Methodists Consider Changes to Abortion Stance

The United Methodists of Eastern North Carolina voted 391-323 last week to strike from the denomination’s Social Principles part of a sentence affirming abortion rights. Specifically, the resolution calls for the deletion of the clause “…we support the legal option of abortion under proper medical procedures.” The resolution will go to the General Conference of the United Methodist Church (UMC) next year. One opponent of the resolution, Rev. Steve Hickle, told the Charlotte News & Observer that he did not think it would pass: “The United Methodist Church will continue to support women making choices in extremely difficult circumstances.” The resolution also calls on two agencies within the Church to withdraw as members from the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC).

Methodists attending the annual Memphis Conference of the UMC, which includes West Tennessee and western Kentucky, rejected a resolution to withdraw from RCRC, and they voted against amending the Church’s support of abortion, according to the Associated Press. Grace Colehill told the Jackson Sun News that she voted against both resolutions because she has “seen mothers die because of birth complications” because of staunch anti-abortion beliefs. Bishop William Morris addressed the demand for women clergy members, saying, “We’re still struggling with sexism in terms of gender,” the Sun News reports.

Meanwhile, the Pope urged Catholics in Croatia to adhere to traditional family values resting on women’s “lofty vocations” as wives, mothers, and nurturers, according to the New York Times. The Pope also spoke out against gay marriage, reiterating that “God’s authentic plan” for the family is founded on “the stable and faithful union of a man and a woman…,” according to Reuters.


Charlotte News & Observer 6/5/03; Associated Press 6/6/03; New York Times 6/6/03; Reuters 6/8/03; United Methodist Church

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