Mennonite Church USA opposes abortion, but also laws that would limit the practice

Posted: Friday, July 11, 2003

ATLANTA (AP) Mennonite Church USA delegates approved a new policy that rejects most abortions as ''counter to biblical principles'' but also discourages members from lobbying for laws to limit the practice.

The statement says Mennonite tradition opposes ''using the government to force others to comply with our Christian standards,'' and that laws would target women without regard to fathers and disproportionately affect the poor.

A bid to delete that anti-legislation wording was defeated 486-356, after which the statement passed overwhelmingly.

The 118,000-member denomination says the fetus ''in its earliest stages'' shares humanity with the parents. It says abortion could be justified to save a mother's life, but not to end unwanted pregnancies, limit family size or destroy a fetus with possible mental or physical handicaps.

The Bible does not speak directly to abortion, the church states, but gives ''a high value to human life'' and urges ''special concern for the defenseless'' that should extend to the human fetus.

''We stand in opposition to sacrifice of life in the womb, in the death chamber and through war in all its forms,'' the pacifist church said in its policy.

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