UMC West Virginia Conference Passes Pro-Life Resolution Opposing GBCS Proposal

on August 24, 2018

The West Virginia Annual Conference (WVAC) of the United Methodist Church (UMC) passed a resolution opposing the proposed changes to the United Methodist Social Principles’ statements on abortion in their 2018 gathering on June 7-10. The denomination’s controversial General Board of Church and Society (GBCS) has put forth a number of proposals in advance of its final draft, which will be presented at General Conference 2020.  The West Virginia resolution, which passed overwhelmingly, also urged all members of the conference to look and comment on the changes being proposed to the Social Principles on the whole.

The members of WVAC were concerned about how the working draft of a replacement for the current Social Principles eliminates key language expressing major reservations about abortion. It is rather unusual for an Annual Conference to directly oppose an official UMC general agency in this way, especially in the liberal-leaning Northeastern Jurisdiction. In total, the annual conference represents 1,067 churches and 93,239 members, per the most recent statistics.

The GBCS’ proposed new language removes clear affirmations of the sanctity of all life, thus opening opportunities for unlimited abortion advocacy from the UMC’s agencies or leadership. These amendments regarding abortion continue the trend of the GBCS supporting progressive stances on social issues.

As the WVAC resolution states, there is an opportunity to share your thoughts and concerns on the changes proposed for the Social Principles. The deadline for submitting feedback is at the end of August, so there is now only one week left to do so. To learn more about the proposed changes, read John Lomperis’ full take here. You can most easily share this helpful review with this link:

We strongly encourage all concerned, theologically traditionalist United Methodists to go to the above link, which shares key information and explains how and register your concerns. We urge you to make your voice heard by GBCS this week, and to encourage your friends to do the same.

Here’s the full text of the West Virginia Annual Conference’s resolution concerning abortion:


Resolution Number 2

Revision of the Social Principles

                WHEREAS a working draft of a proposed replacement for the current Social Principles was made available by the General Board of Church and Society on April 11, 2018; and

                WHEREAS this working draft has eliminated language in the current Social Principles expressing reservations about the widespread use of abortion, including the statement that “Our belief in the sanctity of unborn human life makes us reluctant to approve abortion,” the statement that “We cannot affirm abortion as an acceptable means of birth control,” the statement that “we unconditionally reject it as a means of gender selection,” and the statement that “We oppose the use of late-term abortion known as dilation and extraction (partial-birth abortion)”; and

                WHEREAS this working draft does not replace any of these statements with language which is even remotely similar; and

                WHEREAS the concern of the United Methodist Church about widespread use of abortion for routine birth control is serious and long-standing;

                THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the West Virginia Annual Conference affirms the current language of the Social Principles regarding abortion; and

                BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we oppose the proposed change in our teaching about abortion; and

                BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we urge pastors and laypersons to examine the working draft at; and

                BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that these pastors and laypersons are asked to provide their input on this and other relevant issues addressed by the working draft; and

                BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the West Virginia Annual Conference urges those who are nominated as delegates to the 2020 General Conference to make a particular point of examining this working draft and comparing it with our existing Social Principles.

                BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the wording be added that “As United Methodists we affirm our responsibility to advocate and help provide for the spiritual, physical and emotional needs of all children.”


  1. Comment by Jim on August 24, 2018 at 9:55 am

    Please stop referring to pro-abortion positions as “progressive.” As scientific knowledge progresses and education improves, it is clear that the progressive position is pro-life. The old pro-abortion narrative is based on ignorance, obfuscation and ideological blindness. It is rooted in a past of shallow and uninformed thinking. It is about as progressive as racism.

  2. Comment by Adam Hunter on August 24, 2018 at 10:08 am

    As one who was born and raised in WV; was connected to the UMC through Emmaus; and am friends with people in the WV UMC, I’m grateful—and not surprised—this Conference took such a stand.

  3. Comment by David on August 24, 2018 at 11:05 am

    “As many as 75 percent of fertilized eggs do not go on to result in a full-term pregnancy. This statistic includes both miscarriages and failed implantations that usually pass without the mother ever missing a period or knowing conception took place.” Are you quite certain that God is “pro-life?”

  4. Comment by brandon on August 24, 2018 at 4:19 pm

    The world has fallen away from God, miscarriages exist in an imperfect world.

    When the Lord speaks of Jeremiah he states that before he was formed in the womb He knew him. Jer 1:5. He created us in His image and asked us to be fruitful and multiply.

    The agenda to limit births and promote abortion comes from the elites who wish to control our lives in every single aspect, including procreation. Freedom to murder your unborn child does not sound very rational, but coercive. People need to ask themselves twhy they feel so strongly that murder is ok because the person not born yet.

