Uniting for Life
National Pro-Life Religious Council, Inc.
109 2nd St. N.E.
RCRC Support of Partial Birth Abortions
Actions Speak Louder Than Words
By Rev. Paul Stallsworth, Editor of Lifewatch
Lifewatch, a publication of the Task Force of United
Methodists on Abortion and Sexuality, reported in its December,
2001 issue that the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
(RCRC) "is flatly opposed to any restriction on any abortion,
including any partial-birth abortion."
Immediately after the Lifewatch Service of Worship,
on January 22nd, an attendee, Ms. Linda Bales, Program Director
of the Louis and Hugh Moore Population Project at the [Methodist]
General Board of Church and Society, respectfully mentioned
to the Lifewatch editor that the newsletter's statement
about RCRC having a position on partial-birth abortion was
in error. Ms. Bales repeated her claim in a letter January
30: "I had shared with you a concern about a statement in
the most recent issue of Lifewatch that stated that
the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice had taken
a position supporting partial-birth abortion. As I explained,
that is not the case, and I appreciated the chance to clarify
this with you in an informal way."
Curious about this matter, the editor telephoned RCRC. Ms.
Marjorie Signer, Director of Communications, returned the
call and sent a written statement containing the following:
"Regarding the matter of late-term abortion, the Coalition
believes that this issue should be left up to the individual
member groups. In a policy position taken March 5, 1982, the
Board of Directors stated that late-term abortion should not
be a focus of the Coalition. The Board further stated that
supporting choice and striving for religious freedom are the
foci of the Coalition."
Not satisfied with the positions of Ms. Bales and Ms. Signer,
the editor went on to search his files. There he found three
pertinent pieces of information.
First, on April 29,1996, the Religious Coalition for Reproductive
Choice sent a letter to the members of the United States House
of Representatives. The first sentence of the RCRC letter
states: "As mainstream religious leaders, we write to express
our Agreement with President Clinton's veto of HR 1833, the
so-called 'Partial-Birth Abortion Ban,' and urge Congress
not to override that veto." This letter is signed by these
United Methodists: Ms. Lois Dauway, Women's Division, General
Board of Global ministries; Dr. Thorn White Wolf Fassett,
Executive Secretary, General Board of Church and Society;
Rev. George McClain, Executive Director, Methodist Federation
for Social Action; Dr. M. Douglas Meeks, Dean, Wesley Theological
Seminary; Bishop Susan Morrison; and Rev. Philip Wogaman,
Foundry United Methodist Church, Washington, DC.
The second piece of information was a letter from RCRC, dated
Sept. 17, 1998, to members of the United States Senate. It
begins with this sentence: "As national religious leaders
and leaders of religiously affiliated organizations, we write
to express our support of President Clinton's veto of the
so-called Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 1997, HR 1122.
We respectfully urge the Senate to sustain the veto."
This letter was signed by two United Methodists: Rev Kathryn
Johnson, Executive Director, Methodist Federation for Social
Action; and Rev James M. Lawson, Jr., Holman United Methodist
Church, Los Angeles, CA.
Where does this research lead us? In its stated policies,
the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice does not have
an explicit official policy on partial-birth abortion. At
the same time, the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice,
it must be admitted, engages in political activism beyond
(or against!) its stated official non-policy on late-term
abortion. For in 1996 and in 1998, RCRC staff set aside the
fact that RCRC does not have a policy on late-term abortion,
drafted a letter to support the Clinton veto of the partial-birth
abortion ban, solicited signatories from the various religious
communities, including The United Methodist Church, mailed
the letter to federal legislators, and then notified the press
of its letter-writing campaign. All of this was done to protect
the legality of partial-birth abortion in American society.
This organizational activity clearly establishes that the
Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, even if it has
no official position on late-term abortion, is strongly committed
to working to keep partial birth abortion legal in our society.
What is the lesson here? What an organization actually does--in
this case, advocate for the legality of partial-birth abortion--is
far more important than what an organization officially states--in
this case, a declared non-policy on the matter of late-term
abortion. Actions speak louder than words.
NPRC Holds Press Conference
to Urge Ban on Human Cloning - "When the Dignity of Human
Life is ignored, Human Lives are Cheapened"
On May 7, at the National Press Club in Washington, DC,
the National Pro-Life Religious Council and several of its
member organizations presented to the press statements in
support of a complete ban on human cloning…Following are excerpts
from several of the statements.
