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, for whom devastating damage may result from an unacceptable pregnancy. In continuity with past Christian teaching, we recognize tragic conflicts of life with life that may justify abortion, and in such cases we support the legal option of abortion under proper medical procedures. We cannot affirm abortion as an acceptable means of birth control, and we unconditionally reject it 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. We call all Christians to a searching and prayerful inquiry into the sorts of conditions that may warrant abortion. 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. (See ¶ 161.K.)
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, pastoral, and other appropriate counsel.
From The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church - 2004. Copyright 2004 by The United Methodist Publishing House. Used by permission.
Churches are exempt from the new rules: Churches and other houses of worship will be exempt from the requirement to offer insurance that covers contraception.
No individual health care provider will be forced to prescribe contraception: The President and this Administration have previously and continue to express strong support for existing conscience protections. For example, no Catholic doctor is forced to write a prescription for contraception.
No individual will be forced to buy or use contraception: This rule only applies to what insurance companies cover. Under this policy, women who want contraception will have access to it through their insurance without paying a co-pay or deductible. But no one will be forced to buy or use contraception.
Drugs that cause abortion are not covered by this policy: Drugs like RU486 are not covered by this policy, and nothing about this policy changes the President’s firm commitment to maintaining strict limitations on Federal funding for abortions. No Federal tax dollars are used for elective abortions.
Over half of Americans already live in the 28 States that require insurance companies cover contraception: Several of these States like North Carolina, New York, and California have identical religious employer exemptions. Some States like Colorado, Georgia and Wisconsin have no exemption at all.
Contraception is used by most women: According to a study by the Guttmacher Institute, most women, including 98 percent of Catholic women, have used contraception.
Contraception coverage reduces costs: While the monthly cost of contraception for women ranges from $30 to $50, insurers and experts agree that savings more than offset the cost. The National Business Group on Health estimated that it would cost employers 15 to 17 percent more not to provide contraceptive coverage than to provide such coverage, after accounting for both the direct medical costs of potentially unintended and unhealthy pregnancy and indirect costs such as employee absence and reduced productivity.
First, I am pro-life. Second, I do not believe that laws will ever give anyone the satisfactory answer to this. As a good Democrat, I believe that education and economics will lead to decreased abortions. Further, evidence bares that out. Also, the term ‘abortion’ has been so politicized, it is difficult to actually speak about anything that looks like the cessation of the life of the fetus. The idea that the removing of a mound of flesh which is only human at the DNA level is still considered a late-term abortion is nothing but a political move. Being pro-life doesn’t end at birth, however. I don’t believe in the death penalty; I support governmental programs which enable a quality of life. I also support the life of the mother.
I do not support the President’s actions in mandating that religious institutions go against their beliefs and offer birth control. I understand that President’s reasoning, however:
I think about honor killings, female genital mutilation, Sabbath rest, kosher foods, and polygamy, somethings which are inherent in several world religions. For many, there are not political protections and for others, we find out right legal prevention. We have asked them to go against their religious beliefs to live in a pluralistic society. However, many of those things are allowed within the confines of the religious institution. Sabbath Rest, kosher food, even snake handling, and other religious beliefs are freely exercised by religious institutions with little or no hindrance from the Government. If this was a life saving measure, then yes, I would agree that the Government, as it defends its citizens, must step in. As a matter of fact, as I read the words of Catholic Church, birth control of some form is allowed in some cases, including the health of the person. Another factor I’ve considered in this, in my response to this, is that for the most part, we live in a country where employment is not controlled. In other words, I could find a job and not be pushed into one by an outside force. For instance, I don’t agree with strip clubs. I’m not going to work there. Second, I’ve considered the idea that on the whole, clinics offer birth control for women at free or reduced rates. To push this on religious institutions which are serving the common good is to begin to push the religious institutions to consider whether or not to be effective in society, they must cease to be who they are.
