Monday, March 5, 2012

United Methodist Position on Birth Control and Abortion

With regards to birth control The United Methodist Church in the Book of Resolutions  (Resolution 2026) states:

“Each couple has the right and duty prayerfully and responsively to control conception according to their circumstances.  They are, in our view free to use those means of birth control considered medically safe.  As developing technologies have moved conception and reproduction more and more out of the category of a chance happening and more closely to the realm of responsible choice, the decision whether or not to give birth to children must include acceptance of the responsibility to provide for their mental, physical and spiritual growth as well as consideration of the possible effect on quality of life for family and society. 

We therefore encourage our churches and common society to make information and materials available so all can exercise responsible choice in the area of conception controls.  We support the free flow of information about reputable, effective and safe non-prescription contraceptive techniques through educational programs and through periodicals, radio, television and other advertising media.  We support adequate public funding and increased participation in family planning services by public and private agencies, including church-related institutions, with the goal of making such services accessible to all, regardless of economic status or geographic location.”

Our position on abortion can be found in our “Social Principles” in the Book of Discipline (paragraph 161j).

“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 what may justify abortion and in such cases we support the legal option of abortion under proper medical procedures.  We support parental, guardian or other responsible adult notification and consent before abortions are 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 is as a means of gender selection.
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.  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. 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 particularly encourage the Church, the government and social service agencies to support and facilitate the option of adoption.  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.”

These statements represent a balanced and prayerful response to issues that divide people in many ways, not only in the church but in society at large.  The over-arching theme is prayer and careful discernment.  I believe it is important for our churches to regularly study our church’s stand on our many social issues and prayerfully discuss God’s plan for us as we are a witness to the world.

1 comment:

  1. Balanced and prayerful? Prayer and discernment? What do we pray about in an abortion- to get Jesus to bless our act of poking a needle into a living baby's heart, as if Jesus were an early incarnation of Adolf Hitler?

    I can't imagine how people can get self-righteous about "reproductive rights" in this context, and talk in a cool, cold way about inducing fetal demise. Here's a quote from the abstract of an article from a "Society of Family Planning" journal":

    "For decades, the induction of fetal demise has been used before both surgical and medical second-trimester abortion. Intracardiac
    potassium chloride and intrafetal or intra-amniotic digoxin injections are the pharmacologic agents used most often to induce fetal demise. In
    the last several years, induction of fetal demise has become more common before second-trimester abortion. The only randomized, placebocontrolled trial of induced fetal demise before surgical abortion used a 1 mg injection of intra-amniotic digoxin before surgical abortion at
    20–23 weeks' gestation and found no difference in ... etc."


    "In the literature describing induction termination, there have been multiple case reports of unintended live births"

    "By ensuring
    demise before the termination is begun, live birth cannot
    occur, thus avoiding entirely the problem that faces the
    provider, the team of caregivers and the patient undergoing
    induction or D&E if the patient were to expel the fetus with
    signs of life"

    "Providers are also
    concerned about potential legal ramifications from an
    unintended live birth"

    "Inducing fetal demise before induction termination
    avoids signs of live birth that may have beneficial
    emotional, ethical and legal consequences"

    Also, look at another medical site:

    "As discussed above, standard methods of pregnancy termination via labor induction do not ensure fetal demise during the procedure. A live birth in this setting can be psychologically and emotionally difficult for the family and staff; feticide removes this possibility."