The day I was most ashamed to be a United Methodist

umc bag on headSee my follow-up: A pastor’s note to women who have had abortions — and to those who assisted or insisted

I’ve had many days that I was incredibly proud to be a United Methodist. Many of those have been after natural disasters struck and the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) was, as always, one of the first and most important responders. Other days of pride have come when I was reminded of incredible works of compassion like Imagine No Malaria, which has helped cut in half deaths due to malaria in less than a decade. I was even rather proud today to learn that UMC pastor Adam Hamilton would be preaching at the Presidential Inaugural Prayer Service.

Things like these are some of the reasons I’ve given before for why I am (still) a United Methodist. My recent post on why I love Wesleyan theology explains another point of pride.

And I’ve had plenty of reservations and frustrations and days when I was embarrassed to be a United Methodist. Watching the catastrophe that was General Conference 2012 was tough — perhaps best summed up by @BrettDeHart’s classic tweet, “UMC Judicial Council orders Titanic deck chairs returned to original position.” You’ve seen other disappointments and frustrations in “Why the American UMC is Dying a (Somewhat) Slow Death,” “The Stuck State of the UMC,” “What does ordination mean?” and “How would John Wesley do bishops’ elections?

But today is probably the day I have been most ashamed to be a United Methodist. The cause for that shame is this joint press release from key representatives for United Methodist Women and the UM General Board of Church and Society.

The press release notes that it comes on the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. It celebrates years “devoid of unnecessary deaths.” It laments that “we continue to face opposition to keeping abortion safe, legal, accessible and rare.” It laments rising maternal mortality rates and women who “die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth.” It claims to await God’s kingdom on earth, “in which all pregnancies are intended.” It uses the word justice four times.

Not once does it mention unborn children’s unnecessary deaths, which have often come at the hands of people whose conveniences, preferences, or lifestyles were threatened far more than their physical well-being. Not once does it lament the killing of these children or cry out for justice for them. It suggests that unintended pregnancies would have no part in the kingdom of God, and even implies that abortion would be an acceptable option in those cases.

How in the world can you write a press release chock-full of “justice” and “kingdom of God” and “unnecessary deaths” without ONCE mourning the killing of unborn children?!?

How can you write this press release and use the word “rare” twice in passing without acknowledging how many abortion deaths are due to convenience, not threat to physical well-being?

How can the representative for the UMW’s “Office of Children, Youth & Family Advocacy” fail to even once mention advocacy for unborn children?

I can understand a Christian position that is concerned for women whose lives are put at serious risk. In that, I celebrate many of the things this press release celebrates and lament many of the things the press release laments. I’m torn, and not sure of my ultimate position, but can at least understand a position that would advocate for legal abortions in some of these worst-case circumstances. Any discussion of abortion must, at least, seriously consider these concerns.

But I can’t even comprehend such a one-sided statement as this. When representatives of the Church stand so strongly on one side of a two-sided justice issue like this, it grossly misrepresents the gospel. I hope that regardless of which side of any political aisle anyone might be on, we would agree that talk about the kingdom of God in reference to abortion is grossly incomplete without mourning the loss of life for unborn children.

I know some will try to say that this press release was from two individuals who happen to be in these positions in the UMC. That’s unacceptable. Especially since the General Board of Church and Society posted it to their webpage. I was disgusted — nearly physically ill — to read this statement from the church that I am a part of.

[Update: Bill Arnold’s comment below notes that the press release badly misrepresents and distorts the UMC’s actual position. Unfortunately, he also notes the entire lack of accountability our boards and agencies (and I would add, bishops) seem to have. A note to our leaders: if you can/will not find a way to hold people accountable, why waste time working out official positions/statements in the first place?]

To non-Methodists, I apologize for my denomination in this. This is an unfit representation of the gospel.

So A Call to Action

Are you a UMC member or pastor? Is there a United Methodist Women’s group in your church? I think it’s time to financially cut ties with this organization. Please encourage any UMW groups in your church to stop sending them money. I believe they’re misrepresenting the gospel to the point that the Christian cause would be better off without them. Yes, they are doing some very good things. But others are doing very good things. Send your money to them instead. Send it to “Imagine No Malaria” or UMCOR. For Methodist women’s ministries, consider instead the Renew Network.

In “The local church’s competition,” I just said that most Christian groups and charities should be seen as allies, not competition. Frankly, I’m at the point of moving UMW to the other side of that equation. Such gross misrepresentations and distortions of the gospel as this (no, this isn’t the first; this is a tipping point for me) are doing us terrible harm.

