Petition 81097

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Abortion (81097-C2-¶161.J)

Amend ¶161.J as indicated:
Abortion – 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 unable reluctant to approve abortion.   But we  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 God has entrusted the nurturing of this unborn human life placed in her womb.   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  cause them to consider 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 decisions concerning abortion should be made only after thoughtful and prayerful consideration by the parties involved, with medical, pastoral, and other appropriate counsel.

Rationale

Scripture is primary (¶104).  Scripture clearly defines life as beginning in the womb (Psalm 139:13-15; Jeremiah 1:5) and the ending of that life as wrong (Exodus 20:13).  The Book of Discipline should conform to Scripture.  John Wesley would vote for this petition saying, “My ground is the Bible.”