From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Supports Veto of Abortion Ban

Date 01 May 1996 15:35:34

"UNITED METHODIST DAILY NEWS" by SUSAN PEEK on Aug. 11, 1991 at 13:58 Eastern,

Note 2945 by UMNS on May 1, 1996 at 15:25 Eastern (3435 characters).

Produced by United Methodist News Service, official news agency
of the United Methodist Church, with offices in Nashville, Tenn.,
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SEARCH:   abortion, veto, ban, President, Congress, reproductive,

Contact:  Joretta Purdue                       231(10-23-71){2945}
          Washington, D.C.  (202) 546-8722             May 1, 1996

Religious leaders support
President's veto of abortion ban

     WASHINGTON (UMNS) -- Religious leaders, among them several
United Methodists, have released a letter to the President and 180
members of the House of Representatives here, supporting the
President's veto of a particular abortion ban.
     The veto of legislation passed by Congress that would have
banned a controversial late-term abortion procedure was followed
by sharp criticism of the President by the Vatican and several
Roman Catholic cardinals.
     Like the Catholics, the Protestant and Jewish leaders who
signed the letter cite their religious beliefs as the reason for
their opposition to the "partial birth" abortion ban.
     "We are convinced that each woman who is faced with such
difficult moral decisions must be free to decide how to respond,
in consultation with her doctor, her family, and her God," the
letter says.
     It continues, "Neither we as religious leaders, nor the
President, nor the Congress -- none of us can discern God's will
as well as the woman herself, and that is where we believe the
decision must remain."
     Among the United Methodists who signed the letter were the
Rev. Thom White Wolf Fassett, executive secretary of the
denomination's Board of Church and Society, and Lois Dauway,
assistant general secretary of the denomination's Board of Global
Ministries' Women's Division.
     Both agencies are represented on the board of the Religious
Coalition for Reproductive Choice, which prepared the letter and
is continuing to collect signatures.
     Other United Methodists who have signed the letter include
Bishop Susan Morrison of the Philadelphia Area; the Rev. George
McClain, executive director of Methodist Federation for Social
Action; the Rev. M. Douglas Meeks, dean of Wesley Seminary, one of
13 United Methodist theological schools; and the Rev. Philip
Wogaman, senior minister at Foundry United Methodist Church, where
the President and First Lady often attend services.
     Rabbi Shira Stern spoke about her own experience of a second-
trimester abortion using induced labor. "Our baby was
anencephalic; no brain was discernible because amniotic bands of
tissue had wrapped around her head," she said. "I don't ask my
plumber if my children should be immunized, and I will not turn to
my representative in Congress to help me resolve a difficult
medical issue."
     The Rev. Katherine Hancock Ragsdale, an Episcopal priest and
president of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, said
the procedure that Congress would have banned saves lives.
     "In the case of untenable pregnancies, it can be the safest
procedure available," she stated, adding that more than other
procedures, it leaves the women able to become pregnant and give
birth later. "What could be more life-affirming -- more pro-life 
-- than that?"
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