Retired pastor Russ Tarver sat surrounded by signs that ask for the repeal of Referred Law Six. It’s a message that you probably wouldn't associate with a Christian leader's view on abortion. But he says he feels voting against the ban on nearly all abortions in South Dakota is the more Christian thing to do. Tarver explains, “To say that some of the legislators were stunned or surprised to get a letter saying hey there's another position that's more Christian would be an understatement. They absolutely thought there was only one position."
Tarver is co-chair of the Campaign for Healthy Families and a former leader in the Methodist church. He says, “The life of the unborn child is sacred and so therefore we hesitate to support abortion, but the life of the mother's also sacred so we are open to abortion."
But Tarver says he can't support the abortion ban as it's been proposed, because its too restrictive. Tarver explains, “There's a violent act in that original rape or incest, but there's a second act of violence in requiring her to carry the child to full term, remembering each day the horrific act that caused it."
Tarver says he believes many other mainstream protestant faiths share a similar view...that passing a ban that doesn't account for these special circumstances isn't in line in with their faith. And as Election Day draws closer, Tarver also wants to remind people that voting on the abortion ban is ultimately a personal decision. He says, “The bottom line is we encourage and they encourage their people to vote their conscious whether or not they agree with their denomination's position or not."
Several mainstream protestant churches have publicly stated their stance on abortion. Although the churches aren't in favor of abortion, they are opposed to Referred Law Six because they say its too strict...only allowing an abortion if the mother's life is in danger.