The following comes from a May 19 United Methodist Reporter article by Jessica Brodie:
PORTLAND, Ore.— The Methodist General Conference voted May 19 that two United Methodist entities withdraw immediately from membership in the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. The motion passed 425-268.
The General Board of Church and Society and the United Methodist Women currently are members of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, a national community of religious organizations and faithful individuals dedicated to achieving reproductive justice. But five annual conferences submitted a petition to withdraw from the RCRC—Mississippi, North Carolina, Indiana, Western Pennsylvania and Alabama-West Florida—stating that RCRC’s advocacy often directly contradicts The United Methodist Church’s Social Principles on abortion, but it still uses the United Methodist Church name.
The committee assigned to this petition, Church and Society 2, voted 44-25 last week to adopt it.
Speaking against the withdrawal, Becca Girrell of the New England Conference urged fellow delegates to keep the United Methodist Church’s voice at the reproductive health table and said remaining in the RCRC does not in any way affect the UMC’s position on abortion.
“As a woman of faith, it deeply saddens me that every two minutes, some woman somewhere in the world dies of childbirth,” Girrell said. “As a maternal health advocate, I, too, want to reduce the number of abortions. I want healthy babies to be born (…) But we cannot do the work alone. It takes all of our faith voices working together.”
Speaking for the withdrawal, delegate Katherine Rohrs from West Ohio, said she’s heard time and again about the need to stay at the table because the UMC’s voice matters, but nothing has changed.
“[Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice] refuses to talk about unborn children as just that,” Rohrs said. “They refuse to condemn abortion as a form of birth control or gender selection. They affirm abortion in any way.”