What do religiously-motivated abortion opponents believe happens to the soul of an aborted fetus?

I wasn’t sure what was the best forum for this question. I’m interested in getting a factual answer to the question, and I’m not interested in playing “Hah hah! Gotcha! Your position is logically inconsistent!” with anybody. But given the mix of abortion and religion in the question, it seems inevitable that a debate will break out if the thread gets any legs at all, and far be it from me to stifle discussion, though someone else will have to argue the pro-choice side.

Anyway: What do anti-abortion persons, specifically those who oppose abortion because they believe an fetus has an immaterial and immortal soul, believe happens to that soul when the fetus dies? It is any different than what happens to the soul of a miscarried or still-born fetus, in their view?

I was informed by my Sunday school teachers that the soul of an aborted fetus goes straight to hell to experience an eternity of writhing agony, since it had the misfortune of dying prior to receiving a proper baptism.

Note to Sunday school teachers: if you are looking for a way to make your students instantly dismiss what you are teaching as a bunch of nonsense, give the above argument a try.

How old are you, and how old WERE you when you were taught this?

Or, put differently and less nosily, when was this taught?

I’d also be interested in knowing the denomination.

Are you fucking kidding me? The idea that there are Sunday school teachers telling their kids this blows my mind.

Mine also. Except that I’ve heard far too many “stupid Sunday School teacher” accounts (never experienced any- I’ve fortunately had sensible ones), I’d be tempted to call B.S.

My own answer- I was taught their fate was the same as any child who died before the age of accountability- go directly to Jesus. But that doesn’t mean abortion is a good thing any more than it means killing little kids is a good thing. My background was Christian & Missionary Alliance Church and Assembly of God.

Btw, my own view is more nuanced- it may be they are resurrected as mortals during the Kingdom Age to experience human life & come to faith in Christ, or it may be as I was taught.

It doesn’t blow my mind. If you accept the premises (the doctirines of original sin, total depravity, eternal punishment in hell, and human ensoulment at the moment of conception), it’s unavoidable.

Please don’t take me as saying that all Christians believe this, by the way. FriarTed obviously doesn’t; and I think if anyone suggested this to the pastor of the church I volunteer at, she would suggest very strongly that he leave her office, and if the person objected, she’d add that this is exactly why she lets the large agnostic guy hang around.

Ted, is the Kingdom Age the 1,000 years of Christ’s dominion on a paradisical earth, during which Lucifer is confined to the Lake?

I’m 40. I learned all about hell being a place of real, physical torture going back as far as I can remember. Sunday school teachers didn’t talk about things like abortion until the kids were old enough to understand what that was, so that was probably more like tween/young teenager.

To be fair, I was never directly told “the soul of an aborted fetus goes straight to hell to experience an eternity of writhing agony”, I was taught the following things over the years:

  1. souls in hell experience an eternity of writhing agony

  2. souls of aborted fetuses go to hell

Lutheran, Wisconsin Synod.

As I mentioned above, I deduced the conclusion from being taught the following two things separately:

  1. souls in hell experience an eternity of writhing agony

  2. souls of aborted fetuses go to hell

Sprinkle liberally with doublethink and it doesn’t sound nearly as bad:rolleyes:.

I sure did.

I seem to recall some Catholic theologians suggesting that the concept of Limbo essentially represents an admission that the Church just doesn’t know (or doesn’t want to know) what happens to them.

Without commenting on my views about abortion, my personal thought is that there ought to be no problem with an exercise of God’s grace to grant a mulligan to the soul of an aborted, miscarried, or newly-born but unbaptized baby, and placing it into a new body to be born. Think of it as a Kiplingesque, “Do you think he would squander souls?” idea. But certainly I don’t believe that this idea has any theological support anywhere.

Yeah, perhaps I should have said “The Millenium” for clarity. However, I didn’t as I don’t have a great deal of certainty about it myeself. I think it will probably be as you described, but I’m not sure if it’s only a literal millenium rather than being longer, if it’s after Christ’s return (I have some post-mil sympathies), or if The Kingdom Age & Eternal Paradise Earth are actually the same (the a-mil position).

In Catholic schools during the 60s, we were taught that unbaptized babies went to Limbo-- which wasn’t all that bad, but it wasn’t Heaven. We didn’t talk about aborted fetuses, but I would presume the same. Being taught this was, btw, the beginning of the end of my religious beliefs (about 5th grade).

However, it is my understanding that The Church has recently revised its stance and declared Limbo to be “so yesterday”, and not part of current doctrine. I’m sure wikipedia has the low-down, if anyone is interested in looking it up.

To add to the crazy stuff your Sunday School teacher taught you… Mine told me that my parents were going to hell for getting a divorce. I stopped going after Confirmation so I couldn’t have been more than 11 or so. I was Catholic - was being the operative word there.

You’re partly right on the Limbo thing, although it was never an offcial teaching.
The Catechism says

***1261 *As regards children who have died without Baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them. Indeed, the great mercy of God who desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus’ tenderness toward children which caused him to say: “Let the children come to me, do not hinder them,” allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism. All the more urgent is the Church’s call not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy Baptism.

One issue: if God sends aborted fetus souls to heaven instead of hell, it creates some perverse incentives. Very few people are universalists; most sects I know of have the majority of people being sent to hell, if you take the doctrine at all seriously. If you believe in fetal salvation, by aborting as many fetuses as possible you’re doing a great deal of good, in that you’re preventing some proportion of the fetuses from being cast into eternal hellfire.

Particularly if you repent on your deathbed, you could theoretically save thousands of people from the hellfire. (Even if you don’t, surely it’s a bit selfish to condemn thousands of people to hell just to avoid yourself being cast there.)

I’m from the Jesus Loves You generation; the only time someone asking that question was able to get an answer other than Jesus Loves You, the exact question was “do they go to Hell?” and the nun (who was so no-nonsense that the word would run out of the dictionaries in the room when she entered) answered that no, you don’t go to Hell for original sin, only for your own.

My parents were told unborn babies went to Limbo (their own fluffy cloud in the sky), abortion wasn’t mentioned but it was understood that this meant all unborn babies. Mom once asked what would happen to a baby that had been born but not baptized, the answer was still Limbo.

That said, I’ve never met anybody who thinks the problem is with the baby’s immortal soul getting damaged by the abortion. The baby’s body, most definitely; the mother’s soul and the souls of other people involved, yes. But not the baby’s soul.

In the sense that it makes one think, “Okay. If God sends aborted fetuses to Hellfire, Lucifer was pretty clearly in the right in that whole War in Heaven thing.”

Well, I believe that God is merciful and just, and that no one who ends up in Hell will be able to say they got a raw deal. So my sense of mercy and justice makes me lean toward the idea that aborted babies (or any babies who die before baptism) will end up in heaven. My views are pretty close to the Catholic Church’s official teaching quoted above, although I think I am a little more confident in the babies’ salvation than that teaching expresses.

Maybe this is for another thread, but I’ve always thought it didn’t make sense to believe that a human action can force God to damn someone else.