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ANON - What would happen in this situation? A girl grows up LDS following her faith strongly. Until she makes some wrong decisions, and becomes pregnant. She, at around 3 weeks pregnant, takes specific medications that would end the pregnancy. If she were to voluntarily confess this to her bishop soon after, what most likely would be her consequences? Would she be excommunicated?

JOEL - Abortion is a serious sin however according to the Church Handbook:

"As far as has been revealed, a person may repent and be forgiven for the sin of abortion".

Excommunication is not always the result, however the Church Handbook also states:

"The Church opposes elective abortion for personal or social convenience. Members must not submit to, perform, encourage, pay for, or arrange for an abortion. Formal Church discipline may be necessary for members, who submit to, perform, encourage, pay for, or arrange for abortions."

For really specific answers that address this particular case, one must speak to their Bishop, who has been set apart with the power of discernment and inspiration that is needed for the members of his own ward. Each case is going to have its own unique set of details and circumstances that would be needed in answering such questions. A one on one conversation with the bishop would give him the opportunity to determine the member's sincerity and level of remorse for having committed the sin.

Generally speaking there are a few guidelines that are followed in determining the type of discipline that would be applied to such cases - the age and maturity of the member; their level of church activity; whether or not they have been endowed and/or sealed in the temple; their leadership position in the church; how remorseful they are for having committed the sin; voluntary confession for the sin; and their willingness to follow counsel to repent and obtain forgiveness so they can regain full fellowship in the church.

A conversation with the Bishop would determine whether or not formal church discipline is necessary. A young, unmarried, unendowed, church active girl who voluntarily confesses, would proabably not be excommunicated. Other possible outcomes are informal probation, formal probation, or disfellowshipment; all of which allow the member to maintain their membership with some restrictions for a period of time. Which one is applied depends on the judgment of the Bishop.

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