MINUTE, proposed in 1990 by a Committee with a Concern for Reproductive Issues, and adopted by Illinois Yearly Meeting as its own Minute, 7-24-1992.

The basic Quaker belief of "that of God in every person" demonstrates the great reverence Friends have for life. The issue of abortion presents us with a very painful dilemma as we weigh our respect for the rights of each woman's individual leadings and her bodily privacy against the loss of a potential life.

Members of the Committee with a Concern for Reproductive Issues are united in caring about the clearness of each woman considering this decision. Recognizing the gravity of the situation, we urge Friends to hold each other in the Light without being judgmental.

We know that it's not always easy to honor convictions other than our own, but we would remind Friends that one person's honest and carefully sought leading may not be another's. We urge Friends to give aid and succor to women in need, whether this aid be spiritual or temporal. We ask of women that they open their hearts freely to the leadings of the Light. We ask of the Society that they accept the varied leadings of women who come to them for help.

Neither abortion nor pregnancy should be compulsory nor illegal. A pregnant woman forced by legal or economic means to act against her own leadings is an abused woman. We hold that it is morally wrong for the federal or state governments to take upon themselves the power of compelling women to complete or terminate pregnancy, whether such coercion be done by legal or economic means.

We pledge our support for a society which raises its children to cherish themselves and those around them. We pledge our support for a society in which women and children are valued as much as men. We pledge our support for a society in which at least as much time and money is spent over the quality of life as is now devoted to the means of destruction and war.

(Contributed by David Finke.)

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