|220th GA Report: Part III - What actions were taken on abortion?|
Commissioners quickly disapproved two items with potential for turning the PC(USA) toward a more Biblically faithful stance on abortion.Item 20-02 asked the Board of Pensions to provide a Medical Benefits Plan that does not cover abortion. It was disapproved by a vote of 438 to 178 with 9 abstaining. Stubborn resistance to studying abortion from theological perspective
Commissioner Carl Batzel, from Lackawanna Presbytery, hoped for the PC(USA) to have a fresh start on abortion. He and Sydney Roosa from Plains and Peaks submitted a commissioner's resolution that sought a foundational paper on abortion and pregnancy based on Scripture and The Book of Confessions; a new Presbyterian Panel survey on crisis pregnancies and abortion; and a framework for advocacy that empowers the voice of the church in areas of essential unity but leaves to individual advocacy areas of division. The complete text of the CR can be found as Item 21-06 .
The Assembly disapproved the CR on a voice vote with the following comment added by the Health Issues Committee:
Item 21-06 calls for "A New Way forward on the issue of pregnancies and abortion." Considering this resolution invited the committee to consider the 1992 report of the Special Committee on Problem Pregnancies and Abortion. This noteworthy study brought twenty years of relative peace on a matter that has been a source of intense conflict in the PC(USA) for many years prior to the study. The study accomplished no mean feat in setting forth common ground that Presbyterian can gather around; common ground that eschews partisanship on either side of the cultural divide. We found insight and guidance in this document that was both eloquent and relevant to our work; therefore we do not see the need for a new study but rather commend the existing study to our church.
What common ground?
The comment is discouraging to pro-life Presbyterians who have not experienced any common ground in the 1992 report. In the 20 years since Problem Pregnancies and Abortion was approved by the 1992 GA, denomination entities have only implemented abortion supporting language and recommendations in the report. The balance and inclusion of all views on life in the womb has not been practiced in spite of constant efforts on the part of those who share PPL's convictions that God alone owns life in the womb and it is to be protected and cherished.
If 'common ground' is being found and practiced, where is the evidence? Where is the denomination's adoption agency? Where are the support programs for single parents and parents of children with disabilities? Where is the housing program for unwed mothers whose families and the father of their baby will not welcome? If there is "common ground" where is it?