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Scientology and abortion

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Scientology and abortion

The intersection of Scientology and abortion has a controversial history which began with Scientology founder

A female former member of Scientology's elite organization called the

In commentary on Scientology and practices in the Sea Org, new religions scholar

L. Ron Hubbard's views

"The child on whom the abortion is attempted is condemned to live with murderers..."

Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard wrote in Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health that abortion and attempts at abortion could cause trauma to the fetus and to the mother in both spiritual and physical ways.[2] The St. Petersburg Times reported on how Hubbard's views from Dianetics affect Scientology practitioners, "Abortion is therefore rare among Scientologists, recognizing that even the fetus may have already been occupied by a spiritual being. In some instances, abortion might be chosen of health concerns of the mother or other personal factors."[2] Hubbard asserted, "It is a scientific fact that abortion attempts are the most important factor in aberration", and stated "Attempted abortion is very common. ... Twenty or thirty abortion attempts are not uncommon in the aberree."[3] He believed that attempted abortions led to ulcers.[3]

Hubbard wrote in Dianetics, "The child on whom the abortion is attempted is condemned to live with murderers whom he reactively knows to be murderers through all this weak and helpless youth!".[1] He asserted:

A large proportion of allegedly feeble-minded children are actually attempted abortion cases, whose engrams place them in fear paralysis or regressive palsy and which command them not to grow but to be where they are forever. However many billions America spends yearly on institutions for the insane and jails for the criminals are spent primarily because of attempted abortions done by some sex-blocked mother to whom children are a curse, not a blessing of God.[1][4]

In a 1950 article in Look magazine, Albert Q. Maisel wrote, "Unlike many religious groups, the proponents of dianetics have nothing against birth control. But the greatest of all crimes and the root of most evils, as they see it, is the attempt - or even just the verbal wish - to cause the abortion of a child already conceived. They object here, not so much on moral grounds, as because such attempts - or such wishes and thoughts - load down the time track with the basic-basic demon engram."[5][6]

In his 1951 book Science of Survival, Hubbard wrote that a mother who reached a status of 1.1 ("Covert hostility") on the "tone scale" listed in the book would "attempt the abortion of her child", and that any woman who attempted an abortion would occupy this level or below.[7] Such a woman, he wrote, "can be expected to be unreliable, inconstant and promiscuous; and the child is looked upon as evidence of this promiscuity."[7]

According to The World's Religions: The Study of Religion, Traditional and New Religion, "early Dianetics enthusiasts believed that attempted abortion of the fetus by its mother caused "traumatic experiences in intra-uterine life".[8] Stephen J. Hunt noted in Alternative Religions that Scientologists believe certain events in one's life may trigger a memory referred to in Scientology as an "engram".[9] Hunt wrote, "The engram may be triggered by association of events and objects. Although the conscious mind will eventually forget an incident, the reactive mind stores every detail. According to Hubbard, some of the most powerful engrams are constructed while still in the womb. The unborn child hears the angry words of parents caught up in marital disputes or perhaps talk of abortion.[9]

Scientology practice

Auditing

In the Scientology technique called [10] Scientologists on the spiritual pathway known as "The Bridge to Total Freedom" are given security checks, and those of the level called Operating Thetan receive these checks once every six months.[10] Scientology officials explained that the security checks are given "to make sure they're using the tech correctly".[10] Among the sexual questions asked in the Scientology security checks include, "Have you ever practiced sex with animals?", "Have you ever practiced sodomy?", "Have you ever slept with a member of a race of another color?", and "Have you ever been involved in an abortion?".[10][11]

Sea Org

In a 1987 interview with [12] "On the ship, I know of a lot of people that [sic: who] had abortions, because they didn't want to leave the ship. It wasn't like anybody said 'You have got to get an abortion.' It was more an implied thing. If you don't you're going to leave," said the woman to Kent.[12]

According to Brian Kelly, [13]