For all of my celebrations and all of my frustrations with the UMC, I suspect that if I ever leave, it will be because the UMC gives major money and prominence to groups that would put out statements like this — and that use considerable money to support causes that reflect this perspective.

And See my follow-up: A pastor’s note to women who have had abortions — and to those who assisted or insisted

39 thoughts on “The day I was most ashamed to be a United Methodist

  1. How in the world can you write a press release chock-full of “justice” and “kingdom of God” and “unnecessary deaths” without ONCE mourning the killing of unborn children?!?

    The cognitive dissonance needed to hold their position is truly astounding. They simply cannot admit what abortion has been responsible for, because then they must admit that they have been complicit in the slaughter of tens of millions of innocent lives.

  2. The church I serve has no UMW unit and I could not be happier after statements like the one released today. What they released today was an embarrassment to me and I am truly ashamed of their actions. They do not represent me or the congregations I serve or have served nor will they in the future.

  3. Not only is their position a gross misrepresentation and distortion of the gospel, as you say here, but ironically, it’s also a distortion of the very Social Principle of the UMC they quote at the beginning of their article. The clear intent of the sentence “we recognize tragic conflicts of life with life” is to allow for abortions specifically when the life of the mother is in danger, or the life of the unborn baby threatens her life. They have (mis)interpreted the statement, which is the only official position of the UMC on abortion (paragraph 161J of the Book of Discipline) by taking it out of context, resulting in a completely twisted reading. I would give this student a D+ in any hermeneutics class in Seminary.

    The reality is the official statement of the UMC on abortion is sensitive and balanced. In general, it’s a pro-life statement that comes amazingly close to the Ronald Reagan position of the mid-1980s. But the UMW and General Board of Church & Society have long functioned as though the statement is, in fact, a pro-abortion mandate, illustrating again the lack of accountability between the General Conference and its boards and agencies.

    • Thanks for this, Bill. Very well said. If the UMC doesn’t find a way to hold its bishops, boards and agencies accountable for their many recent public misrepresentations of our standards, we might as well do away with the standards.

      I agree that the statement in the Discipline is sensitive, balanced, and one that I can affirm. If only our most public representatives would represent our official statements.

      • So many of our documents are really beautiful. They are both grounded and nuanced and capture our best very well. I wish we were more faithful to them too. I was amazed at what I read in the Discipline when I read most of it for Polity. Much of it was thoughtful and encouraging! The GBCS+UMW document is not.

  4. Teddy,

    Thanks for this post and thanks for all the comments. I too am appauled by the statement of the UMW and GBCS, but I am not shocked…at least with the GBCS side. It is so frustrating to me as a local pastor that I will have to answer questions from many parishioners on “why groups are allowed to make such comments that go clearly against what we teach.” Many people will think their article is “what we teach.” The higher levels of organization are supposed to support the local church, but the post by UMW and GBCS does nothing but create fires in the church.

    On the note of the local church…I know this is not the point of your article, but I would like to hear from people how their local churches have been agents of healing to women with unexpected pregnancies and women who have had abortions. I think our goal should be to stand firm with the beliefs of the UMC in the Social Principles. I also think it is our job to help people recover and find healing from the past as well. I hope that the church can be a place of support to mothers. How are people reading this post doing that in their church?

    I think that it is the job of local church with the help of sound agencies to be there in people’s darkest times. I think the local church can be more effective than “larger entities” that are mentioned in your article and others comments b/c of their polarizing effect and many times their articles and videos send groups into hysteria rather than meeting individual needs in crisis. I’m sure these groups are good at getting information out and taking a stand on one side or the other, but it is the local church that needs to be on the ground level working with parishioners through these times of confusion, guilt, fear and crisis.

    So…if anyone is willing…what is your church doing to support expectant and unexpectant mothers and help women who have had an abortion heal.

  5. and I heard that the GBCS is closed on Monday…maybe they could just stay closed. Ok…that was petty…but is it an option 🙂

  6. As a college student in the 1970’s I was an advocate for the legalization of abortion. I still am. I honestly believe abortion SHOULD be “safe, legal, and rare.” It is sadly true, that abortion is too often used as a birth control method, and I DEPLORE such use. However, I have seen too many situations where I believe abortion was the best option to say that abortion should be illegal.

