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Church of Scientology response

Church spokesman Tommy Davis provided a general response in a six-page letter. Here are excerpts:

All Scientologists, staff and parishion­ers alike, are free to make the decision whether to have a family. This includes such personal matters as birth control and abortion, which the Church does not take a position on.

That said, the Church does not advocate abortion to church staff or parishioners. Anyone claiming to have done so on behalf of the Church, or alleging they did so in conformance with some alleged policy (written or "unwritten") is either lying or did so in contravention of the Church's view on the matter. At no time has any church staff member been "forced" to obtain an abortion. . . .

Individuals who join the Sea Org and later determine they want to have child­ren, may then leave the Sea Org. They receive assistance from the Church, including immediate prenatal care, medical care, financial assistance. . . .

Departure from the Sea Org in such circumstances does not mean that the individual is no longer a member of the Church. The individual simply carries on as a public Scientologist with whatever their chosen career may be. Once their children are grown or of age where they can choose to join the Sea Org themselves, the parents are welcome to return to the Sea Org.

This policy evolved out of respect for families and deference to children. . . . Many occupations are not conducive to raising families and organizations have evolved different solutions. Some religious orders forbid sex and marriage outright. The military disciplines couples who become pregnant in a combat zone. The Sea Org has developed a policy that is fair to the individuals concerned, as well as to the religious order as a whole. . . .

By the mid 1980s . . . experience was teaching that the long and demanding working hours required of Sea Org members and the need for Sea Org parents to be able to go to any remote area of the world on a moment's notice were obstacles to parents properly raising their children. Thus, a policy was implemented requiring that any Sea Org couples desiring to have children do so outside the Sea Org. . . .

It is evident that your sources are claiming that they made choices regarding their pregnancies which they now appear to regret, each with their own seemingly "electrifying account" of these incidents. There is no truth to the allegation that any of these people were forced to have abortions at any time or were made to make these decisions against their own volition. In fact, it is actually impossible to "force" someone to do what is alleged. . . .

The church will not comment on what your sources claim other women may or may not have told them about their own experiences. To do so would be an egregious violation of their rights to privacy, something we refuse to do. Your attempt to publicize the very personal and private choices of these women is offensive in the extreme but typical of the blind bias that guides the Times any time it reports on the Church of Scientology. . . .

Certain former members of the Sea Org, aware of false allegations such as these, voluntarily provided the enclosed declarations in order to set the record straight regarding their experiences in becoming pregnant and departing the Sea Org. . . . Contrary to the versions from your sources, these people uniformly state they were treated with compassion and understanding. . . .

Our humanitarian initiatives and social betterment programs continue to salvage people the world over in the fields of drug abuse prevention, literacy, criminal reform and disaster relief. This is our mission. Activities such as these are what members of the Sea Org have dedicated their lives to forwarding.

Church of Scientology response 06/12/10 [Last modified: Sunday, June 13, 2010 1:01am]

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