Since 1973, abortion has been the most deeply divisive moral and political problem in American society and in The United Methodist Church. Why should you care?
Because as this division continues, the numbers of abortions mount. In the United States there are around 1,500,000 abortions performed each year. That means there are, on average, over 4,000 abortions performed each day. That adds up to over 61,000,000 abortions performed in the United States since 1973.
Sad to say, today’s abortion debate pits the mother against her unborn child. That is, one side of the debate claims to love the pregnant woman by granting her the legal choice to abort; unfortunately, this side usually ignores the life of the unborn child (and leaves the mother, who almost always desires alternatives to abortion, without any assistance). The other side of the debate claims to love the unborn child by working to establish legal protection for the unborn; unfortunately, this side is, at times, unresponsive to the mother facing a difficult pregnancy. In today’s abortion debate, love and compassion have often been selectively directed either to the mother or to her unborn child.
Lifewatch believes that United Methodists, upholding the Christian faith transmitted by the Church through the ages, desire to love them both. Lifewatch believes that United Methodists, understanding that God is the Creator of all people, desire to love them both. Lifewatch believes that United Methodists, recognizing God-given human dignity in both the mother and her unborn child, desire to love them both.
Faithful United Methodists are not interested in loving either the mother or her child. Instead, faithful United Methodists are committed to loving both the mother and her child. Faithful United Methodists see that loving both mother and child brings the mother to love, and give birth to, her child. Faithful United Methodists see that loving both is the way toward life, not death.
Unfortunately, the official position of The United Methodist Church on abortion (as stated in The Book of Discipline) is an unsatisfactory compromise. It is a compromise between the pro-choice and pro-life perspectives which are current in American politics. It is unsatisfactory because it allows our denomination – including clergy and laity, congregations and agencies – to choose to neglect, at will, either the mother or her unborn child. (For example, for many years our church’s position permitted United Methodist participation in the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, a politically pro-abortion lobby.) Indeed, the church’s unsatisfactory compromise allows United Methodists to practice a false love that gives the vulnerable, pregnant woman no alternatives to abortion. Our church dare not abandon the pregnant woman in difficult circumstances to an alleged choice that offers no alternatives. That is the way of the world.
Instead, our church can, with God’s grace, dare to love both the mother and her unborn child. With your attention, with your help, with your support, our church can and will more faithfully love them both, in the name of Jesus Christ.
Matthew 25:35-36 (Revised RSV)
I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me drink…
I was naked and you clothed me,
I was sick and you visited me,
I was in prison and you came to me…
I was alone and with child, and you welcomed us.