    For example, a married, pregnant woman in my congregation became pregnant with twins. It was a rare medical situation, but she and her husband had to face a choice–should they bring two seriously disabled children into the world; or should they abort one and have one healthy child.

    In another congregation I served, a 12 year old girl was impregnated by her step-father.

    In another situation, a mentally deficient woman who attended my church, married a drug-abusing street person. This couple could barely survive themselves; let alone care for a child.

    As a pastor I have seen too many situations where bringing a child into the world would be a bad decision.

    Ideally, there would be no unwanted pregnancies; no teenage pregnancies, no rapes, etc. But that is not the reality.

    The position of our church is correct. The United Methodist Women is a great organization that does much to inform women, and to help women and children around the world. I appreciate being a member of this wonderful organization.

    • Hi Holly,

      I agree that the position of our church is correct — or at least affirmable. The problem is that this press release terribly perverted our position — speaking strongly in favor of reproductive justice while implicitly suggesting that abortion might be affirmed in situations that have nothing to do with threat to the mother’s life. Probably worst of all, it celebrates decades “devoid of unnecessary deaths” while turning a blind eye to deaths of unborn children. That stance is incompatible with the UM position. See Bill Arnold’s comment above, which I think accurately captures how terribly this press release misinterpreted the UM position.

    • Is this to say then that you do not believe that God loves and cares for disabled, neglected, poor children? That God could not and would not walk with them every day of their sacred life and use them to bring the Kingdom of God to us? Who are you to judge the value of a life before it is given the chance to breathe its first breath? And for that matter should we terminate all unfortunate people who live within terrible circumstances so that they suffer no more? Your logic is confusing to me.

  7. Holly…thanks for the realness of your post that brings particular situations and persons to “the issue.” Question…how would you say that the option of adoption influence some of the circumstances above?

  8. Right on, Teddy. I have noticed that people who have to abort for medical reasons do not tend to laud their right to choose. They rather grieve the loss of their child. The statement put out is entirely void of that sensibility and, as Rico states, the cognitive dissonance is tragic and astounding.

  9. Hey Teddy,

    If it is any consolation, shortly before I was to be confirmed in the Episcopal Church, Katherine Ragsdale, who had been unanimously appointed as dean of The Episcopal Divinity School (associated with Harvard Divinity) made this concluding statement in a celebrated speech/sermon concerning the ‘good’ of abortion: “These are the two things I want you, please, to remember – abortion is a blessing and our work is not done. Let me hear you say it: abortion is a blessing and our work is not done. Abortion is a blessing and our work is not done. Abortion is a blessing and our work is not done.” Her speech/sermon definitely made me reconsider receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation, and if I was a Donatist, perhaps I would have abstained altogether.

    The larger problem, I think, is a theology of sexuality (or lack thereof), and I wonder if Protestantism (and more particularly, Evangelicalism) has the resources to provide a coherent theology here. As Lauren alludes to, all of these issues (homosexuality, abortion, contraceptives, masturbation, etc.) are intrinsically linked together. A lot of excellent work is being done by a handful of Catholic theologians and by an increasing number of queer theologians (though primarily in Europe), yet it seems, unfortunately, the entire discussion is popularized and co-opted within a modern liberal, democratic, capitalistic framework. This is truly lamentable for those on both sides.

    • CalebsHenry,

      I appreciate your comments. I do not believe that Protestants want to deal with the human sexuality issue; at least in a holistic way. While abhorring abortion, we fail to see that it is linked to our wider sexual ethic. Ask a Catholic what sex is for, and s/he will have a ready answer. It is for reproduction, the unitive nature of the act, and pleasure. Take the first and second element away, and you have hedonism. The question of meaning in the sexual act hardly even enters the Protestant worldview. If it did, we would also have to ask how birth control and masturbation enter into our view, and we simply aren’t prepared to deal with that.

      Of course, a strictly Catholic/Thomistic view has its problems. I’m reminded that Aquinas viewed masturbation as a greater sin than rape because it ruined any chance for the creation of a child. Even despite the wooden views we sin in history, though, it seems to me that our view of sex is vitally connected to our view of God. Certainly the law of nature gives us SOME insight into the mind of God.

      Blessings,
      Adam

    • I love you, Caleb. You were the first person to point out to me the incoherence in a lot of Evangelical rhetoric/theology about sexuality and our need for a better, more coherent, less polemical discussion — much like the one Teddy opens the door for here, while, of course, taking a decidedly conservative stance.

