think that if you lived a good life, and helped more people than you hurt, you’re square with the big guy.

I can’t fathom this thinking. God’s throwing a velvet rope party, and the bouncers are only letting in the people who brought appropriate tribute? Your God’s kind of petty.

Serious question here: What do you consider Heaven to be, if not the ultimate velvet rope party? It’s not exclusive in that you have to be any tribe of person, or anything like that - but why would a Diety be welcoming a non-believer into its afterlife?