United Methodist Women Abortion

May 23, 2019

United Methodist Women Claim Pro-Life Laws an “Attack on Women’s Reproductive Health”

Recently, the United Methodist Women (UMW), the official organization for women within the United Methodist Church (UMC), published a statement in response to anti-abortion measures signed into law in Alabama and other states. The May 17 article title states that United Methodist Women are “[decrying] the attack on women’s reproductive health.” This is a bold statement because while the UMW was once a large organization that spoke for women in the church, a dramatic decline in numbers means that they cannot speak for the majority of women within the UMC anymore.

The UMW was once one of the largest women’s organizations and wielded significant influence within the UMC. IRD has tracked the group’s rapid decline and revealed how its progressive agenda has “needlessly alienated so many of the women of the church.”

According to the report on gender in the UMC in 2017, there were just under 4 million U.S. women in the UMC. According to previous IRD articles on the UMW, the organization now has fewer than 800,000 members, which is only a fraction of what they once were and is an even smaller fraction of the total number of women in the UMC.

Not only are the UMW’s declining numbers a problem for their statement against the abortion laws, but they also selectively cherry-pick specific phrases from the United Methodist Book of Discipline that show only one side to the issue. Language in the Discipline shows a nuanced position on abortion and does state that abortion can be prayerfully considered in very specific circumstances, but the position that is mostly emphasized is pro-life. The church declares that it wants to decrease abortions and save the life of the unborn child. “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” (Book of Discipline, 161).

The UMC General Conference has increasingly made decisions in a pro-life direction. In 2016, the church dropped its endorsement for Roe v Wade and disaffiliated with the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC), major steps towards affirming a stance critical of abortion-on-demand. The UMC also writes that “We cannot affirm abortion as an acceptable means of birth control, and we unconditionally reject it as a means of gender selection or eugenics.” These actions from General Conference written in the Book of Discipline cannot be ignored, as the General Conference (uniquely among denominational bodies) can speak for the entire denomination.

Although the UMW statement claims that their beliefs are in line with the UMC, they only cite short sections from the Book of Discipline that align with their argument against state-level anti-abortion measures that have been passed into law. Their selective quotes do not encompass the true tone of what the UMC General Conference expresses. The Book of Discipline also states, “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.”  This desire to see a decrease in abortions and support women who are struggling with pregnancy or parenthood is strongly emphasized in the UMC.


37 Responses to United Methodist Women Claim Pro-Life Laws an “Attack on Women’s Reproductive Health”

  1. These pro-aborts tip their hands at their anti-science, pro-Molech agenda by referring to abortions as “reproductive health.”

    “Reproductive freedom/choice/justice/rights/health/etc.” are false, Orwellian, anti-scientific terms. They apply to birth control, not abortion, because abortion destroys a human being who has already been reproduced. That is a scientific fact confirmed by any mainstream embryology textbook and basic logic. It is a deadly and evil phrase. Yes, they have a right to reproduce, but no, they shouldn’t have the right to kill human beings who have already been reproduced.

    Never let pro-aborts get away with using that phrase.

    • Richard says:

      Eternity Matters,

      I believe your comments very appropriate. For starters, I wish there was a way all individual’s contemplating abortion could try and understand what you have said, and know the UMC’s Book of Discipline statement referred to in the last paragraph of this article. The extent of the pro-abortion agenda and laws that have been enacted in some states are more signs of how irresponsible society has become. Unfortunately, it seems that is also the case for some in the UMC who claim divine wisdom.

    • Scott Redfield says:

      These women have lost their way as they talk about their reproductive health. You can have any opinion you want as long as it doesn’t affect the life of another. What about the health of the unborn.

  2. David says:

    The NYT had a May 21, 2019, article, “Pregnancy Kills, Abortion Saves Lives.” It is pointed out in scientific terms that very roughly ten times more women die as the result of having a baby than having an abortion. Given that nearly 75% of human conceptions fail to reach term for natural reasons, can one say that God is not pro-choice?

