Q: What does the book say about abortion? I read a passage but didn't understand it and there seemed to be no clear answer to me.
A: Thanks so much for writing to us with this question. I did a search for the word "abortion, " and I suspect that this is the passage you mean, as it is really the only one using that word. Let's have a look:
"Many races learned the technique of abortion, and this practice became very common after the establishment of the taboo on childbirth among the unmarried. It was long the custom for a maiden to kill her offspring, but among more civilized groups these illegitimate children became the wards of the girl’s mother. Many primitive clans were virtually exterminated by the practice of both abortion and infanticide. But regardless of the dictates of the mores, very few children were ever destroyed after having once been suckled—maternal affection is too strong." 68:6.9
I take this passage to mean that abortion has always been used by women throughout our evolution, from the earliest times. The reasons change, but the process is the same—the woman does not want her unborn child and she terminates her pregnancy. In the case of the primitive clan, the maiden is marked by her motherhood because she violated a taboo. And that social stigma, though not as strong now, has long been in place, and even today could be the reason for many abortions.
We can infer from the next sentence that abortion is a primitive and backward practice because the "more civilized" peoples adopted the infant to relatives. There are those today who encourage adoption of unwanted children, but it is not a universal practice, as abortion is still widely practiced.
We also see its destructive and primitive nature in the next sentence about clans being "virtually exterminated" by this practice. Taken to an extreme, the consequences of unbridled abortion are destructive indeed.
And then we see the effects of maternal affection which cannot be denied once the child begins to nurse at the mother's breast. Even if killing the unborn child or newly born is accepted by the "dictates of the mores, " once the mother has that experience, she will not be so eager to give it up.
"The mores" are commonly agreed-upon acceptable behaviors in any society. The primitive taboos and practices are part of the mores of those times. Today, we have taboos, but we don't necessarily call them that (for example—against incest); nonetheless, we have mores, just as the primitive societies did.
Some societies prohibit saying the name of God. In our society, it is very common. At one time in this country, abortion was against the law; abortion is now legal in this country, so it is one of the accepted "mores" for the time being, until women decide to reject it due to its backward and primitive nature. In my opinion, this will take an enlightened upsurge of spirituality, resulting in a renewed respect for life and for responsible sexual activity in general.
In a modern age such as ours, the issue of abortion has another aspect—that of a medically therapeutic nature. But this passage of The Urantia Book seems to me to deal with the issue of abortion only as birth control and in an evolutionary context.
So, even while there is no specific prohibition against abortion in The Urantia Book, I think you can see that it is not exactly encouraged, either.
I added a little bit of my own opinion in this reply...I hope you don't mind. I am sure that after you read carefully, you'll form your own opinions. Please feel free to write back anytime. We always love to hear from our visitors.