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UM Agency Leaders And United Methodist Women To March For Abortion

Sent: Wednesday, April 21, 2004 12:27 PM
To: NICEA private email list; nicnews@nicvoice.org
Cc: friends@nicvoice.org
Subject: [NIC VOICE News] [UMNS-ALL-NEWS] UMNS# 04187-United Methodists will join April 25 'Women's Lives' march

The forward message following these news items is from UMNS regarding UMC Women's Division support of the "March for Women's Lives."  The March/April NIC VOICE Newsletter included the following news items regarding this march and support for abortion:

  • LINDA BALES, General Board of Church and Society, United Methodist Church:  "The United Methodist Church, according to its Social Principles, supports “the legal option of abortion under proper medical procedures.” As an employee of the denomination, I am participating in the March in an effort to guarantee that option.  In a perfect world, this option would cease to  exist. In a perfect world, all women would have  access to reproductive health and family planning  services, economic stability, and freedom from violence and oppression. But we don’t live in a perfect world. As people of faith, we, given our imperfection, must work to keep this option safe and legal."
  • Texas Conference Protests GBCS Support of Pro-Abortion Rally, IRD, John Lomperis, March 19, 2004

  • From: NewsDesk
    Sent: Tuesday, April 20, 2004 12:47 PM
    Subject: [UMNS-ALL-NEWS] UMNS# 04187-United Methodists will join April 25 'Women's Lives' march

    United Methodists will join April 25 'Women's Lives' march
    Apr. 20, 2004    News media contact:   Linda  Bloom * (646) 3693759*  New York {04187}

    NOTE: NOTE: Photographs are available at http://umns.umc.org.

    By United Methodist News Service

    United Methodists will be among the participants in an April 25 "March for Women's Lives" in Washington.

    A delegation of 50 to 100 will march under the banner of the Women's Division, United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, according to Julie Taylor, a division executive based in Washington.

    Leading the Women's Division delegation are Genie Bank of Lexington, Mich., and Brenda Brown of Spring Lake, N.C., division president and vice president; Joyce Sohl, the division's chief executive; and Lois Dauway, who heads the division's Section of Christian Social Responsibility.

    According to Bank, the division's participation "recognizes the basic human right to education and planning one's family" and the responsibility of women, not politicians, for their own family planning practices.

    The United Methodist Board of Church and Society also is a co-sponsor of the march, said Linda Bales, program director of the board's Louise & Hugh Moore Population Project. The agency supports advocacy efforts for women's health, such as the United Nations Population Fund, which provides reproductive health services and HIV/AIDS prevention for women.

    The march is important, Bales said, "because we know that far too many women around the world do not have access to basic health services, including reproductive health services, and to essentials such as family planning and economic justice."

    A 24-hour prayer vigil, sponsored by the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice - of which both the Women's Division and Church and Society are members - will begin at 10 a.m. on April 24.

    An interfaith worship service will precede the march at 10 a.m. April 25 at the Capitol Reflecting Pool Area. Bank is a participant in the worship service. Religious groups also will assemble in that area for the noon march, followed by a rally from 1 to 4 p.m. on the National Mall.

    Division directors voted last fall to become one of the numerous co-sponsors of the march, which is designed as a public demonstration in support of reproductive freedom and other justice issues for women.

    The Women's Division cited the denomination's Social Principles and resolution on responsible parenthood - pointing to the fact that "tragic conflicts in life" may justify abortion and that the church supports those legal options - as one of the motivating factors for participating in the march.

    "The Women's Division understands that certain groups will misinterpret their action," a division statement said. "In their board literature, the division states that it has to work collaboratively with coalitions to achieve purposes like the health and safety of women who choose this option. 'To work in coalition with an organization does not constitute an endorsement or embracing of every aspect of that organization or the establishment of some permanent relationship with coalition partners/co-sponsors.'"

    Bales said that while United Methodists may not agree with all positions of other participating groups, "the basic premise for the march, saving women's lives, resonates with UMC positions."

    Other religious co-sponsors of the April 25 march include the American Friends Service Committee, Catholics for a Free Choice, the Episcopal Church USA, the General Synod, United Church of Christ, Unitarian-Universalist Association of Congregations, the Union for Reform Judaism and the National Council of Jewish Women.

    The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice is renting an Amtrak train to carry participants from New York's Penn Station to Washington and back on April 25, Taylor said.

    Non-religious cosponsors include the League of Women Voters, American Association of University Women, National Black Nurses Association, National Education Association and Older Women's League.

    Principal organizers of the March for Women's Lives are the American Civil Liberties Union, Black Women's Health Imperative, Feminist Majority, NARAL Pro-Choice America, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, National Organization for Women and Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

    # # #


    United Methodist News Service
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