Petition 60744

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Abortion (60744-CB-ΒΆ161.J-G)

Amend ¶ 161.J of The Book of Discipline as follows:

J) Abortion—The beginning of life . . .

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. Whenever the unborn child may be capable of surviving outside his or her mother's womb, every reasonable effort should be made to preserve both lives. Before providing their services, abortion providers should be required to offer women the option of anesthesia. We support vigorous enforcement of laws in civil society protecting the right of health care professionals not to participate in abortions as a matter of conscience.

We call all Christians . . .

We mourn, and are committed to promoting the diminishment of diminishing, high abortion rates. The Church shall encourage ministries to reduce unintended pregnancies such as comprehensive, age-appropriate sexuality education, promotion of premarital abstinence, advocacy in regard to information about 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 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 as a generally preferable alternative to abortion. (See

¶ 161.L.) 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 . . .

Rationale

United Methodists with a range of views on abortion agree that our Church should not be ashamed to clearly say that we generally prefer life-affirming alternatives to abortion; that we broadly want to protect women and late-term babies; and that no one should be forced to participate in an abortion.

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