On 13 June 2010, the St Petersburg Times published an important article about Scientology and abortion, based on an interview with Tommy Davis, the official spokesman for the cult.
The background was the disclosure by SPT that female members of the Sea Org who became pregnant faced compulsory or, at least, coerced abortion; that otherwise they were banished from the organization. The Church responded in its usual way, by denying everything.
The SPT article began by stating that the Church of Scientology does not have an official position on abortion. However, the subject comes up in the writings of church founder L. Ron Hubbard, which the church regards as sacred scripture.
Hubbard taught that Scientology counseling – known as auditing – a process invented by Hubbard himself – seeks to rid the mind of mental images or engrams created during painful moments in one’s past — including previous lifetimes and time spent in the womb. In this context, Hubbard expressed concern about the care of the prenatal child and how the emotional traumas of attempted abortion can cause problems after it is born. He recommended the “Silent Birth” for the same spurious purpose.
In Dianetics he wrote:
“… that man or woman who would attempt an abortion on an unborn child is attempting a murder which will seldom succeed and is laying the foundation of a childhood of illness and heartache. … Anyone attempting an abortion is committing an act against the whole society and the future; any judge or doctor recommending an abortion should be instantly deprived of position and practice, whatever his ‘reason.'” One should listen carefully to Mr Hubbard when he waxes pious.
In a very different mood, but not far removed in time, in the late 1940s Hubbard wrote a private diary or confession, since called his Admissions. It mainly concerns his sexual, physical and mental problems and insecurities and uses a kind of self-hypnosis to talk himself up. In an entry covering events in 942 he details an affair with a promiscuous girl whom he calls Ginger and a subsequent attack of gonorrhea (which he cannot spell) which caused a row with his wife, Polly. “My wife disliked the act anyway, I believe, even after she had a hysterectomy in 1938. (She was always terrified of childbirth but conceived despite all precautions seven times in five years resulting in five abortions and two children. I am quite fond of my children but my wife always tried to convince me that I hated them.)”
His eldest son, Ron DeWolf (born 1934), reports as one of his earliest memories his father attempting to abort his mother with a coat-hanger. It went disastrously wrong and was probably the reason for her hysterectomy in or about 1938. Her other child was Katherine May Hubbard, born 1936.
Hubbard also preached that “a woman who is pregnant should be given every consideration by a society which has any feeling for its future generations.” His first two wives (and his eldest son as spectator) reported gross domestic violence. Hubbard’s psychopathic tendencies and innate violence are reflected in his description of prenatal engrams in Dianetics.
Thetans and Conception Scientologists believe that man is more than a mind and a body, he is a spiritual being called a thetan, for the Greek letter theta, for “thought” (thetan rhymes with Satan). That being occupies an endless series of bodies. That’s why Scientologists say someone who dies has “dropped his body.”
This is the background to the article published by the St Petersburg Times (SPT). It is based on an interview with a Scientology spokesman (SS), one extract of which are quoted below with author’s remarks (AR).
SPT: When does the thetan enter the body? At conception?
SS: “There is research in Dianetics suggesting that as a fetus grows, perceptions are recorded, beginning the moment of conception and continuing throughout the pregnancy… L. Ron Hubbard observed that in most cases the spiritual being takes over the body just prior to birth.”
AR: There is of course no way in the world that Hubbard could have made this very convenient observation. There is no research in Dianetics; from several sources we know that Hubbard wrote it out of his head, as he previously wrote novels and short stories.
Several Scientology women who became pregnant while on staff reported to the SP Times that their supervisors cited the same argument to persuade them to abort their pregnancies: “What is the greatest good for the greatest number of dynamics?”
Hubbard defined eight “dynamics of existence”. Each is an “urge” that propels a person through life. (1) is the urge for self preservation, (2) is the urge to have a sexual partner and create a family, (3) is to be part of a group. The remaining dynamics place the urge to survive in progressively larger contexts, as part of (4) the human race, (5) all life forms, (6) the physical universe, (7) the spiritual world, and (8) infinity.