Mary Tabayoyon joined Scientology in 1967 and became a member of the Sea Org in 1971, later leaving Scientology in 1992.[12] Tabayoyon filed a legal declaration on August 26, 1994 in the case Church of Scientology International vs. Steven Fishman and Uwe Geertz, describing Scientology's practices on having children in the Sea Org.[5][12] Tabayoyon wrote that a Sea Org order issued September 26, 1986 stated that having children while in the elite division of Scientology was forbidden.[5] She said that while at Scientology's base in [12]

In 1999, former Scientologist Jesse Prince told affidavit filed in a legal case in Colorado.[14] Scientology representatives at the time asserted that Prince's wife chose of her own volition to have an abortion, and was not forced to do so.[14] Prince said that his wife was never the same after her abortion, and decided she wanted to leave Scientology.[14] The couple left Scientology in 1992.[14] Golden Era Productions general manager Ken Hoden told The Press-Enterprise that per Scientology policy, employees are not allowed to work at the Gilman Hot Springs facility if they have children under six years of age because the difficult work schedule would not permit the parents to spend sufficient time with their children.[14] "We don't think it's right for parents to spend time away from their kids. Every person that says they have been coerced are saying it for another reason. Nobody is coerced into doing anything in the Church of Scientology. The purpose of Scientology is to increase a person's self-determinism," said Hoden.[14] The director of public affairs for the Church of Scientology International, Aron Mason, said Prince's statements were motivated by financial reasons, and stated to The Press-Enterprise, "He is only existing because he gets paid to say the party line for people who are anti-Scientologists."[14]

Betty Hardin, a former worker in the finance department at Golden Era Productions, has described routinely driving pregnant women to the Planned Parenthood center in Riverside, California to obtain abortions and follow-up treatment.[15] According to Hardin, she eventually got out of being the driver for the "abortion run" because the anti-abortion activists who often picketed the Planned Parenthood center saw her so often that they came to recognize her.[15]

Tera Hathaway filed an affidavit in 2001 which stated, "[The Executive Director] had gone on to say that at this point in my life it is better to do the greatest good for all. That spending my life ‘clearing the planet’ which means basically to get the planet saved from insanity, would be the greatest good, in other words, a far more noble endeavor than leaving staff to raise a child. She went on to tell me that the spirit doesn't enter the baby's body until the baby is born. She made the point that all I would be ‘killing’ is a piece of meat essentially. We discussed this for a couple of days and she showed me definitions in the L. Ron Hubbard Technical Dictionary to persuade me to have an abortion."[5]

A protester holds a sign which reads: "C[hurch] o[f] S[cientology] forces its female members to get abortions" (February 10, 2008)

In 2001, former Scientologist [16]

In 2003, [20][21]

In April 2008, Astra Woodcraft appeared on the [22][23]

Former Scientologist and actor [25]

In 2009, husband and wife Marc and Claire Headley filed lawsuits against Scientology's Golden Era Productions, asserting the organization participated in [26]

Laura Ann DeCrescenzo filed a lawsuit in 2009 against Scientology, in which she asserted the organization had engaged in "human trafficking, obstructing justice, employment violations, discrimination and violation of privacy".[27] "There are two very different versions of Scientology. There is the Scientology as presented to the outside world and there is a different Scientology in which plaintiff lived and worked for approximately 13 years. In the Scientology world plaintiff experienced, 12-year-old children are taken from their homes, asked to sign employment contracts and put to work. Pregnant women are coerced to have abortions," wrote DeCrescenzo in her complaint.[27] She asserted in the complaint that while in Scientology she was "coerced to have an abortion".[27] The complaint stated, "At age 12, plaintiff signed her first 'Contract of Employment.' She left school, home and family to work for the Church of Scientology International. This required that plaintiff move to another state. She was married to a co-worker at age 16, became pregnant while still a minor and was coerced by CSI to have an abortion at age 17."[27]

In March 2009, [30]

[33] "Aaron says women who fell pregnant were taken to offices and bullied to have an abortion. If they refused, they faced demotion and hard labour. Aaron says one staff member used a coat hanger and self-aborted her child for fear of punishment," said Senator Xenophon.[34] Carmel Underwood, another former Scientologist, said she had been put under "extreme pressure" to have an abortion,[35] and that she was placed into a "disappearing programme", after refusing.[36] Underwood was the executive director of Scientology's branch in Sydney, Australia.[34]