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/21/opinion/alabama-law-abortion.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage

    • Biblicist says:

      Of course, ignoring that babies are lives, 100% of abortions (maybe Gianna Jessen and a few others excluded) result in death. NYT’s Math is off, I know math is hard.

      I wonder why Genesis 3 doesn’t come to mind, that as the result of the first sin, pregnancy and childbirth would be difficult?

      It seems that, New Testament and Old Testament, life starts at conception, women become mothers at conception.

    • Lee D. Cary says:

      You’re citing the NYT as an expert source on abortion? Seriously?

      When was the last time the Times was right about an important controversial topic?

  3. Diane says:

    I suggest all pro-birth Americans raise their hands so they can bear the cost for the children many parents can’t afford. In addition, these pro-birth parents should adopt at least two hard to place children waiting in foster care for adoption.

    Many of the reasons for abortion are economic. There was a time when I thought I might be pregnant (I was not). I was married to a man with genetic-caused serious health problems that took his life as a young man. We did not want to pass those genes down. I was dealing with serious health issues and taking medication not approved for pregnant women. I was the main bread winner in the family and yes, I used contraception. We had no family near us to help care for a child who might be born with severe handicaps. I made the decision to have an abortion if I were pregnant.

    Fast forward. I know a couple who adopted a hard to place child with multiple, severe (mental, physical, verbal, emotional handicaps). They love her. But they have had to place that child in institutional care. Insurance won’t fully cover her needs. Medicaid is being cut. During a recent health crisis, she was transferred to an ER (she’s 18) where she was kept for three days before she was discharged. The medical personnel had no clue how to give decent care to this child with multiple critical needs and lacked resources to address them. So the child’s needs were ignored. It was a nightmare for the parents.

    If society is not ready to bear the cost of raising these kids, then allow doctors and women to make decisions they feel best. And those of us who chose not to have children shouldn’t have to be taxed to support these forced-birth kids.

    I’m retired and literally contributed thousands of my teacher’s salary to improve schooling for the impoverished students I taught. I sacrificed my economic well-being. I’m retired and do not want to pay for forced-birth unwanted kids.

    • Jason says:

      While we are at it then we could just humanely euthanize all of the born unwanted children since no one is interested in paying or taking care of them.

      The logic of killing a child because they are an inconvenience or not wanted is mind blowing to me.

    • Jim says:

      And I would rather not have to pay for your retirement pension. Though I am glad you are no longer in the class room.

    • A Lee Franklin says:

      If hubby has “genetic-caused serious health problems” and you do “not want to pass those genes down” then hubby gets a vasectomy and eliminate the concern.
      Our UMC understanding is that the unborn child is a child, a human being, whom God knew before “he” was in his mother’s womb (and not just a piece of tissue).

      • Diane says:

        He did end up getting a vasectomy.

        The forced-birth party is not pro-child. Raise taxes on pro-birthers and force adoption of these children on them.

        • Loren Golden says:

          “The forced-birth party is not pro-child.”
           
          And the forced-death party is?

        • Jim says:

          Official spokesperson for the Woodstock generation the selfish, me only branch of the baby-boomers. They arrogantly believe they possess The greater societal good- nothing could be further from the truth.

      • Kat Welch says:

        Well said. Get a vasectomy, vs ripping a child’s limbs off and crushing their head in an abortion.

  4. Wayne says:

    There are a multitude of women’s reproductive choices available. Women are in no way limited in their reproductive choices. However, a pregnancy is a human being (God designed it this way). Pregnancy has NOTHING to do with reproductive rights and EVERYTHING to do with a living human being. Abortion is flat out murder. By the way, a repentant Believer can be forgiven for having an abortion.

  5. Mike says:

    There used to be a very simple solution for “unwanted pregnancies” – don’t have sex!