National Pro-Life Religious Council
The National Pro-Life Religious Council (NPRC), representing
constituent groups within the Evangelical Protestant, Old-line
Protestant, Orthodox and Roman Catholic Church, firmly supports
the Brownback-Landrieu bill (S. 1899) banning research (so-called
"therapeutic") and reproductive human cloning. Standing on
the Great Tradition of ecumenical and historic Christianity,
and making our witness for the common good of American society,
we are guided by the Truth that each human life is created
by God, in the image of God, and therefore has God given dignity.
Ideas have consequences. False ideas have destructive consequences.
When the truth of the divine origin and the dignity of human
life are ignored human lives are cheapened, manipulated, violated
and discarded at will.
Only a few decades ago, Nazi Third Reich physicians conducted
fatal medical experiments on those whom they considered to
be of lesser worth than others. They justified their immoral
practices with a utilitarian argument--the idea that one should
aim for the greatest good for the greatest number of people.
Their utilitarianism, supported by a totalitarian government,
and its dire consequences stand as a warning to all governments
In our day, human cloning is proposed for its reproductive
and research benefits. However, human cloning would set aside
the truth of the human person, treating human beings as commodities
to be manufactured, manipulated, and marketed for the alleged
good of other, more powerful human beings. Human cloning would
cheapen human life and coarsen society; it would ignore the
warning of the Third Reich.
Through their vote on the Brownback-Landrieu bill, United
States Senators will decide which direction they will lead
American society. Voting against the Brownback-Landrieu bill,
the U. S. Senate would lead American society toward the unacceptable
belief that one human being can be used to benefit another.
All people of conscience, and especially Christian people,
will want to know who stands for the dignity of all human
life and who stands against it....
We join our prayers and our voices in urging our senators
to vote for the Brownback-Landrieu bill, to lead us toward
human dignity and the expansion of civil society.
The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod
The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod adheres to the fundamental
truth that life begins at conception. This church body will
always reaffirm and celebrate life, and we will always protect
the sanctity of human life.
The Synod, at its 1998 Synod convention, passed a resolution
directing its members to "reject without reservation as contrary
to God's Word any technique or method of human cloning that
results in the destruction of human embryos or the creation
of human embryos for the purposes of fetal tissue research
or organ harvesting or transplantation."
The current cloning debate revolves around whether so called
therapeutic cloning should be permitted under law. Since "therapeutic
cloning" would result in the destruction of human embryos,
we reject this practice as contrary to the Word of God in
our 1998 resolution. It is for this reason that The Lutheran
Church-Missouri Synod supports the Brownback-Landrieu Cloning
Ban, Senate Bill 5.1899, since this bill clearly bans not
only reproductive cloning, but also so-called therapeutic
Submitted by LCMS President Rev. Dr. Gerald B. Kiesnick
The United Methodist Church
As United Methodists, we have church teaching on human cloning....
The Book of Discipline contains our church's Social Principles.
The social principle on Genetic Technology (Paragraph 162M),
declares, in part: "We oppose the cloning of humans..."
In addition, The Book of Resolutions adds rationale and specificity
to the Social Principles. Resolution 91 states, in part: "We
call for a ban on all human cloning, including the cloning
of human embryos. This would include all projects, privately
or governmentally funded, that are intended to advance human
cloning. Transcending our concerns with embryo wastage are
a number of other unresolved and barely explored concerns
with substantial social and theological ramifications: use
or abuse of people, exploitation of women, tearing of the
fabric of the family, the compromising of human distinctiveness,
the lessening of genetic diversity, the direction of research
and development being controlled by corporate profit and/or
personal gain, and the invasion of privacy...."
For reasons related to the protection and advancement of
God-given human dignity, The United Methodist Church unqualifiedly
opposes all human cloning. Therefore, we United Methodists
call on the U.S. Senate to pass S. 1899, which would ban all
human cloning in the United States.
Submitted by Rev. Paul Stallsworth, President, Lifewatch.
Presbyterians Pro-Life, a pro-life educational witness and
advocacy organization composed of clergy and lay people, both
men and women, who are members of the Presbyterian Church
(USA), stands unequivocally opposed to all forms of human
cloning and in full support of the Brownback/Landrieu bill
presently under consideration in the U. S. Senate. Presbyterians
stand with the overwhelming national consensus of virtually
90% of our people in calling for an immediate ban on human
The deceptive and misleading distinction between "reproductive"
cloning and "therapeutic" or research cloning is both an artificial
distinction without a difference, and a dreadful admission
that the cloned embryos will be killed. Cloning is reproduction
at its very heart, and when advocates of so-called "therapeutic"
cloning affirm that they do not want to make a cloned baby;
that they only want to advance medical research; they are
in fact admitting that they intend to kill the cloned embryo.
