|Our association with RCRC compounds our disunity on abortion|
There is deep disagreement about abortion in the PC(USA). We need to talk to each other about that. Association with the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice inflames rhetoric as does Washington Office advocacy. Presbytery studies of abortion, as recommended by the 2006 GA, could promote fruitful dialogue.
We need to study scripture.
We need less radical advocacy.
The clarification exposes the need for new abortion policy.
The clarification quoted the 2006 statement on late-term abortion,
“We affirm that the lives of viable unborn babies—those well-developed enough to survive outside the womb if delivered—ought to be preserved and cared for and not aborted…”
…and the 1992 policy.
“The strong Christian presumption is that since all life is precious to God, we are to preserve and protect it. Abortion ought to be an option of last resort…” (Minutes of the 204th GA (1992), PC(USA), p. 367-374.)
Then, the Washington Office explained their advocacy platform by using quotes from 1970, 1992, and 2006 rejecting legal restrictions on abortion,
“[T]he artificial or induced termination of a pregnancy is a matter of careful ethical decision of the patient…and therefore should not be restricted by law…” (Minutes of the 182nd GA (1970), UPC USA, p. 891)
...and affirming the right and responsibility of women to make choices.
“We affirm the ability and responsibility of women, guided by the Scriptures and the Holy Spirit, in the context of their communities of faith, to make good moral choices in regard to problem pregnancies.” (Minutes, 204th GA (1992), PC(USA), p. 367-374.)
What’s driving this pro-choice advocacy? Three things: PC(USA) staff who interpret GA policy through a one-sided lens; the policy portion of the 1992 document itself; and the association of PC(USA) entities with the radical, pro-choice, Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC).
We need to end RCRC alliance.
“The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, founded in 1973, is the national coalition of religious and religiously affiliated organizations from 15 denominations, including the Presbyterian Church (USA),...”
In fact RCRC’s “coalition” is with three PC(USA) entities: Presbyterian Washington Office, Presbyterians Affirming Reproductive Options (PARO, a PHEWA network), and Women’s Ministries. The April statement which used our name was inflammatory and filled with errors. RCRC misidentified the “outlawed” procedure as “dilation and evacuation,” (D&E, used in abortions in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters) rather than “intact dilation and extraction,” (D&X, used late in pregnancy and often on viable babies. )
“We are alarmed that the Court has taken a step toward valuing a potential person over the woman whose life may be at risk.” (www.rcrc.org)
Actually, the PBA procedure is allowed by the PBA Ban Act when the woman’s physical life is at risk.
The ban “does not apply to a partial-birth abortion that is necessary to save the life of a mother whose life is endangered by a physical disorder, physical illness, or physical injury, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself.” [Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act, 2003, Chapter 74, §1531.(a)]
The PBA Ban Act does not allow the broader exception of “health” because Congress found no health risk.
Congress finds that partial-birth abortion is never medically indicated to preserve the health of the mother; is in fact unrecognized as a valid abortion procedure by the mainstream medical community; poses additional health risks to the mother; blurs the line between abortion and infanticide in the killing of a partially-born child just inches from birth; and confuses the role of the physician in childbirth and should, therefore, be banned. [Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act, 2003, Sec. 2, Findings. (13) (O)]
RCRC puts us in opposition to our own policies for sex ed.
Other mainline denominations are dissatisfied with ties to RCRC.
“Its [RCRC] position of advocacy, ... unnecessarily disrupts our Church’s carefully balanced and nuanced position on abortion.”
The Northern Central Conference of the United Methodist Church recently adopted a resolution to withdraw from RCRC membership:
“RCRC works for abortion rights in any and all circumstances, while The United Methodist Church teaches that moral discernment, on matters related to abortion, is essential; for the church “[believes] in the sanctity of unborn human life,” “cannot affirm abortion as an acceptable means of birth control,” and “unconditionally reject[s] [abortion] as a means of gender selection” (The Book of Discipline , Paragraph 161J)
Jim Berkley exposed the problem with our ties to RCRC in his response to a May 22 RCRC press release:
There’s one sentence in the press release that pretty well highlights the RCRC’s central failure to propound essentially Christian belief rather than growing-stale secular opinion. Here is what the Reverend Carlton W. Veazey, president and CEO of the RCRC, claimed:
“...the continuous political attacks on abortion have obscured the single most important concern for the woman with an unwelcome pregnancy: making a decision that is right for her and her family.”
Shouldn’t it instead be the case that in distinctively Christian reckoning, the single most important concern ought to be making a decision that is right with God? (jimberkley.blogspot.com)