|Overture Drafts & Ideas|
NOTE: These overtures are in draft (i.e. unperfected) form and should be treated as a starting point rather than a boilerplate. More will be added in coming weeks so check back often.
On [Overture title—naming specific action in brief]
"The Presbytery of ________________ overtures the [# of the assembly] General Assembly [(year)] of the PC(USA) to [state the specific action(s) the General Assembly is asked to take]."
The rational is a statement of the reasons for submitting the overture. Here you can make supporting arguments, provide background information as appropriate, add statistics, scriptures, or references that make your case.
The Presbytery of [____________________] overtures the [_______] General Assembly [year], to speak out against the racism and ethnic genocide evidenced in the disproportionate number of abortions among Americans of African heritage; and to act to address the social conditions that cause a large number of African-American women to despair of bringing a child into our society. Further, we direct the Stated Clerk to communicate these concerns to the President and Congress of the United States, asking them to have the appropriate federal agency study the reasons for the disproportionate number of abortions among African-American women, and to seek solutions to the underlying economic, social, and justice causes of this genocide. Further, we encourage all Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) congregations to join in the fight against this racism by offering support to women in crisis pregnancy situations.
African-Americans comprise 13.2% of the population of the United States according to 2010 Census figures.The most recent figures released by the Guttmacher Institute on abortion show that 30% of abortions have been to African-American women. The abortion rate (number of abortions per 1,000 women ages 15-44 is 13.9 for all women and 25.8 for African Americans. According to Dr. Alveda King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. "In New York City, 6 out of every 10 unborn African Americans are aborted. Since 1973, 13 million African American pregnancies have ben ended by abortion." Approximately 13 million African-American children have not entered this world, a number far greater than all the deaths by lynching in the 19th and 20th centuries!
All people are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) and are worthy of being held in dignity and treated with respect. The disproportionate numbers of abortions among this population segment indicates a spiritual sickness in our society. The church is called to seek justice in all the places in society where any group of persons is being targeted for destruction—including those persons in the womb! The factual inequity revealed in the disproportionate rates of abortion among Black Americans is a wake-up call to the church that something is amiss. As God's people we need to pay attention and examine ways to address the underlying needs and injustices that contribute to the inequity of abortion among African American women.
The presbytery of _____________ overtures the 217th General Assembly (2006) to:
1. Direct its Moderator to create a task force of eight currently-serving commissioners to undertake a two year study of specific ways in which the Church can intervene to encourage the protection of unborn children and their mothers, particularly addressing pregnancies in adverse circumstances, and
a. That the moderator take particular care to balance the task force to achieve convictions about problem pregnancies and abortion that are consistent with the views expressed in the current church policy document and its background material as "Position A" and "Position B" (1992), and
b. That the task force make ample use of opportunities to meet by conference phone calls and other electronic means, but that they meet at least twice yearly face-to-face, hosted by Presbyterian Church (USA) churches, both to involve church members in their discussions and to defray the cost of their meetings, and
2. That the task force report its findings and recommendations to the 223rd General Assembly (2018).
Current General Assembly policy on abortion expresses the biblical concern for the protection of each human life. It also expresses its own concern about the large numbers of abortions in our country and urges churches to find ways to reduce the numbers. (Problem Pregnancies and Abortion, 1992, E.1.d. and E.1.l., p. 11)
Little work has been done to demonstrate that the Church is serious about its intent to aid women in difficult pregnancies and help them preserve the lives of their unborn children. This is not only a charge of current policy but also a worthy effort by the Christian Church.
While currently there are efforts to preserve legal access to abortion, there ought to be an even greator effort extended by the church to support pregnant women who need help to bring their pregnancies to term. The church ought to become a place where women in unwelcome or difficult pregnancies find adequate spiritual, emotional, financial and other tangible support for caring for their children before, during, and after birth.
Congregations will benefit from being involved in the work of a task force. Not only will the particular churches involved benefit from considering how they might help address this pervasive problem in our society and churches, but also all of our congregations can be expected to benefit from work that includes signifigant contributions from some of our congregations. Commissioners, as representatives of our presbyteries, are a proper body to draw from for this leadership. The goal ought to be to put the PC(USA) in the forefront of offering the kind of help that makes a significant impact on decreasing the numbers of abortions in our country.