  10. Alright Teddy, you’re probably getting annoyed with my links by now, but Caleb and Adam have hit the nail on the head with some of their comments. Your previous post about Pornography, along with this post, remind me that I need to pick up this book and read it a.s.a.p.! And really, thank you for having this conversation.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ObPcaJE-8Q

  11. This might be slightly off topic, but re: Aquinas’ understanding of the gravity of certain sins- it actually does not seem to be the case that he considered masturbation to be a greater sin than rape, all things considered. The context of Summa II:II q.154 is in the discussion of the virtue of chastity (under temperance) and its opposing vice of lust. He mentions that- in the species of lust specifically- masturbation would be a graver sin than rape. However, it must be borne in mind that Aquinas is treating the question only within the species of lust abstracted from other considerations. Since rape involves violence and bodily harm, and is thus a violation of justice which is a higher virtue than temperance, rape would thus be a graver sin.

      • Adam- no problem 🙂 I was also meaning to say (but forgot to because it was waaaaayyyy too early in the morning when I was writing) that I thought your observations viz-a-viz protestantism’s approach to sexuality and the lack of meaning attributed to the sexual act were apropos. This statement- “While abhorring abortion, we fail to see that it is linked to our wider sexual ethic”- is a spot-on diagnosis.

    • Hey Devian7monk,

      Your read/interpretation of Aquinas certainly lessens the problematic alluded to by Adam Roe, but I’m not sure if it completely circumvents it altogether, especially once other considerations in the initial comparison are identical. For instance, even granting all your logical qualifications to Aquinas’s argument here (which seem to be reasonable qualifications, though I might refrain judgement at this point, claiming Thomistic ignorance), if someone violently and forcefully masturbated someone else against their will, this would, at least for the Aquinas described above, be understood as a graver sin than raping them. Please correct me if I’m not following the logic correctly. The addition of all the other qualifiers to Adam’s/Aquinas’ initial statement (masturbation is a graver sin than rape), then, seems only to alleviate the problem slightly, if not merely obfuscate it.

      • caleb-

        Thanks for response! I think I see what you’re getting at here, but I think there are some additional considerations that might shed more light on this question.

        Firstly, Aquinas’ treatment of many of the species of lust is whether or not they should actually be categorized as species of lust at all. For example, in II-II. q.154, a.7, Obj 2 it is objected that rape- which implies violence- should not be considered a species of lust (since it would relate to injustice). Aquinas’ treatment of the taxonomy here is that since he defines sexual sins as arising from concupiscence and having as an end venereal pleasure, they therefore should be defined as a species of lust. This definition, however, does not imply that a certain act cannot have two vices, since he states elsewhere (II-II, q. 154, a. 1, Reply 2) that “nothing hinders the deformities of different vices concurring in the one act…”

        Secondly, in his treatment of masturbation he considers the question so far as the person who commits it does so in “seeking venereal pleasure not in accordance with right reason.” Since violently forcing someone to ‘masturbate’ would not, within the victim’s will, be directed towards venereal pleasure, it would therefore not be the same act. While Aquinas doesn’t specifically treat of this scenario, given that he attaches the qualifier of ‘violence’ to rape (II-II, q.154, a.1), it seems reasonable that such a scenario would fall under rape within the species of lust, since presumably the motive for such an act is venereal pleasure. And as the violence would also bring along with it an affront to injustice, it would be an act that is against justice.

        However, if there was no seeking of venereal pleasure on the part of the aggressor (say he just wanted to humiliate someone), then such an act would probably not be a species of lust at all but of injustice.

      • devian7monk,

        We’ve certainly digressed from Teddy’s original post, and it seems the “reply” button has been disabled on your reply to my comment above. I won’t belabor my point since it seems we’ve come full circle and started retracing our steps with your latest response, but I did want to make one last reply.

        Though I find these latest “additional considerations” add a certain nuance and greater complexity to our discussion, I can’t help finding them rather superfluous additions to an otherwise transparent dilemma. The hypothetical situation involves rape-via-sexual-intercourse vis-a-vis rape-via-masturbation with everything else being the same: the perpetrator’s intent (venereal pleasure originating out of concupiscence), the response of the victim, seminal discharge, etcetera, etcetera. The only real difference between these sexual activities, then, is that one remains open to procreation while the other does not. If new “categories” and “species” of sin/lust are applied in one situation, they can easily be transferred to the other as well. I don’t think I need to rearticulate our hypothetical dilemma/situation to demonstrate how these new considerations can be deconstructed by assimilating them equally within both sides of the equation/dilemma in question.

