Institute on Religion and Democracy Press Release
May 20, 2016
Contact: Jeff Walton cell: 202-413-5639, e-mail: jwalton@TheIRD.org
Portland, OR—United Methodists have taken major steps toward affirming the sanctity of all human life during their denomination’s quadrennial General Conference meeting this week in Portland, Oregon.
On the final day of the May 10-20 gathering, delegates voted to delete a four-decade old statement from the denomination’s Book of Resolutions which affirmed the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision striking down state laws restricting abortion.
A resolution to continue using Roe-affirming language was defeated 445-310 (59-41 percent) that very broadly encouraged access to abortion under the guise of “responsible parenthood”. In committee, another resolution was overwhelmingly re-adopted 56-2 (97-3 percent) decrying the global crisis of gender-selective abortion (choosing abortion solely or primarily because of not preferring the unborn child’s sex), while also describing abortion as “violent” and opposing abortions done for “trivial reasons.” This resolution passed the plenary as part of an omnibus “consent calendar.”
Lastly, a 16-year-old official UMC resolution on hospital mergers was not considered in committee and was therefore allowed to expire. That subtly anti-Catholic resolution claimed that there was “a crisis in health care” in parts of the USA due to hospital mergers reducing availability of “abortion services” and other procedures, and committed United Methodist denominational agencies to political activism on “this critical issue of reproductive and end-of-life health care.”
On Thursday, delegates voted overwhelmingly to sever the denomination’s scandalous 43-year formal affiliation with the D.C.-based pro-abortion advocacy organization, the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC). Delegates also deleted older language broadly commending the work of RCRC.
UM Action Director and Elected General Conference Delegate John Lomperis commented:
“It is exciting to see America’s second-largest Protestant denomination, the United Methodist Church, following the good example of America’s largest Protestant denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention, in moving away from earlier support for abortion towards historic Christian pro-life values. This shows my church helpfully moving away from the other liberal, so-called ‘mainline’ Protestant denomination’s to embrace a new global, faithful identity.”