Former Scientologists Anna and Dean Detheridge of Sydney had been Scientology staffers for 17 years, and according to Senator Xenophon they had been "subjected to physical and mental abuse during their time with the organisation".[34] The Senator said that, "Anna and Dean also provided evidence where information they and others have revealed to the church have been used to blackmail and control. They also provided more information about coerced abortions."[34] Mike Ferriss, the head of Scientology in [38] and her boyfriend's Scientology supervisors "coerced them into terminating the pregnancy".[39] "We fought for a week, I was devastated, I felt abused, I was lost and eventually I gave in. It was my baby, my body and my choice, and all of that was taken away from me by Scientology," said Lang.[39] Lang explained why she chose this time to come forward, "I'm speaking out today because the time has come for victims of Scientology to be heard."[40] Scientology spokesperson Virginia Stewart rejected the statements made by Janette Lang, and asserted, "The Church of Scientology considers the family unit and children to be of the utmost importance and does not condone nor force anyone to undertake any medical procedure whatsoever."[41]

Commentary

In his book Scientology: The Now Religion that "Hubbard's extensive discussion of things sexual, his concern with abortions, beatings, coitus under duress, flatulence which causes pressure on the foetus, certain cloacal references, all suggest to me a fascination which borders on the obsessive, as if he possessed a deep-seated hatred of women. All of them are being beaten, most of them prove to be unfaithful, few babies are wanted."[3][4] Hubbard's interest in abortions was criticized in the 1965 Anderson Report as "a morbid preoccupation with matters relating to abnormal behaviour of women" and "a prurient and distinctly unhealthy attachment to abortions, rape, perversion, and similar matters."[42]

"Children take people off-line, so they discourage members of the Sea Org from having children."

New religions scholar [43]

In an article in the [12]

