A pro-life advocate who witnessed the death of her daughter is urging the international headquarters of the Salvation Army to update their abortion belief statement and remove exceptions for rape and sick fetuses.
Rebecca Kiessling, a national spokesperson for National Personhood USA, wants the Salvation Army to change some ambiguous statements in its international positional statement that appears to approve abortion in the event that a baby may die soon after it is born and if the child was conceived as a result of rape.
The exception hits close to home, Kiessling told The Christian Post, because she had a very sick baby who was close to death.
“Our second adopted daughter Cassie was born with a serious medical disorder and she did die in our arms at 33 days old,” Kiessling described.
Kiessling believes Cassie deserved to be born although she died as a newborn. Her belief stems from her own experience as someone who was “targeted in the womb” because she was conceived through rape.
Although Kiessling’s mother did attempt to have an illegal abortion, Kiessling was ultimately born and placed in an adoptive family.
She is distraught that the Salvation Army policy would allow for an exception for its pro-life stance.
“Under the Salvation Army’s guidelines in their official statement on abortion, they believe that if there is a prognosis that the child will die shortly after birth, then that would be an instance where abortion would be acceptable,” she said.
She believes that the policy “would have targeted my life and the life of my daughter.”
The Salvation Army, founded in 1852 by an English street preacher, is an international Christian ministry that serves the poor and hungry around the world.
As expressed on its international website, the group holds the belief that “human life is sacred and all people should be treated with dignity and respect.”
The organization also states that it does not “believe that genetic abnormalities that are identified in an unborn child who is likely to live longer than a brief period after birth are sufficient to warrant a termination of pregnancy.”
However, in the next paragraph of its position statement, the Salvation Army states that it “recognizes tragic and perplexing circumstances that require difficult decisions regarding a pregnancy” and “termination can occur only when carrying the pregnancy further seriously threatens the life of the mother; or reliable diagnostic procedures have identified a fetal abnormality considered incompatible with survival for more than a very brief post natal period.”
It continues, “In addition, rape and incest are brutal acts of dominance violating women physically and emotionally. This situation represents a special case for the consideration of termination as the violation may be compounded by the continuation of the pregnancy."
The revelation has caused a rift between the international headquarters and its American branch.
Jeff Stanger, development director of the Salvation Army’s Indiana Division told World Net Daily, “That statement is not the Salvation Army USA's position on abortion."
The Salvation Army USA’s position calls for compassion in the event of fetal illness and rape, but stops short of making an exception.
Major George Hood, chief communications officer for Salvation Army USA, told WND it has sent correspondence to the international headquarters objecting to the statement. The abortion statement is also featured on the agenda of the February commissioners’ conference for discussion.