The Alaska United Methodist Conference, which encompasses 27 churches across the state, joined partner congregations from the greater Pacific Northwest in affirming the “divine gift of free will” to choose abortion, and denouncing the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision to overturn of Roe v. Wade.
Gathered in a joint session, leaders from the United Methodist Church approved a document on June 25 which stated that both the laity and clergy of the Alaska, Oregon-Idaho and Pacific Northwest Conferences support legalized abortion, comprehensive sex-ed and contraceptive advocacy. It also affirmed abortion access as essential to the “emotional health and spiritual well-being of parishioners.”
Approved just one day after the Supreme Court struck down Roe, the statement quotes the United Methodist’s social teaching document which states that while “we are equally bound to respect the sacredness of the life and well-being of the mother and the unborn child … we recognize the tragic conflicts of life with life that may justify abortion, and in such cases, we support the legal option of abortion…”
The social teaching frames abortion in spiritual terms, saying that the decision to kill an unborn child “should be made only after thoughtful and prayerful consideration.”
While denouncing “in the strongest terms” the decision to overturn Roe, the newly approved joint statement reaffirmed the United Methodist Conference’s commitment to “anti-racism, equity, justice, and care.”
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The document called on member congregations and church ministries to help raise money for women who want abortions in states that now ban the practice.
“We call on our congregations to have well-facilitated conversations about abortion care, reproductive health, and the intersections of health care, racism, poverty, and sexism, prioritizing compassion over judgment,” the document states. It also urges churches to support a constitutional amendment that would enshrine legalized abortion into the nation’s founding document.
The statement ends by calling on people to “publicly bear witness to the Church of Jesus Christ” by standing with and for those seeking abortions.
The approved statement was presented for consideration by Rev. Nico Reijns of Alaska, along with Rev. Ruth Marston-Bihl (Pacific Northwest Conferences) and Rev. Eilidh Lowery (Oregon-Idaho). According to the United Methodist website, the statement was approved by an overwhelming margin of lay and clergy members of the Alaska, Oregon-Idaho and Pacific Northwest Conferences.
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