Yesterday, the story broke that the Susan G. Komen Foundation, a cancer research and awareness organization, would cease from supporting Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood is, of course, the evil abortion provider which has become the favorite whipping post of the Conservative Right. Now, with a new Vice-President, Komen will no longer donate to Planned Parenthood monies which went to support poor women in fighting breast and other cancers by early detection. The issue with Planned Parenthood is that for many, they see it as an abortion providing service; in fact, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Abortions, and I have to use that term because I don’t know what they really are, amount to only 3% of the total procedures done by Planned Parenthood. I caution you to consider that not every abortion involves the cessation of life. Komen bowed to political pressure which will have the unintended consequences of hurting more women than helping.
This is from the Planned Parenthood website:
Planned Parenthood health centers focus on prevention: 76 percent of our clients receive services to prevent unintended pregnancy.
Planned Parenthood services help prevent more than 584,000 unintended pregnancies each year.
Planned Parenthood provides nearly 770,000 Pap tests and nearly750,000 breast exams each year, critical services in detecting cancer.
Planned Parenthood provides more than four million tests and treatments for sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.
Three percent of all Planned Parenthood health services are abortion services.
Planned Parenthood affiliates provide educational programs to more than1.1 million young people and adults each year.
Whether or not you support abortion for any reason, and by abortion, I mean the unnatural cessation of life, the fact that Planned Parenthood, in 97% of their health services, offers family planning, free cancer screenings for women, and treatments for STD’s should be enough to consider that the notion that all they do, or even the majority that they do, is provide abortion is a false one used to engender support for Conservative Right causes.
I detest abortion, and the more so when I look at my three children, the more so when I consider the great minds who would have been lost had they been aborted, the more so when I consider the great minds, hearts, and spirits which have been lost because of elective abortion. The cure, though, is a long process of many treatments. We must first treat the fact the idea that a law will someone prevent abortions and not force women to mutilate themselves. Second, a treatment must be made to de-politicize the debate. Third, we must treat the notion that being pro-life excludes abortion for all reasons and ends at birth. Fourth, we must not let people suffer because of the fear of being branded poorly. Five, the Church must step up to the plate in being a community which heals.
Now, I know this may anger some of you, but I ask you to consider, slowly, what I’m saying here.
One of the many scary consequences with reading books on ethics and theology is every now and then, you read something that forces you to reevaluate your current beliefs. It’s scary in the sense that you don’t know the outcome of this reevaluation. Sometimes, after you’ve had a chance to work through the issues, you’re beliefs stay the same. But, you are more informed about your beliefs and any objections that may be raised concerning those beliefs. Other times, this reevaluation causes you to completely change your beliefs in some way.
I’m currently working my way through Kingdom Ethicsby Glen H. Stassen and David P. Gushee. This is one of those books I’ve been meaning to get to for a while. This is one of those books that has forced me to reevaluate what I believe and why.
I’m not vain enough to assume that my beliefs are infallible and welcome chances to reevaluate what I believe. It just seems to fit with the process of discernment that I’ve been going through for most of the year. It seems that recently, I’ve been doing a lot of evaluation. Over the past few months I’ve been sporadically documenting how my beliefs have changed.
Moved from pro-capital punishment to anti-capital punishment-The more involved I get with justice issues, the more I came to see the injustices within and the issues surrounding this system of “retributive justice.”
Moved from purely pro-choice belief to being morally pro-life, but legally pro-choice-I’ve actually been here for a while, I just couldn’t express my beliefs accuratly enough to categorize myself into a group.
Five Republican presidential candidates have signed a pledge to advance the anti-abortion movement if elected to the White House, but the current front runner for the 2012 GOP nomination — Mitt Romney — isn’t one of them.
Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Tim Pawlenty and Rick Santorum each signed the pledge, sponsored by Susan B. Anthony List, vowing to nominate judges and appoint executive branch officials who are opposed to abortion. The pledge also commit signers to push legislation to end all taxpayer funding of abortion and to sign a law to “protect unborn children who are capable of feeling pain from abortion.”
“Governor Romney pledged in the last campaign that he would be a pro-life president and of course he pledges it today,” said spokeswoman Andrea Saul in a statement. “However, this well-intentioned effort has some potentially unforeseen consequences and he does not feel he could in good conscience sign it.”