What is the United Methodist position on abortion?
Our belief in the sanctity of unborn human life makes us reluctant to approve abortion.
But we are equally bound to respect the sacredness of the life and well-being of the mother
and the unborn child. (Book of Discipline ¶161.J)
These statements express the complexity of a topic that does not lend itself to easy answers.
Below are other links related to the topic and what the church teaches.
- The United Methodist Church and the complex topic of abortion
- Ministry to Those Who Have Experienced an Abortion
- Gender-Selective Abortion
- Healing of Post-Abortion Stress
Organizations like Planned Parenthood and the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC) receive no denominational funding.
It’s important to note that the Church's statements on social issues, such as abortion, represent the effort of the General Conference to speak to human issues in the contemporary world from a sound biblical and theological foundation. They are intended to be instructive and persuasive, but they are not church law and are not binding on members. Members will hold differing views on abortion. There is no requirement for members to agree with the Church’s view.
As Rev. Thomas E. Frank, professor at Wake Forest University, said the church “asks all United Methodists to consider these positions and accept them as the collective wisdom of the church, but it does not expect all United Methodists to agree with all such statements.” (Source: Polity, Practice, and the Mission of The United Methodist Church by Thomas Edward Frank)
The Book of Resolutions also says, “You may find that your denomination's policies give you more "food for thought." Maybe you will agree with the denomination's position. On the other hand, you may disagree. Either is all right. At the least, you know your church cares and wants you to be a knowledgeable and caring Christian about the issues of the day.”