Amend ¶161.J as follows:
J) 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 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 Therefore, our Church is not of one mind regarding the precise circumstances that warrant the legal option of abortion under proper medical procedures in the first trimester of pregnancy. We cannot affirm abortion as an acceptable means of birth control, and we unconditionally reject it as a means of gender selection.
This way this sentence has been used has caused great pain and alienation for many United Methodists. As mended, it would more honestly reflect the truth of what faithful United Methodists believe, and would put us less in conflict with biblical principles and historic Christian teaching on protecting the unborn.