Q. What is the church’s official position on intact dilation and extraction, also known as partial-birth abortion?
A. The church has no specific policy regarding partial-birth abortion. The official First Presidency statement on abortion does not contain any language differentiating between particular procedures. Nor does the more recent newsroom statement (which basically reiterates the original statement). (And in fact, the Newsroom statement, issued around the time that the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act was in the news, contains the further note that “the Church has not favored or opposed legislative proposals or public demonstrations concerning abortion.”)
The church policy on abortion limits abortion in general to a narrow set of cases. However, as far as I can determine, once a church member meets the requirements for abortion in general, there is no church policy or doctrine that would prevent that church member from using intact dilation and extraction as the method.
Q. What is the church’s policy on health exceptions for the mother?
A. Threats to a mother’s health are explicitly recognized as a valid ground for abortion, in both the First Presidency statement and in the newsroom reiteration.
The full text of The First Presidency statement is as follows:
The Church opposes abortion and counsels its members not to submit to or perform an abortion except in the rare cases where, in the opinion of competent medical counsel, the life or good health of the mother is seriously endangered or where the pregnancy was caused by rape and produces serious emotional trauma in the mother. Even then it should be done only after counseling with the local presiding priesthood authority and after receiving divine confirmation through prayer.
The full text of the Newsroom reiteration is as follows:
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes in the sanctity of human life. Therefore, the Church opposes elective abortion for personal or social convenience, and counsels its members not to submit to, perform, encourage, pay for, or arrange for such abortions.
The Church allows for possible exceptions for its members when:
• Pregnancy results from rape or incest, or
• A competent physician determines that the life or health of the mother is in serious jeopardy, or
• A competent physician determines that the fetus has severe defects that will not allow the baby to survive beyond birth.
The Church teaches its members that even these rare exceptions do not justify abortion automatically. Abortion is a most serious matter and should be considered only after the persons involved have consulted with their local church leaders and feel through personal prayer that their decision is correct.
The Church has not favored or opposed legislative proposals or public demonstrations concerning abortion.