Like most other denominations in this country, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) remains on record as supporting a woman's access to legalized abortion. In a debate in which there is precious little room for common ground between two extremes, the country's largest Lutheran denomination voted overwhelmingly last week that in some cases abortion could be a morally responsible decision, even when it is not necessary in order to save the life of the mother.
In doing so, the church's assembly rejected a strict anti-abortion position, as well as a more liberal approach that would affirm freedom of conscience in regard to the issue. The Lutherans say they are trying to find a middle ground, and their approach reflects a great deal of sensitivity to both sides of the debate. But in the final analysis, their decision comes down on the side of Roe vs. Wade which, with its approach of allowing increasing restrictions as a pregnancy takes it course, in its own way affirms the Lutheran assertion that "a developing life in the womb does not have an absolute right to be born, nor does a pregnant woman have an absolute right to terminate a pregnancy."