When addressing a problem, Scientologists are to find the best solution for the greatest number of dynamics — even if something must be destroyed for the greater good. This again allows present real damage in the name of imaginary future benefit. It is an evil logic. It justified the abortion of any Sea Org baby as this would hold back the work to clear the planet. It was possible for a pregnant woman in Scientology’s workforce, the Sea Org, to keep her baby, but under rules drafted in 1986 and repeated in 1991 (and still in force) she would have to leave the group to which she had dedicated not only her present life but a billion years of her future. Or she could get an abortion and stay on post.
“What to do? Apply the dynamics!” Starting a family would be good for the first and second dynamics. Getting an abortion would allow her to get back to saving the planet and satisfy the third. Several women reported that their supervisors said the church’s well-being was what mattered above all else, across all the dynamics, suggesting abortion was the way to go.
Scientology spokesman Tommy Davis lied when he said there was no pressure on women to have abortions, and he disputed the women’s accounts concerning how dynamics were to be applied. “There is no church policy to convince anyone to have an abortion, and the church has never engaged in such activity. The decision to have a child or terminate a pregnancy is a personal decision made by a couple. That applies to all Scientologists. If any current or former Sea Org member ever ‘pressured’ someone to have an abortion, they did so independently, and that action was not approved, endorsed or advocated by the church,” stated Davis to the St. Petersburg Times. Weasel words.
But the official order covering this matter starts with a quotation by Hubbard: “We handle the first (self) and the second (sex and family) only to achieve better function on the third and fourth.”
According to Marty Rathbun, this policy was created in 1986, the year of Hubbard’s death. Hubbard and his third wife, Mary Sue, had three surviving children, Diana, Suzette, and Arthur. Quentin had killed himself (or was abducted and murdered) in 1976, but the other children and Mary Sue were very much involved in Scientology. They had been involved with Hubbard in the evolution of the cult; they were his legal heirs, and David Miscavige and his supporters saw correctly that they represented a threat to his takeover. DM tackled this threat with his customary efficiency.
Suzette had married Guy White on March 8th 1986 and immediately became pregnant. She was ordered to the International base by Miscavige. Guy White, who was already at the base, was assigned to the RPF, the prison or punishment camp at Happy Valley in the summer of the same year. Already there were other members of the Hubbard clan: his brother-in-law, Arthur Hubbard, and Jon Horwich, Diana Hubbard’s husband and father of their daughter Roanne. According to Marty, Miscavige was prompted by Suzette’s pregnancy to issue a Flag Order to all Sea Org members, stating that no babies can be born to SO Members. Regardless of the ultimatum, Tyson Hubbard White was born on 9 December 1986. David Miscavige then assigned both his parents to menial work.
The rule against children in the Sea Org was reissued on 3 April 1991 as Flag Order 3905-1 under the name of Captain Guillaume Lesevre, ED Int. It was headed: “Childre, Sea Org Members and Sea Org Orgs – Addition”. It again spells out in painful and laborious detail the consequences to any Sea Org couple who “have new children”. They are to be banished into virtual slavery and at age 6 their children were, in any event, to be taken away from them and dumped in the Cadet Org, a kind of holding camp for young children. Read this before you decide whether or not Scientology put undue pressure on Sea Org women to have abortions. The full text will be found at
The order starts by reminding Sea Org members that their is the only group which has taken responsibility to clear the planet. This huge task requires complete dedication and determination from Sea Org staff.
The Sea Org is not set up to handle or take care of children. Sea Org members getting children has resulted in unpractical burden on the Sea Org units and inhibited their efficiency. No SO installation has the job of making future SO members for twenty years from now. Therefore Sea Org members who have new children will not be allowed to remain on duty in Sea Org units.
The rest of the order states that errant Sea Org members will be banished to an unproductive marginal non-Sea Org Class V org and left there until they bring it up to scratch and defines the exact rules to be followed on finding a case of “unauthorized expenditure”. When the child reaches 6 years of age, he is to be dumped in the Cadet Org, and will thereafter have virtually no contact with his parents. The parents may then apply to be reinstated if they have ‘visibly’ expanded their Class V org. “Failure to follow these policies and keeping a pregnant SO member in an SO org or unit in violation of this Flag Order will result in a Committee of Evidence as per pont B) above.” The order is signed by Captain Guillaume Leserve on behalf of ED International, authorized by AVC International for Church of Scientology International.
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