The United Methodist Church announced earlier this week they are looking to change their official position on abortion.
Even though the church officially recognizes “the sanctity of unborn human life,” they are not exactly clear about their position on abortion. Instead of condemning abortion outright as many churches have done, the United Methodist Church admits in their mission statement they “recognize tragic conflicts of life that might justify abortion.” At the same time, however, the church supports legislation limiting abortion access, such as late-term abortion bans and parental consent laws for underage girls.
While the church has largely been neutral on the subject and has distanced itself from the pro-abortion movement, that is about to change.
The church is now proposing an amendment to their mission statement, removing life-affirming wording entirely. In place of “abortion” they will now be using “reproductive health.” Additionally, the statement no longer discusses the sanctity of preborn life, nor the alarming recent increase in abortions.
The new statement would read:
We affirm the complexity that surrounds reproduction and birth. We recognize the grief and shame that may accompany an inability to conceive and the decisions that are made concerning intended and unplanned pregnancies. Reproductive health care is essential to the well-being of families and communities.
Several Methodist pastors and members have publicly spoken out against the possible change in the statement, including Rev. Paul Stallworth, who said:
If the theologically superficial, globally distant, brief revision is adopted, as is, by the 2020 General Conference, that would basically nullify, in one vote, all General Conference decisions that have been protective of the unborn child and mother.
That nullification, in one vote, would: silence the voices of many United Methodists around the world; increase distrust in The United Methodist Church today; set The United Methodist Church more strongly against the consensual teaching of historic, ecumenical Christianity on life and abortion; and lead possibly to the destruction of more unborn children and bring harm to their mothers.
That nullification, in one vote, would not be good. That nullification is unacceptable.