Processing the Overturning of Roe v. Wade
The General Board of Church and Society's Response to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling to Overturn Roe v. Wade
United Methodists value women’s rights and recognize the importance of ministries that support women and their reproductive health.
The United Methodist Church, responding to the Gospel and informed by our Wesleyan history, affirms the sacred worth of all people and calls us to advocate in support of policies that support abundant, healthy life for all.
This commitment to the sacred worth of all people has called us to prayerfully reflect on the justice, rights, and health for the mother, child and family. Through our prayerful advocacy and witness we as a church affirm that, “we are equally bound to respect the sacredness of the life and well-being of the mother and the unborn child.
We recognize tragic conflicts of life with life that may justify abortion, and in such cases, we support the legal option of abortion under proper medical procedures by certified medical providers.” (United Methodist Social Principles ¶161.K)
This prayerful response from the United Methodist Church is a collective witness that centers on the value and dignity of every mother, child, and family. However, today The United States Supreme Court decision denied the value and dignity of women to access the fundamental right to the supportive care and services they deserve.
Today’s decision unleashes severe consequences and threatens access to care for every community, and specifically Black, Brown, Indigenous and low-income communities. This decision comes at a time when many states are already moving to restrict access to quality care and comprehensive health care services like family planning, birth control, and the expansion of Medicaid. These restrictions deny the basic right to lifesaving care that every-body has the right to access and receive.
As people of faith, God calls us to transform conditions of injustice and advocate for the rights of all people to have access to affordable, equitable and comprehensive healthcare that includes reproductive and maternal care.
We grieve and lament today’s decision. We ask that churches provide a healing and nurturing presence that cares for the women and families in your communities wrestling with today’s decision and their own experiences. We also acknowledge that today’s decision compels us to renewed advocacy for policies that create an environment where all people have access to a community, services, and healthcare that lead to flourishing and abundance.
The Nurturing Community: Abortion
2016 Book of Discipline, Social Principles ¶161.K
The beginning of life and the ending of life are the God-given boundaries of human existence. While individuals have always had some degree of control over when they would die, they now have the awesome power to determine when and even whether new individuals will be born. Our belief in the sanctity of unborn human life makes us reluctant to approve abortion.
But we are equally bound to respect the sacredness of the life and well-being of the mother and the unborn child.
We recognize tragic conflicts of life with life that may justify abortion, and in such cases we support the legal option of abortion under proper medical procedures by certified medical providers. We support parental, guardian, or other responsible adult notification and consent before abortions can be performed on girls who have not yet reached the age of legal adulthood. We cannot affirm abortion as an acceptable means of birth control, and we unconditionally reject it as a means of gender selection or eugenics (see Resolution 3184).
We oppose the use of late-term abortion known as dilation and extraction (partial-birth abortion) and call for the end of this practice except when the physical life of the mother is in danger and no other medical procedure is available, or in the case of severe fetal anomalies incompatible with life. This procedure shall be performed only by certified medical providers. Before providing their services, abortion providers should be required to offer women the option of anesthesia.
We call all Christians to a searching and prayerful inquiry into the sorts of conditions that may cause them to consider abortion. We entrust God to provide guidance, wisdom, and discernment to those facing an unintended pregnancy.
The Church shall offer ministries to reduce unintended pregnancies. We commit our Church to continue to provide nurturing ministries to those who terminate a pregnancy, to those in the midst of a crisis pregnancy, and to those who give birth.
We mourn and are committed to promoting the diminishment of high abortion rates. The Church shall encourage minis- tries to reduce unintended pregnancies such as comprehensive, age-appropriate sexuality education, advocacy in regard to contraception, and support of initiatives that enhance the quality of life for all women and girls around the globe.
Young adult women disproportionately face situations in which they feel that they have no choice due to financial, educational, relational, or other circumstances beyond their control. The Church and its local congregations and campus ministries should be in the forefront of supporting existing ministries and develop- ing new ministries that help such women in their communities. They should also support those crisis pregnancy centers and pregnancy resource centers that compassionately help women explore all options related to unplanned pregnancy. We particularly encourage the Church, the government, and social service agencies to support and facilitate the option of adoption. (See ¶ 161M.) We affirm and encourage the Church to assist the ministry of crisis pregnancy centers and pregnancy resource centers that compassionately help women find feasible alternatives to abortion.
Governmental laws and regulations do not provide all the guidance required by the informed Christian conscience. Therefore, a decision concerning abortion should be made only after thoughtful and prayerful consideration by the parties involved, with medical, family, pastoral, and other appropriate counsel.
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Copyright © 2016, The United Methodist Publishing House, used by permission