When the bodiless learned of the secret command,
he came in haste to Joseph’s house
and said to her who knew not wedlock:
He who bowed the heavens by coming down
is contained wholly and unchanged in you.
Seeing him take the form of a servant in your womb,
I stand in awe and cry out to You:
Rejoice, O Bride unwedded.
Apolytikion from the Akathist Hymn and Small Compline
Orthodox, it is assumed, do not accept abortion. It is a grievous sin, we read. Here and there among Orthodox there are pro-life groups actively promoting the protection of unborn children. (See, for example, the Orthodox Christians for Life Web site, www.oclife.org, for an excellent pamphlet on the Orthodox tradition and life issues.) Yet for some, perhaps, the Orthodox view of abortion is simply a religious inheritance with little connection to the world in which they live. When some Orthodox speak of human rights, too, they may have in mind only less controversial confl icts in the West (a free Tibet, perhaps), but overlook this most basic right – the right to life – as a preoccupation of some Protestants.
It is worthwhile, then, to look at some of these questions and issues afresh. If we have made some accommodations to the ways of the world, our thinking may be changed. If in future we hear some smooth “pro-choice” arguments or assumptions, we may learn how to answer them, even if only in our own minds. And if we meet a woman who is considering an abortion, we may be emboldened to speak up, and, by God’s grace, to save a life, and to save a woman from that grief-filled sin.