  5. Comment by Garry Hogue on August 27, 2018 at 10:39 am

    David, are you sure that this is your opinion? Miscarriages and failed implantations are mostly caused by outside stresses and imperfect conditions. This exists in nature as well. Only a monster, or one who maybe has not thought all the way through the issue would argue in favor of abortion. Please think again!

  6. Comment by David on August 24, 2018 at 11:24 am

    The use of abortion for gender selection is generally condemned by medical groups except in cases of X-linked genetic diseases where males, but not females are affected. Late term abortions are almost never due to a delayed decision on the pregnancy, but due to the discovered of abnormalities. Some genetic diseases are fatal early in life such as cyclopia, and Tay-Sachs while others offer a shortened life of suffering as in cystic fibrosis. Generally, these conditions can be diagnosed early in the pregnancy.

  7. Comment by Skipper on August 25, 2018 at 4:06 pm

    The General Board of Church and Society seems to work against our mission. The money wasted on it could be put to better use almost anywhere.

  8. Comment by The Answer is in the Book on August 26, 2018 at 7:55 am

    Is the baby in the womb a human being? Scripture says “yes.” Embryology textbooks used in medical schools say “yes.” It is always a sin to intentionally kill an innocent human being. Abortion is sinful, and those who advocate for it are promoting sin.

  9. Comment by David on August 28, 2018 at 9:22 am

    IHittite Code
    #17 “If anyone causes a free woman to miscarry, [if] it is her tenth month,
    he shall pay 10 shekels of silver, if it is her fifth month. he shall pay 5
    shekels of silver.
    #1 “[If] anyone kills [a man] or a woman in a [quarrel] he shall [bring him]
    for burial and shall give 4 persons, male or female respectively.”

    Code of Hammurabi
    209. “If a man strike a free-born woman so that she lose her unborn child, he shall pay ten shekels for her loss. If the woman die, his daughter shall be put to death.”

    Law of Moses
    Exodus 21:12 Death is the punishment for murder.
    21:22 “Suppose a pregnant woman suffers a miscarriage as the result of an injury caused by someone who is fighting. If she isn’t badly hurt, the one who injured her must pay whatever fine her husband demands and the judges approve. But if she is seriously injured, the payment will be life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, cut for cut, and bruise for bruise.”

    The unborn have traditionally not been considered the same as a born person.

  10. Comment by Thomas on August 28, 2018 at 10:38 am

    Sorry, but the Old Testament morality has long gone, because Christianity follows the New Testament. Read it and you will learn a lot. Besides, all Christian tradition has always opposed abortion.

  11. Comment by William on August 26, 2018 at 5:09 pm

    The GBCS supports Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood kills over 320,000 innocent babies annually. In an email exchange with some weirdo at GBSC, the person wrote me back defending their support of Planned Parenthood saying something like, “Planned Parenthood increases the chances of survival of both the baby and mother by providing prenatal services”‼️‼️ I retorted with the question of how that works as Planned Parenthood kills over 320,000 babies annually. No response. Plus, the director of GBCS does not respond to inquiries at her email address.

    Bottom line. The UMC should abolish this agency‼️

  12. Comment by Thomas on August 28, 2018 at 10:39 am

    I agree. This agency should be extinct. UMC still needs to do a lot to adopt a fully pro-life official stance.

  13. Comment by John Smith on August 28, 2018 at 6:08 am

    The UMC supports abortion “but has reservations” means the UMC supports abortion. All the blurry edges, hedging, hand wringing mean the same thing at the end of the day. The UMC is pro-abortion. The WV UMC doesn’t want the GBCS to change the social principles which means and calls upon the language to stay the same means the WV UMC is pro-abortion.

  14. Comment by Mark Flynn on August 30, 2018 at 6:11 am

    The current statement in the Book of Discipline rejects the use of abortion for routine birth control. This means that it rejects the vast majority of abortions performed. It also rejects late-term abortion and abortion for gender selection. It does not endorse abortion for any purpose. It is certainly not a perfect statement, but it is far better than the alternative statement being offered by the GBCS. To say that those of us who have spoken out against this change are pro-abortion is nonsense.

  15. Comment by John Smith on September 4, 2018 at 6:33 am

    There is a big difference between: “We cannot affirm abortion as an acceptable means of birth control,” and we reject. Notice this difference: “we unconditionally reject it as a means of gender selection or eugenics”. But over it all is the governing phrase: “we support the legal option of abortion under proper medical procedures by certified medical providers” As I said, put up all the excuses, qualifications, hedging you want. The UMC is pro-abortion.

  16. Comment by Don on September 8, 2018 at 8:59 pm

    Is there any moral issue in which the present UMC comes down on the side of scripture?

  17. Comment by John Smith on September 10, 2018 at 6:38 am

    If by current UMC you mean the BoD then the basics of the formative creeds (Apostles’, Nicean, Chalcedon, etc) are affirmed. If you mean the leadership then everything is up for grabs.

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