The United Methodist General Board of Church and Society has withdrawn its support from the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), and has removed itself as a signatory to the controversial “Interfaith Call to Action on Reproductive Health” — an “open letter” to President-Elect Barack Obama calling for expanded access to “comprehensive sex education, abortion services and contraceptive information and options.”
MethodistThinker.com reported in mid-November that GBCS was urging Mr. Obama to push for passage of FOCA.
The legislation, which Mr. Obama has promised to sign, would establish “a fundamental right” to an abortion and abolish virtually every existing state and federal limitation on the practice, including parental consent and notification laws for minors.
Now, Linda Bales, director of the Louise and Hugh Moore Population Project for GBCS, says the board has changed its position.
After further examination of the ramifications of this bill and considering the most recent statement on abortion approved at our 2008 General Conference, the legislative arm of our denomination, we have withdrawn our support of this bill due to language added by the General Conference….
[O]ur Social Principle on abortion [in the United Methodist Book of Discipline] now contains a statement supporting parental, guardian or trusted adult notification in cases of minors seeking abortions. Several states have notification laws which would be overturned if FOCA was passed.
Last April, the 2008 United Methodist General Conference passed legislation acknowledging “the sanctity of unborn human life” and noting that United Methodist are bound to “respect the sacredness of life and well-being of [both] the mother and the unborn child.”
Further, the Conference “support[ed] parental, guardian, or other responsible adult notification and consent before abortions can be performed on girls who have not yet reached the age of legal adulthood.”
As in previous years, the General Conference stated that the United Methodist Church “cannot affirm abortion as an acceptable means of birth control” (¶161, The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church 2008).
|•||‘Church and Society’ to Obama: End protections for unborn|
|•||Source documents in the Methodist Building Trust case|
|•||General Board of Church and Society goes to court|