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Abortion support among Orthodox politicians

Irish45

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Does the Orthodox Church allow Orthodox politicians to receive communion if they publicly support abortion?
 

Bizzlebin

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Does the Orthodox Church allow Orthodox politicians to receive communion if they publicly support abortion?
Generally, canons deal with actions, not beliefs. The exceptions are the canons that target heresy, which is dealt with via anathema (excommunication until recantation, vs deposition/excommunication until the next confession, a set number of years, etc). There is no canon directly dealing with the immaterial "support" of abortion (ie, it is not defined as a heresy, not by itself), so the simple answer is that they can commune.

But there are 2 "gotchas" that could possibly be triggered. First is canon A.84, which deposes/excommunicates those who insult rulers; if anyone (including another politician) is making unrelated ad hominems against a politician because of their stance on the issue of abortion, whether they're *for or against*, that person is canonically liable. Second is the issue of conception itself, because it is inextricably linked to the Incarnation: if anyone does not confess that an embryo is fully human—for Christ became fully human, even from Annunciation—then they're clearly a heretic.
 

RaphaCam

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Anything apart from excommunication by a bishop would require their conscience to be held accountable by a spiritual father, which isn't a spot people who actively support abortion tend to put themselves in. Unfortunately, there are two main issues related to how socially relevant some eparchies are: the danger of enticing polarisation and the unfortunate fact some bishops are actual moles.
 
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In the US anyway, most Orthodox politicians are GOA, so it doesn't matter anyway. @Bizzlebin , I would say voting in favor of any pro-abortion measure is an action that goes beyond mere partyline positions. Sure, they aren't in the abortionist's office with the forceps and vacuum, but they are voting to murder babies. Millstones around all their necks, I say.
 

RaphaCam

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The only way to justify a politician voting pro-choice without falling into the heretical view @Bizzlebin mentioned would be to put one's individual legal/political ideas of lawmaking ahead of the duty not to participate in murder.

St. Basil the Great, in his second canon, is unequivocal that abortion isn't just murder, but that it should be tried as murder, although with a more merciful sentence. St. Nicodemus the Hagiorite observes it's the same penance prescribed for involuntary manslaughter. Of course they're only talking about the penance of those working "with he forceps and vacuum", but the point is the Orthodox Church is clear that, although women who go through abortions shouldn't be treated like gangsters, they're still taking a human life.
 

Ainnir

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And if it's unavoidable? I realize it's a small percentage vs. elective abortion, but what does the Church typically do in that case?
 
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And if it's unavoidable? I realize it's a small percentage vs. elective abortion, but what does the Church typically do in that case?
I think the circumstances are taken into account. Just as sin isn't one-size-fits-all, neither is mercy and economia. It's a huge what-if, since the vast, vast majority of abortions are voluntary.
 

RaphaCam

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The majority of "unavoidable" abortions are misrepresented. Most doctors treat therapeutic abortions like knee replacements. Anyway, I'm just venting, no one can be blamed for trusting a doctor on degrees of life risk.
 

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Ectopic pregnancies?
 

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Ectopic pregnancies?
There are other cases, too, like when a patient being treated after a preterm rupture has signs of a severe infection. What matters most, however, is whether the patient was led to believe there was no reasonable choice. Judging from history, I don't think there could be any canons for that, and I don't know how it's done in practice... Mercifully, I hope.
 

Bizzlebin

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In the US anyway, most Orthodox politicians are GOA, so it doesn't matter anyway. @Bizzlebin , I would say voting in favor of any pro-abortion measure is an action that goes beyond mere partyline positions. Sure, they aren't in the abortionist's office with the forceps and vacuum, but they are voting to murder babies. Millstones around all their necks, I say.
There is a large difference between not stopping something and endorsing it, and another large difference between endorsing it and participating in it. Generally, the canons only deal with active participation. There is no canonical penalty against, say, someone who does not run around with a pitchfork trying to stop abortions, nor is there a penalty for believing that the position of a secular political body should be one way or another on the matter, even if that decision may indirectly result in an increase in deaths.
 

Bizzlebin

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And if it's unavoidable? I realize it's a small percentage vs. elective abortion, but what does the Church typically do in that case?
Ectopic pregnancies?
Actually, the very first canon from the very first Ecumenical Council can be used here. While it is immediately talking about male genitalia, its application extends to sins like tattooing and numerous other situations, too. In this case, the link is made between murder and external circumstance (and it acts as a corrective against the Cappadocians's writings about internal intents, such as in Ss Basil and Gregory, who get bogged down in questions over "voluntary" vs "involuntary" and who end up seemingly contradicting the Ecumenical Councils). That is, the same action can be either murder or self-defense based upon the external circumstances, and there is no guilt (not even *involuntary*, pushing back against the Cappadocians) in the case of self-defense, even if the action would otherwise be considered murder (and there weren't other alternatives). So, in the case of an embryo which is clearly attacking and harming the mother, a medical procedure to stop that assault is not only warranted, but carries not even a trace of guilt, canonical or otherwise—it remains a horrible tragedy, but one that canon law has nothing to say about.
 
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