In a 1998 speech, attorney and Scientology critic Graham E. Berry commented on Mary Tabayoyan's affidavit about Scientology and abortion, "Mary Tabayoyan has testified as to how she and other Scientologists were ordered to have abortions; and I have argued before a court that that constitutes instructions to commit murder. At the very least, it denies a woman freedom of choice with regard to abortion. And why does Scientology do this? Because children require "Family Time" and "Family Time" interferes with production; the production of things that produce money."[44] In a May 2009 speech before the cult monitoring organization FECRIS, Berry cited "forced abortions" among what he referred to as "Scientology’s many secular abuses and crimes".[45] In a 2009 article in Catholic Online, associate editor and former Archbishop of the Charismatic Episcopal Church, Randy Sly, pointed out what he saw as a contradiction between Scientology's stated pro-life stance on abortion, with its reported practices.[5] "Those who were pregnant were counseled to seek abortions, even though Scientology publicly affirmed a pro-life position," wrote Sly.[5]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c  
  2. ^ a b Times Staff Writer (July 18, 2004). "Scientology's town: About Scientology".  
  3. ^ a b c d e Atack, Jon (1999).  
  4. ^ a b Malko, George (1970).  
  5. ^ a b c d e f Sly, Randy (November 10, 2009). "Scientology Religious ‘Order’ called ‘Sea Orgs’ Forced Abortions on Members". Catholic Online (www.catholic.org). Retrieved 2009-11-10. 
  6. ^ Maisel, Albert Q. (December 5, 1950). "Dianetics: Science or Hoax? Half a million laymen have swallowed this poor man's psychiatry. Now they're set to try it on others.". Look Magazine. 
  7. ^ a b  
  8. ^ Clarke, Peter (1991). The World's Religions: The Study of Religion, Traditional and New Religion. Routledge. p. 158.  
  9. ^ a b Hunt, Stephen J. (2003). Alternative Religions: A Sociological Introduction. Ashgate Publishing. pp. 194–195.  
  10. ^ a b c d e Reitman, Janet (February 23, 2006). "Inside Scientology: Unlocking the complex code of America's most mysterious religion".  
  11. ^ Kick, Russell (2003). Abuse Your Illusions. The Disinformation Company. p. 335.  
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m  
  13. ^ a b Kelly, Brian (November 10, 2009). "The Even Darker World of Scientology". Catholicism.org (Saint Benedict Center,  
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h Thurston, Susan (January 31, 1999). "Ex-church member fights for right to speak out Scientology officials deny claim his wife was ordered to have abortion".  
  15. ^ a b Voltz, Tom (1995). Scientology und (k)ein Ende. Walter. p. 170.  
  16. ^ a b c d e f Lattin, Don (February 12, 2001). "Leaving the Fold - Third-generation Scientologist grows disillusioned with faith".  
  17. ^ Los Angeles Times staff (February 29, 2008). "Kids against Scientology". Web Scout ( 
  18. ^ The Times of India staff (July 17, 2003). "Tom Cruise and the Church of Scientology".  
  19. ^ New York Post staff (June 29, 2005). "Abort-Happy Folks".  
  20. ^ a b c MSNBC staff (January 15, 2008). "Exclusive: 'Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography' - Read an excerpt from Andrew Morton’s controversial new book".  
  21. ^ a b c  
  22. ^ a b c d e Moran, Terry; Lisa Fletcher (April 24, 2008). "ABC News Transcript - Nightline Special Report; Scientology".  
  23. ^ a b c d e Fletcher, Lisa; Ethan Nelson; Maggie Burbank (April 24, 2008). "'"Ex-Scientology Kids Share Their Stories: Former Scientologists, Including Church Leader's Niece, Share Stories With 'Nightline.  
  24. ^ Beghe, Jason (September 4, 2008). "Jason Beghe speech at That is Scientology! Reports from the USA". That is Scientology! Reports from the USA (Department of Interior Affairs, Germany). 
  25. ^ a b Headley, Marc (September 4, 2008). "Marc Headley speech at That is Scientology! Reports from the USA". That is Scientology! Reports from the USA (Department of Interior Affairs, Germany). 
  26. ^ a b c d e Perrault, Michael (March 26, 2009). "Suit alleges wing of Church of Scientology violated labor laws".  
  27. ^ a b c d Courthouse News Service staff (April 3, 2009). "Scientology Accused of Human Trafficking".  
  28. ^ a b Baca, Nathan (March 31, 2009). "Former Scientologist Recounts 'Torturous' Past Inside the Church".  
  29. ^ a b c Baca, Nathan (April 1, 2009). "Former Scientologists Claim Coerced Abortions, Child Labor Inside Church".  
  30. ^ Sterling, Bruce (June 15, 2009). "The Sea Arrrgh shivers the timbers of Scientology".  
  31. ^ a b c Tedmanson, Sophie (November 19, 2009). "Church of Scientology accused of torture and forced abortions".  
  32. ^  
  33. ^ Collins, Pádraig (November 19, 2009). "Scientology faces allegations of abuse and covering up deaths in Australia".  
  34. ^ a b c d O'Loughlin, Toni (November 18, 2009). "Scientology faces allegations of torture in Australia: Australian prime minister considers inquiry after senator tables allegations including forced abortions, assault and blackmail".  
  35. ^ Saulwick, Jacob (November 18, 2009). "Pressure mounts for Scientology inquiry".  
  36. ^ Ansley, Greg (November 19, 2009). "Church attacked for 'criminal' activities".  
  37. ^ 3 News staff (November 26, 2009). "Kiwi blows the whistle on Scientology". 3 News (www.3news.co.nz). Retrieved 2009-11-26. 
  38. ^ "Scientologists forced me to have two abortions". Herald Sun (www.heraldsun.com.au). March 17, 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-17. 
  39. ^ a b  
  40. ^ "Scientologists pressured me to have abortions".  
  41. ^  
  42. ^  
  43. ^ a b c d Davis, Derek; Barry Hankins (2003). New Religious Movements and Religious Liberty in America. Baylor University Press. pp. 53, 191.  
  44. ^ Berry, Graham E. (March 30, 1998). "The Dark Side of Scientology". Phoenix Television, Hamburg, Germany. 
  45. ^ Berry, Graham E. (May 15, 2009). "Why the United States must investigate the crimes, abuses and frauds of the Scientology enterprise".  

Further reading

External links

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