Yale Divinity School Dean Publishes Troubling Statement on Abortion

Below I quote word for word and in full a public statement by Gregory E. Sterling, Dean of Yale Divinity School decrying the United States Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade. “ I do not discuss purely political and legal matters on this blog. However this statement ventures into theology and morality, which are subjects I care about deeply and transcend political divides.  Near the end of the Statement, Sterling makes two assertions that I find troubling:

“There is no biblical basis for the ban on abortion.”


The Bible “distinguishes between a fetus and a human being.”

Today I will post the Yale statement for you to read and ponder. In a day or two I will post my reply. I’ve inserted a hyperlink (if it works!) that will take you to the original statement posted on the Divinity School webpage.

The Statement reads as follows:

Statement by Dean Sterling on today’s Supreme Court decision


Yale Divinity School Dean made the following statement today.

Today the Supreme Court overturned five decades of federal protection for abortion that sprang from the Roe v. Wade decision. The Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision returns the issue to states, which undoubtedly will come to reflect the political divide of our country.

The decision culminates a decades-long effort by those who identify as pro-life. But is this decision pro-life or pro a particular ideology? Will those who lobbied for it now lobby for expanded medical support for the women who carry babies to term? Will they lobby for benefits for the unwanted children who are born? Will they lobby for the support of poor people who will not be able to care for additional children? To be pro-life means far more than to oppose abortion.

There are millions of American women who feel violated by today’s decision. They understand that this is not only a decision about abortion, but about women’s rights. The decision is a step backward for human rights. Does it portend the reversal of other rights—as some have already suggested? Is the elimination or suppression of individual freedoms pro-life?

The pro-life stance is often linked to Christianity and there are many people who are genuine in their faith who will support the Supreme Court’s decision, including members of the YDS community. It is, however, a more complex issue than some acknowledge. There is no biblical basis for the ban on abortion. The only text that deals directly with a fetus is Exodus 21:22–25, and it makes a distinction between the penalty levied on someone who causes a pregnant woman to miscarry versus an injury to the woman herself. The former results in a fine; the latter in the lex talionis (an eye for an eye etc.). In other words, it distinguishes between a fetus and a human being. Simplistic appeals to the biblical traditions are just that, simplistic. Christianity is supportive of human life, but we must work through our traditions with care. It is not at all clear that today’s decision reflects a text like Exodus 21:22–25.

This decision will not heal our country. It will only exacerbate the divide that already exists. May we find ways to promote life, not political agendas. May we find ways to discuss our differences, not build higher walls.

End of YDS statement.

Next Time: Please read my detailed analysis and critique of the YDS statement to be posted soon.

1 thought on “Yale Divinity School Dean Publishes Troubling Statement on Abortion

  1. Charles A Hanson

    Who hasn’t read that? I see no new revelation in his transcript. My first thought is he would not have been on the ark. The Lord gave me a dream about five years ago or so. He put in my heart that the abortion bill was going to be overturned. I had no doubts that it was to happen and so today we have the outcome. I wrote to the supreme court Justice twice in the past five years and told them what I am telling you. I never gave it a thought that it would not be overturned.



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