Methodist, United Church of Christ, Jewish Groups Oppose Late-Term Abortion Ban

National   Steven Ertelt   May 23, 2013   |   12:19PM    Washington, DC

A collection of religious groups, including organizations with members from the Methodist Church, United Church of Christ, and Jewish faiths have issued a letter to Congress urging lawmakers to oppose a ban on late-term abortions.

Organized under the banner of the pro-abortion Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, the Methodist Federation for Social Action, United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries, Jewish Council for Public Affairs, National Council of Jewish Women and Union of Reform Judaism all signed their names to a letter opposing H.R.1797, the “District of Columbia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.”

While most people of faith oppose late-term abortions, these groups are opposed to the measure sponsored by Rep. Trent Franks that would ban abortions nationwide after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

“We, the undersigned national religious groups, urge you to oppose H.R.1797, the “District of Columbia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” sponsored by Representative Trent Franks (R-AZ), which would create a nationwide ban on access to abortion care 20 weeks after fertilization,” they say in the letter. “We stand united across our faith traditions in opposing this extreme legislation.”

The religious groups join organization like Planned Parenthood and NARAL in blaming pro-life laws for the horrors that took place at Kermit Gosnell’s abortion clinic.

“Proponents of this bill have cited the Kermit Gosnell case as a reason to push this intrusive policy, but the fact is that the lack of access to safe and affordable abortion care is precisely the circumstance that drove women to an unscrupulous person like Gosnell, as it did to so many women before Roe v. Wade.  The existence of his clinic is a ghastly warning sign of what happens when abortion is so restricted and expensive that a woman in need feels that she has nowhere else to turn,” they write.

“Our religious values call us to offer compassion, support, and respect to a woman and her family facing these difficult circumstances. H.R.1797 will only make a challenging situation worse.   When a woman needs an abortion, it is critically important that she have access to safe and legal care,” they add.

The letter goes on to say, “Like all Americans, Rep. Franks is free to have and share his own religious beliefs about issues related to pregnancy and parenting. Liberty is an American value. However, H.R.1797 is a clear attempt to impose one particular religious belief on the whole nation.”

Franks has said he would think a ban on late-term abortions would bring most Americans together.

“I know when the subject is related in any way to abortion, the doors of reason and human compassion in our minds and hearts often close, and the humanity of the unborn can no longer be seen. But I pray we can at least come together to agree that we can and should draw the line at the point that these innocent babies can feel the excruciating pain of these brutal procedures,” he said.

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Franks added:  “The case of Kermit Gosnell shocked the sensibilities of millions of Americans. However, the crushing fact is that abortions on babies just like the ones killed by Kermit Gosnell have been happening hundreds of times per day, every single day, for the past 40 years. Indeed, let us not forget that, had Kermit Gosnell dismembered these babies before they had traveled down the birth canal only moments earlier, he would have, in many places nationwide, been performing an entirely legal procedure. If America truly understands that horrifying reality, hearts and laws will change.”

“To this end, I have re-introduced the D.C. Pain Capable Unborn Protection Act, which will now be amended to broaden its coverage so that its provisions will apply nationwide,” he said. “Knowingly subjecting our innocent unborn children to dismemberment in the womb, particularly when they have developed to the point that they can feel excruciating pain every terrible moment leading up to their undeserved deaths, belies everything America was called to be. This is not who we are.”

A nationwide poll of 1,003 registered voters in March found that 64% would support a law such as the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act prohibiting abortion after 20 weeks — when an unborn baby can feel pain — unless the life of the mother was in danger. Only 30% opposed such legislation.