Petition 81454

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Abortion (81454-C2-R9999)

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WHEREAS, the Church has consistently witnessed and ministered, through the ages, to protect the unborn human life and the mother from abortion;
  
WHEREAS scripture reflects a strong sanctity of life perspective which indicates that the unborn child is created and seen by God (Psalm 139:13-16), considered worthy to be called by name (Isaiah 49:1, 5),  set apart for specific tasks (Jeremiah 1:4-5) and affirmed as a person (Isaiah 44:2,24; Luke 1:41-45; Psalm 95:6-7, 100:3, 119:73);
  
WHEREAS, the United States Supreme Court’s 1973 decision, Roe v. Wade, overturned state abortion laws and established abortion rights throughout the United States;
WHEREAS, from 1973 until 2002, over 42 million abortions have been performed in American society (“Facts on Induced Abortion in the United States,” Guttmacher Institute, Facts in Brief, June 2006, www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_induced_abortion.pdf <http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_induced_abortion.pdf>);

WHEREAS, during oral arguments before the United States Supreme Court regarding Gonzales v. Carhart which is a case testing the constitutionality of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003, Chief Justice Roberts asked Ms Smith, attorney for abortionist Dr. Carhart, “We have no evidence either in the record before the Court or Congress as to how often that situation [serious underlying medical conditions . . . that makes the impact and the risks that are reduced by the intact D&E particularly important] arises?”   Ms Smith replied, “No, we don't, Your Honor.”  (Gonzales v. Carhart, Oral Arguments, United States Supreme Court, November 8, 2006, brackets earlier quote from Ms Smith);
WHEREAS, the Supreme Court of the United States, on April 18, 2007, upheld the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003;

WHEREAS, prominent medical organizations and medical experts who disagree about abortion in general, all agree that the partial-birth procedure is never medically necessary.
  
"The partial delivery of a living fetus for the purpose of killing it outside the womb is ethically offensive to most Americans and physicians. Our panel could not find any identified circumstance in which the procedure was the only safe and effective abortion method." AMA President Daniel Johnson Jr., M.D., in New York Times, May 26, 1997.
  
"A select panel convened by ACOG could identify no circumstances under which this procedure ... would be the only option to save the life or preserve the health of the woman." American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Statement of Policy, January 12, 1997.
  
"I have very serious reservations about this procedure ... You really can't defend it. I'm not going to tell somebody else that they should not do this procedure. But I'm not going to do it ... I would dispute any statement that this is the safest procedure to use." Abortionist Warren Hern in American Medical News, November 20, 1995, p. 3;
    
WHEREAS the viability for the premature infant has long since passed the 28 week gestational age definition that existed when Roe v Wade was decided, and now has reached 21 weeks and six days gestation with the birth of Amillia Taylor on 10/24/06.  Her neonatologist William Smalling MD stated, “It may be that we need to reconsider our standard for viability in light of Amillia’s case.  Over the years, the technology that we have available to save these premature babies has improved dramatically. Today, we can save babies that would have never survived 10 years ago.” (“Amillia, the Tiny Miracle Baby, Goes Home,” Times Online, Feb 20, 2007;
  
WHEREAS medical advances in neonatal medicine have proven that the development of the perception of pain begins at the 6th  week of life, and by the 20th  week “all the essential components of anatomy, physiology, and neurobiology exist to transmit painful sensations from the skin to the spinal cord and to the brain”  (Testimony for the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on the Constitution, November 1, 2005, Jean A. Wright MD MBA);
  
WHEREAS, a particular sentence in Paragraph 161J of The Book of Discipline (2004)—
specifically, “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.”—can be interpreted so as to identify United Methodist social teaching on abortion with the “pro-choice” legal position of Roe v. Wade;
   
WHEREAS, the aforementioned sentence from Paragraph 161J has allowed official agencies of The United Methodist Church to promote the legality of abortion not just in certain tragic circumstances, but in all circumstances; and
  
WHEREAS, Paragraph 161J expresses moral disapproval of most abortions that are performed, while the aforementioned sentence from Paragraph 161J has been, and is, used by official agencies of The United Methodist Church to approve all judicial decisions, and legislative actions, that promote abortion rights;
  
WHEREAS, the 2007 session of the Mississippi Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church, using the entire rationale stated above, overwhelming passed a resolution to petition the 2008 General Conference to replace the vague phrase, “tragic consequences of life with life,” in Paragraph 161J of the Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church (2004) and state “that abortion may be justified to protect the physical life of the mother.”    

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the 2008 General Conference of The United Methodist Church, using the entire rationale above, prayerfully consider how the phrase, “tragic consequences of life with life,” in Paragraph 161J of the Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church (2004) may be interpreted as to  justify abortion in any crisis situation, even when the mother’s life is not in danger.