United Methodist Church

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The United Methodist Church is a Protestant denomination which supports legal abortion.

Pro-Abortion Position

The United Methodist Church encourages its churches and common society to engage in the following activities with the goal of encouraging "responsible parenthood":[1]

  • Safeguard the legal option of abortion under standards of sound medical practice
  • Make abortions available to women without regard to economic standards of sound medical practice, and make abortions available to women without regard to economic status;
  • Build understanding of the problems posed to society by the rapidly growing population of the world, and of the need to place personal decisions concerning childbearing in a context of the well-being of the community
  • Make provision in law and in practice for voluntary sterilization as an appropriate means, for some, for conception control and family planning

These principles were adopted in 1976, amended and readopted in 1996, and again, readopted in 2004.

The United Methodist Church made the following position statement on abortion in 2004:[2]

"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.
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."

Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice

The United Methodist Church was a founding member of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice in 1973. As at 2004, the General Board of Church and Society and the Women's Division of the General Board of Global Ministries were members of the Coalition. The United Methodist 2004 General Conference went on record in support of the work of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, and also affirmed the continued membership of the General Board of Church and Society and the Women's Division of the General Board of Global Ministries in the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.[3]

The following leaders within the United Methodist Church also have positions with the Coalition:[4]

Planned Parenthood

Various leaders within the United Methodist Church also hold advisory positions on boards of Planned Parenthood and its affiliates. These leaders include,

Planned Parenthood Clergy Advisory Board:[5]

Planned Parenthood of the Texas Capital Region Clergy Advisory Group:[6]

Planned Parenthood of North Texas:

Concerned Clergy for Choice

Concerned Clergy for Choice is a program of the Education Fund of the Family Planning Advocates of New York State. The group represents and is primarily funded by New York’s Planned Parenthood affiliates. The following UMC leaders serve on this group's advisory board:[8]

Members who work in the Abortion Industry

The following abortionists and abortion business workers are members of, and/or have, or do attend the United Methodist Church:

Members who are Abortion Lobby Leaders

Texas Statement Supporting Free Birth Control

The Statement by Texas Religious Leaders Supporting Access to Birth Control is a project of the Texas Faith Network. This group is a project of the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund which was founded in 1995 by Cecile Richards. The Statement calls on legislators to "support policies that ensure adequate funding and broad availability of birth control, especially for low- and moderate-income women." United Methodist Church leaders who signed the petition included:[11]

Religious Declaration on Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing

344 UMC pastors and leaders have signed the Religious Declaration on Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing which was coordinated by the Religious Institute and reads in part,[12]

"Faith communities must also advocate for sexual and spiritual wholeness in society. We call for... a faith-based commitment to sexual and reproductive rights, including access to voluntary contraception, abortion, and HIV/STI prevention and treatment."

Pro-Life Groups within the UMC

  • Good News (the oldest of the renewal groups)
  • The Institute on Religion and Democracy (primarily interested in the political dimension)
  • UMAction (the United Methodist desk of the Institute on Religion and Democracy)
  • Lifewatch (aka the Taskforce of United Methodists on Abortion and Sexuality)


  1. UMC: Responsible Parenthood (accessed on Sep. 13, 2012)
  2. Excerpt From The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church - 2004. Copyright 2004 by The United Methodist Publishing House
  3. United Methodist Church: Support for the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, 2004 (accessed on Sep. 13, 2012)
  4. RCRC: 2009 Annual Report
  5. Planned Parenthood Action Fund: Clergy Voices, Vol. 10, Issue 1, Fall 2007
  6. PP Austin: Clergy Advisory Group (accessed on May 31, 2012)
  7. Spotlight On Affiliate Clergy, Clergy Voices, Winter 2001 (accessed on Sep. 14, 2012)
  8. Planned Parenthood PAC: Concerned Clergy for Choice, April 2012 (accessed on July 21, 2012)
  9. Sep. 12, 2012 email from Rev. Don Lee
  10. CNN: Rick Perry’s long faith journey culminates in presidential run, Nov. 5, 2011 (accessed on Aug. 2, 2014)
  11. Texas Freedom Network: Texas Religious Leaders Support Access to Birth Control (accessed on Sep. 12, 2012)
  12. Religious Institute: Religious Declaration on Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing (accessed on Sep. 14, 2012)

External Links