    And don’t quote me the standard line about incest and rape – they are tragic and wrong when they happen, but they are so small a percentage of actual pregnancies as to be almost non-existent. Yet pro-abortion advocates trot out the rape/incest argument every time (although they are getting more bold – now they are more willing to admit that the cost of raising a child is a burden, etc. Ever heard of adoption?

    Once again, the solution to almost every unwanted pregnancy is – don’t have sex. Sex has consequences – God created it that way.

  6. Mike says:

    And I’d like to add: fortunately, United Methodist Women as we know it today will not survive the coming changes in the UMC. It is already a sideline/oldline organization in a mainline, “drained-line” denomination. It will be replaced by something vibrant, biblical and Spirit led in whatever the traditional side of the church becomes in the future. Then it will be a place that truly ministers in and through Christian women. Thankfully.

  7. I highly recommend our UMW women watch the movie, Unplanned, an account of an abortion clinical director who changed her mind after assisting with a live abortion. I also recommend a reading of the Scriptures that very clearly declares God’s divine involvement in the womb with purpose and calling before being born.

  8. Rev. Dr. Lee D Cary says:

    What’s becoming increasingly clear to UM laypersons is that much of the General Church hierarchy consists of individual, free-standing, independent (accountable to no one), special interest groups (clubs) with their own agenda and biases, exercising group think.

    They purport to speak for “the Church,” but the sound they make merely reverberates off the silo walls in which they live, move, and have their being.

    Actually, it’s all quite meaningless and silly.

  9. Tracy says:

    This group does NOT speak for the many Methodist Women in my state or region of the country! Time to disband this gross liberal group who, do not have the values of the majority of the Methodist Women. No wonder UMW numbers have plummeted! I am going to petition that my local, district and state all withdraw from this absurde group that pretends to be holy. True colors are showing, all you women out there that have been faithful and sending money to the national group, please find out where it is going. They are pushing a very liberal social agenda! They do not speak for anyone, if they do not ask for input.
    Ladies, time for a boycott! Start a fresh renewal in women’s ministry!

    • Ann says:

      Yes, Tracy. Let’s remember:
      “The mission of the United Methodist Women shall be a community of women whose purpose is to know God and to experience freedom as whole persons through Jesus Christ; to develop a creative, supportive fellowship; and to expand concepts of mission through participation in the global ministries of the church.”
      Let’s be about that business and continue continuing on- with eyes open and with vigor.

  10. MikeS says:

    Any denomination that is in reality run by and for liberal females (i.e. every mainline protestant denomination) will of course sanctify any and all behavior that fits in with unconstrained sexual autonomy.

  11. Sam says:

    “Thou shall not murder.” The abortion issue is so absolutely clear that it provides a bright line showing the separation of the wheat from the chaff. What we are seeing is that there are many churches, and some denominations, that are more chaff than wheat.

  12. John Smith says:

    Sorry but for all the waffling and “progress” the UMC is still pro-choice. If it wasn’t this statement would make no sense: “…major steps towards affirming a stance critical of abortion-on-demand.” Selective quotes do not seem to be the sole province of the UMW as this article proves. I’m beginning to think “nuanced” is the new UMC word of the decade given its continued use in the LGBTQAI debates and now abortion. Please show me where the UMC says abortion is wrong. Being against eugenics and gender selection is not saying abortion is wrong.

    The UMC must live with “… we support the legal option of abortion under proper medical procedures by certified medical providers.” no matter how many paragraphs it puts after “sanctity of unborn human life makes us reluctant to approve abortion” to justify the fact that, although “reluctant” approve it nevertheless does.

  13. Diane says:

    Historically women have always had abortions. That will not stop with abortion bans. We will simply have back-ally abortions and more mothers dying.

    The far-right, forced birthed are not pro-mother or pro-child. My aunt suffered complications with a fifth pregnancy. Her doctor believed a 6th pregnancy would likely kill her and advised a tubal ligation. He then told her he couldn’t do the procedure because he’s a pro-birther, anti-contraception faith-based doctor who placed no value on her life – even though he’d just said a sixth pregnancy would likely kill her. The local hospital where my aunt was to deliver wouldn’t do the procedure because they’re faith-based anti-contraception, forced-birthers.

