Presbyterian Church Opposes Measure to Weaken Pro-Abortion Position

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 5, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Presbyterian Church Opposes Measure to Weaken Pro-Abortion Position

by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 5, 2004

Richmond, VA ( — The legislative body of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) last week upheld their pro-abortion position in favor keeping partial-birth abortions legal. The Protestant denomination rejected a pro-life proposal that would have encouraged women with problem pregnancies to carry the baby to term.

The Presbyterian church’s position on late-term abortions, approved last year, says such abortions are a "grave moral concern" when the baby has developed sufficiently to live outside the mother’s womb, but endorses exceptions that would allow all such abortions to remain legal.

The denomination’s Committee on Health Issues considered a new statement that would have promoted delivery and would have also encouraged adoption instead of abortion.

Leigh Morris, vice moderator of the health committee, urged the assembly to make "a strong statement" by adopting the idea.

However, members of the commission defeated the measure 260-256 and then voted 298-219 to authorize a mailing to all Presbyterian churches announcing the denomination’s policy on abortion.

The denomination favors abortions in cases of rape or incest or when the pregnancy supposedly threatens a mother’s health — though such cases rare and health exceptions in most pro-life legislation generally keep all abortions legal because health can be defined as almost any reason for an abortion.

The Presbyterian Church has drawn criticism from pro-life members and the Presbyterians Pro-Life group for paying for church employee abortions in their health insurance plan and for its participation in the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, a group that advocates abortion.

"We call the Church to renew its historic and biblical stance of opposition to the destruction of innocent human life through abortion," Presbyterians Pro-Life says on its web site. "We call the Church to renew its commitment to preserve and nurture life at every stage of development, from conception to natural death."

The position in favor of abortion has been partly responsible for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) losing members.

The 2.4 million member denomination has been losing thousands of members each year, since the mid 1960s. Last year, the church lost nearly 2 percent of its total membership, the largest drop in 30 years.

Related web sites:
Presbyterians Pro-Life –