Reproductive Health Policies at Adventist Hospitals in Spotlight
3 February 2019 | Rewire.News has run an article dedicated to uncovering Adventist hospital policies on abortion, assisted suicide, alternative sexuality, sterilization and in vitro fertilization. The piece comes with the news that Adventist health care systems in the United States are opening up a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy office.
The publication states that it reports on issues related to “reproductive and sexual health, rights, and justice, and the intersections of racial, environmental, immigration, and economic justice.” It has written extensively about restrictions in Catholic health care.
The article says that the Adventist approach “opposes abortion, assisted suicide, and the ‘homosexual lifestyle,’ but approves of contraception, sterilization, and in vitro fertilization.”
“We believe in a creator who has given us choice, and that’s what overarches the approach that we take,” said Carlyle Walton, president of the Adventist Health Policy Association, in comments to Rewire.News. “We think that infringing, for want of a better term, on people’s choices is not something that God has called us to do.”
The publication noted that this open attitude does not extend to abortion and that Loma Linda University Health only performs abortions if, in the words of an LLU statement, “the fetus has a condition that is incompatible with life, or in a situation when the pregnancy is life-threatening to the mother.”
Walton said that the denomination’s opposition to same-sex marriage did not change how patients are treated and that the area of gender-affirming surgery was “still being processed within our various systems.”
The article published parts of a statement made by the General Conference offices of the denomination on “transgenderism.” It said that “the desire to change or live as a person of another gender may result in biblically inappropriate lifestyle choices,” and gave as examples “cross-dressing, sex reassignment surgery, and the desire to have a marital relationship with a person of the same biological sex.”
The publication also noted that Ben Carson, U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and “perhaps the country’s most famous Adventist” called trans people “abnormal.”
Walton told Rewire.News that he is interested in advocating for “human wholeness” and highlighted Adventist health care system’s approaches to homelessness, food insecurity, and lack of potable water as expressions of this focus.