        In short, this read of Aquinas still seems one in which rape-via-masturbation is understood as a graver sin than rape-via-sexual-intercourse, and I am uncomfortable with this. Ultimately, my discomfort stems from my larger dissatisfaction with a particular type of rigid sexual ethic found within certain strands of Roman Catholicism and Protestant fundamentalism (though representatives of the latter group often group natural family planning within the category of contraception), but this is to return to Adam Roe’s initial comment which spawned this whole discussion.

      • (apologies to Teddy if this comment continues a thread meant to be closed. It will be my final thought in this manner.)

        caleb-

        I think one major difficulty with the attempt at deconstruction here is that such a reading conflates one act that arises out of intentionality on the part of its subject (masturbation in this case) with an act that does not have intentionality on the part of the person being forced. That is, there would be no rape-via-masturbation since the person being raped could not have the latter act attributed to them. The similarity to masturbation is merely apparent, somewhat analogous to the apparent similarity between fornication and adultery. As such, the categories and species could only be transferred in a manner which is disconnected from the species (about which Aquinas is somewhat precise), since the situation is not merely the act but also the intention in the subject, the object of the act and the different virtues/vices which may reside in the sin.

        Another difficulty is the way in which the virtues (and thus the corresponding vices) are subsumed within each other by order of rank. Aquinas seems to view each virtue as overflowing on to the one which is below it, and thus “whoever can do what is harder, can do what is less difficult.” Accordingly, a number of violations against chastity does not compound an aggregate over-against the gravity of injustice. Thus, in the hypothetical situation both would be a violation of justice (as I already mentioned) and thus both would have the gravity of a sin against justice.

        Thanks for the discussion!

  12. I’ll try to post this, again, Teddy.

    I think Caleb is right, above, that the Protestant sexual ethic is severally under-developed and incredibly immature. And because of this, the only thing we can do is resort to polemics.

    With that said, I am concerned that my denomination (and, obviously, yours) is approving (at least implicitly) this kind of trash. You understand our denomination better than I do, since I’m a new comer — so why doesn’t anyone at the top do anything about this? Why is it that these people are allowed to speak for you and me on this topic without being reprimanded or punished for going against what the BoD teaches? This is the thing that concerns and confuses me the most in United Methodism…there were greater consequences in the free church Baptist denominations I came from AND THEY DIDN’T HAVE NEAR THE HIERARCHY OR ACCOUNTABILITY we do.

    You’re doing great work with your blog, Teddy. It’s really helpful to people like me who are just getting our feet wet in this stuff.

  13. I love the confluence of bright and thoughtful people on some of these topics. I just get the ball rolling, and all of you contribute some great next points for discussion. Thanks!

    I’ll respond to the one piece I can probably handle in a comment rather than a full post… Tom, you ask why the ridiculous lack of accountability. I’ve been around this longer than you, so I understand it a bit better — but several others understand it much better than I do, so hopefully one of them can chime in…

    The UMC has established a convoluted system of accountability where the boards and agencies report to the General Conference at the end of the day. And the GC only meets every 4 years. And has a ton to do. And ends up doing very little due to politics. And those who tend to be considered “liberals” are in the minority and losing ground. So they play politics. At GC 2012, they staged a protest/demonstration on the GC floor after they were on the losing side of a vote. They only agreed to back down after receiving concessions from a group of bishops. Those concessions basically prevented any more social issues, which they knew they would lose, from making the agenda. See Bill Arnold’s helpful and poignant narrative: http://www.catalystresources.org/issues/391Arnold.htm

    So the only accountability comes from the GC, where those who want UMW and GBCS to do more like this find ways to politically ensure they are protected. And when people try to change lines of accountability (as at GC 2012), our Judicial Council rules it unconstitutional.

    In short, when it comes to accountability at the higher levels of the UMC, the emperor has no clothes. And those who are more blatantly defying the UMC’s stated positions know it. This is why I’m telling people to cut the purse strings. It’s the only real accountability we have.

  14. I don’t serve as a local pastor any more (I’m a college chaplain) but I share your discouragement and disgust with hypocritical and twisted press releases by agency execs. Be not weary in welldoing!

