Until it can be examined in terms of ELCA policy, the Board of Pensions won't pay any claims for RU-486, the FDA-approved abortion pill, says John Kapanke, board president. "We're looking to the Division for Church in Society for some guidance and clarity on the church's position," he explains. "[The ELCA social statement on abortion says] the person needs to go through moral deliberation on whether or not abortion is appropriate. The pill ... raises the question of whether this offers an opportunity for that deliberation."
"People facing abortion are urged to consult with others, and [RU-486] perhaps makes it less likely," agrees John Stumme, the division's director for studies. "The position of the social statement on abortion is that we have 'a strong Christian presumption to preserve and protect life.' The question is how does that position become important in looking at payment for this?" Churchwide Assembly resolutions allow payment for abortions up to 20 weeks.
The division, pension board and others will hold conversations about RU-486, Stumme says.
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