The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued the following statement on abortion Friday from Bruce L. Olsen, managing director of Public Communications/-Special Affairs:

"In view of the widespread public interest in the issue of abortion, we reaffirm that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has consistently opposed elective abortion. More than a century ago, the First Presidency of the church warned against this evil. We have repeatedly counseled people everywhere to turn from the devastating practice of abortion for personal or social convenience."The church recognizes that there may be rare cases in which abortion may be justified - cases involving pregnancy by incest or rape; when the life or health of the woman is adjudged by competent medical authority to be in serious jeopardy; or when the fetus is known by competent medical authority to have severe defects that will not allow the baby to survive beyond birth. But these are not automatic reasons for abortion. Even in these cases, the couple should consider an abortion only after consulting with each other, and their bishop, and receiving divine confirmation through prayer.

"The practice of elective abortion is fundamentally contrary to the Lord's injunction, `Thou shall not steal; neither commit adultery, nor kill, nor do anything like unto it.' (Doctrine and Covenants 59:6) We urge all to preserve the sanctity of human life and thereby realize the happiness promised to those who keep the commandments of the Lord.

"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as an institution has not favored or opposed specific legislative proposals or public demonstrations concerning abortion.

"Inasmuch as this issue is likely to arise in all states in the United States of America and in many other nations of the world in which the church is established, it is impractical for the church to take a position on specific legislative proposals on this important subject.

"However, we continue to encourage our members as citizens to let their voices be heard in appropriate and legal ways that will evidence their belief in the sacredness of life."