  15. Pingback: A pastor’s note to women who have had abortions – and to those who assisted or insisted « teddy ray

  16. The problem with cutting the purse strings is that the UMW does so much more than just this one piece of what they do. It’s so hard to pick and choose to continue to support only parts of the things they do. And some of what they do is flat out crazy amazing, even if you/we disagree with a few statements. It’s difficult to use the purse strings as your own accountability, only because they do so much more than these statements.

    • Thanks DG. I don’t disagree that UMW (and GBCS) do some good things. Even some crazy good things. And if they came out with small statements that irked me a bit, I wouldn’t be advocating the same. But as Bill Arnold notes above, they have consistently and brazenly misinterpreted the United Methodist Church’s position on certain issues and misrepresented us. When they do so in ways as offensive as this — with no accountability — I think it’s time to pull the purse strings. I think there are other groups who would do just as much good — and far less harm — if they had the money that UMW receives.

      If Westboro Baptist were doing crazy good things, along with the reprehensible things they do, I’d still think it better for the Christian mission for them to go away. And I’d encourage people not to give them money.

  17. Before deciding to cut off the UMW financially, please learn about The Brooks-Howell Home in Asheville, NC. Many missionaries who offered themselves in service for the sake of the gospel are now retired and dependent on the UMW for their end of life care. By all means, fight for justice. Work within the system for change, but please remember these ones who abandoned lives of comfort to live sacrificially! http://www.brooks-howell.org

  18. My husband is a UMC pastor, and I have made every effort to be involved in as many activities as possible at each church we have been appointed. We have been at some very large churches, and a few years ago I was involved in the UMW of a large downtown church. The UMW president asked me one day if I would be willing to stand up before the general meeting with some other women and read a portion of a call to action. I said sure, thinking it would have something to do with hunger relief or literacy, etc. I didn’t really have a chance to read my part until we were standing up there. It turns out it was a oratory on why we should protest the embargo of Cuba. The readings were all about how wonderful Fidel Castro was and how he is ‘allowing’ the Christian faith to flourish under is leadership. I got up and walked out of the meeting, then informed the president and my circle that I would not be participating with UMW again, and I haven’t since then. There is a line between human rights, social justice, and political agenda, and that crossed it. I know of few UMW groups that are still alive in our conference, thank goodness.

  19. No offense, but where have you been? Are you just now embarrassed to be UMC? Why did this press release even surprise you?

    I was embarrassed to be a UMC as a Spiritual Growth director of UMW on the district when I realized that the UMW didn’t really want prayer and Bible study unless it supported a liberal cause, in many cases cases distorting scripture. I was really embarrassed when a “green team” leader sent me an email and told me that I should find another denomination when I questioned his anti-Biblical, the “sky is falling” and “God is going to make the Sun destroy us” environmental extremism. I was embarrassed when the UMC’s worship division published litanies on their website to be used during worship lauding Barrack Obama after the 2008 election. I was horrified when the Women’s Division had Planned Parenthood involved in a quadrennial meeting spouting “more than abortion,” encouraging UMW to march for “women’s rights.” When I voiced my concern about the church and abortion — the freeze-out from my “sisters-in-Christ” was astonishing.

    So when the 2012 Convention couldn’t even pull itself together to vote to rescind church support of the most heinous moral failing of the modern church — supporting the murder of an entire generation of children, of largely minority and financially challenged women, through abortion. I left.

    I suppose I’m glad you finally noticed.

  20. Pingback: The emperor has no clothes, or The illusion of authority in the UMC « teddy ray

  21. If I ever leave the United Methodist Church, it will be because the UMC has officially become a church which does not respect women and their right to make their own choices about having children.. Most of what I read about abortion that is written by advocates of “forced birth” is judgmental and misinformed. The accusation that women have abortions because the pregnancy is inconvenient is a hateful lie. Most women have abortions because they cannot afford to support a child or another child. For the record, abortion is safer than childbirth and causes no harm to a woman’s reproductive system and does not prevent her from having children in the future.The vast majority of women who have mental health issues after abortion had those issues before the abortion. Approximately fifty million women have had an abortion. That comes to approximately one in three women before they are forty-five. If abortion really caused significant numbers of physical or mental injury to women, there would be an enormous public health issue related to abortion and there is not.

    With regard to spiritual issues, nothing in the Bible speaks to abortion but Christ himself spoke against divorce. Yet, many Methodists, including pastors, have divorced and remarried and are wonderful church leaders. Even if one believes that the microscopic cells or peanuts which make up most abortions have spirits, can you think of anything better than to have that spirit reunite with our Maker than to live a very difficult life?

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