    Better to have a dead mom and have 5-6 motherless kids. Now that’s Christ-like. Not!

    • Jim says:

      Diane the official spokesperson for the Woodstock generation the selfish, me only branch of the baby-boomers. They arrogantly believe they possess The greater societal good- nothing could be further from the truth.

      Historically men and women commit evil and sin. What is your point? Never-mind, I couldn’t care less.

    • John Smith says:

      Historically people have always committed murder (or whatever favorite crime you desire) murder bans have not stopped murder (or rape, theft, fraud -again, put in your favorite) it will only force it into the shadows. So why have laws? One of the stupidest arguments to push the legalization of anything yet it keeps being pushed by those who will not think to be accepted by those who cannot.

    • John Smith says:

      Historically people have always committed murder. That will not stop with murder bans. It will simply force it into the shadows. What a stupid argument. I don’t know which is more silly, the ones who put this forward or the ones who buy it. BTW you may substitute your favorite offense for murder-rape, theft, fraud, drugs.

      Now lets see if the robot will post this one. I guess it didn’t like the previous.

    • Patrick98 says:

      Diane,

      If you do not like the care a particular physician refuses to provide due to their conscience, either find another physician or become one yourself. If you do not like the particular care a hospital refuses due to their conscience, build your own hospital.

    • Loren Golden says:

      Madam, your oft-cited example of pro-life (and likely Roman Catholic) doctors who refused to perform a tubal ligation on your aunt, despite her primary care physician’s recommendation, falls flat on the ears of most of the visitors to this website.
       
      Despite your assertions to the contrary, there is a significant difference between contraception, which is intended to prevent a woman’s egg cell from becoming fertilized by a man’s sperm, which would thus bring about the creation of a new human being, and abortion, which is quite deliberately intended to bring about the death of said human being, formed in this fashion, before he or she is born.
       
      And as I have told you before, obviously landing on deaf ears, my wife and I are both pro-life, and yet our consciences were not violated when, after the birth of our four-year-old younger daughter, my wife had a tubal ligation at the recommendation of her OB/GYN, and I supported her decision to do so.
       
      So kindly desist from conflating anti-contraception with pro-life.  The two causes are not the same.

  14. William says:

    Another agency of the UMC needing jettisoned and put that money in UMCOR, for example.

  15. Pouncer says:

    The UMC _Book of Resolutions_ “unconditionally rejects abortion being used as a means of gender selection” but seems to be silent on other reasons for “selection”. Does any law defining “acceptable” reasons for terminating a pregnancy, and ending a life, intolerably impair a woman’s health? And are economic and financial reasons *really* a constitutionally protected exemption for the “health of the mother” as outlined in 1992’s _Casey v Planned Parenthood decision? Does the UMW or the Casey reasoning support abortion to terminate the pregnancy (and life) of a Downs infant? Do the LGBTIA members (not yet clergy) of the UMC support the right of a woman to terminate a fetus in the womb once tests reveal Kleinfelter’s Syndrome (congenital inter-sexed conditions arising from XXY chromosomal disorders) ? If tests COULD determine a child has a “gay gene” – would UMW support parents who want to abort and try again for a “het” ?

    • John Smith says:

      The UMC is against gender selection and eugenics; it is not against abortion. As the the “health of the mother” exemption its the same thing as saying, everything is allowed. Notice it does not specify physical, mental, emotional, financial or whatever type of health. Nor does it call for a degree of degradation of the health. My health, physical, mental, emotional and financial was adversely affected by my wife’s pregnancies. I doubt you can find a woman who cannot truthfully say there wasn’t some negative impact from pregnancy. They may think it was wonderful, worth the cost, a great thing, life affirming or whatever but there was negative impact.to her “health”.

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