Roe v. Wade

United Methodists Repeal Previous Endorsement of Roe v. Wade

on May 21, 2016

Institute on Religion and Democracy Press Release
May 20, 2016
Contact: Jeff Walton cell: 202-413-5639, e-mail:

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.”

  1. Comment by Eternity Matters on May 21, 2016 at 8:07 am

    Good for them! Hope that makes their members think more carefully about the evil of abortion.

  2. Comment by Mike on May 21, 2016 at 11:44 pm

    Hope they remember about those that are born.

  3. Comment by Trish Martin on May 21, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    Thanks be to God!

  4. Comment by Mike on May 21, 2016 at 11:43 pm

    And coat hangers.

  5. Comment by Trish Martin on May 22, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    Thanks be to God!

  6. Comment by halehawk on May 23, 2016 at 9:59 am

    It is worth noting that the General Conference did NOT change The United Methodist Church’s official position regarding abortion. The conference DID recognize that the agenda of the RCRC no longer reflects our church’s position. We STILL believe that abortion should be a safe and legal option, but we are reluctant to approve of abortion. The United Methodist Church is BOTH pro-life, and pro-choice. Some of our members are activists on either side of this issue, but our official position is distinctly and specifically in the middle of the road. The RCRC position no longer reflects The United Methodist official position, so the church simply dropped it’s support of RCRC.

    Here is most of the official statement of the church regarding abortion.

    “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 ministries 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 developing 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 ¶ 161L.) 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……”

    The Rev. Holly Boardman

    Retired Elder, Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church

  7. Comment by Thomas on June 9, 2016 at 12:46 pm

    Hopefully, we can predict that such an outdated stance will have to be changed. Fortunately it seems that the UMC is headed to becoming fully pro-life.

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