This is the only way that "research" on cloned embryos can
take place. Spurred on by lobbyists for the biotechnology
industry, who hope to make billions of dollars by this new
technology, many members of the U.S. Senate have been persuaded
to sponsor what they call a "compromise" bill. But such a
"compromise" still leads to the same result: human life is
created to be killed. We affirm that embryonic life, even
in its simplest and least complex forms, is still human life.
At the heart of this issue is the question of what constitutes
a human life and under what conditions is human life NOT to
be protected. For Christians, it is a question of the application
of biblical teaching. Each human life began as a fertilized
ovum. It is the way our Creator designed us, and God assures
us in Holy Scripture that he knew us before we were in the
womb and that he ordained every one of our days before even
one of them began. (Jer.1:5; Ps. 139:16).
A recent statement by Princeton University Professor of Jurisprudence
Robert George elaborates on the meaning of these passages.
He said that human embryos are: "whole, living members
of the human species…capable of directing from within their
own integral organic functioning and development into and
through the fetal infant, child and adolescent stages of life
and ultimately into adulthood. [The being that is] now you
and me is the same being that was once an adolescent and before
that a toddler and before that an infant and before that a
fetus and before that an embryo."
This is a moral issue of gargantuan proportions, and anything
less than a total ban on all human cloning would result in
an ethical crisis that will affect the moral fiber of the
entire nation. We call on the U. S. Senate to pass the Brownback/Landrieu
bill banning human cloning now.
Submitted by Mrs. Terry Schlossberg, PPL Executive Director
Priests for Life
Priests For Life joins with our fellow Christians in support
of the Brownback-Landrieu Bill S.1899 which bans human cloning
of any kind.
Once life is special ordered rather than conceived, human
beings are treated more as products to be manufactured than
persons with rights.... Human cloning is another terrible
assault on the sanctity of life ethic on which this nation
was founded. We reject the idea that we are imposing our morality
on anyone by promoting the sanctity of life [which] is no
more a sectarian doctrine than is the Declaration of Independence
a sectarian document. In a pluralistic society, we have a
right and a duty to defend this principle by every ethical
and legal means at our disposal.
.... Though we are all different, we are of equal value in
the eyes of God. To support human cloning is to stand in opposition
to this dream of equality and is an exercise in eugenics.
All human beings must be treated with dignity and respect
from the first moment of their lives. It is wrong to produce
a human being for the use of others.
.... The cost of human cloning is too high. The cost is a
loss of the realization that every human life is sacred and
that each of us have an inherent dignity based on the fact
that we are human beings. The consequences of human cloning
may be worse than we imagine.
Submitted by Anthony DeStefano, PFL Executive Director
When is A Baby A Baby?
By Vera Faith Lord, Orthodox Christians for Life
They had warned me about him. They said he was a "troublemaker"
and if I allowed him to ask a question, I would be answering
at my own risk. I am a professional speaker. I travel all
over the USA, speaking on women's health issues. That day,
I was in the auditorium of a huge Catholic high school, and
the subject was Post-Abortion Syndrome, the devastating disease
that affects millions of families nationwide.
My 30-minute speech was finished and the question and answer
phase has begun. There he was. The troublemaker. Looking like
a 16-year-old version of Dennis the Menace and waving his
arm in the air. It didn't help matters that he was in the
front row. I looked toward the three school administrators
and saw three faces conveying sympathy, but offering no help.
I had answered in depth every other student's question until
there was only one hand still raised. There were five long
minutes left until the bell. I thought, "He's only a 16 year
old kid--I've been challenged by middle-aged intellectuals
and emerged triumphant -- Here goes." I looked at him, and
in my most non-threatening earth mother tone, said "Ok-your
He stood up. Bad sign. None of the others had stood to ask
their questions. He faced the group and asked, "Can everybody
hear me? Turning to me, he drew himself up to his full height
of about 5'4", and finally asked his question: "I know
it's a baby from conception on--but when does SOCIETY say
it's a baby?"
He sat down and I saw for the first time, not an adversary
to be overcome, but a young boy honestly looking for the answer
to a BIG QUESTION. Time stopped. I had no clue what to tell
him. Silently, in the depths of my soul I spoke to God--more
accurately I SHOUTED to God: "You got me into this, now You
get me out. You answer this question."
Meanwhile, back in the auditorium, only seconds had actually
passed. I heard my own voice speaking. "Thank you for asking
the best question I've ever been asked by anyone, young or
old." He beamed.
I looked at the audience. "The question is `when does society
say it's a baby' and here is the answer: it depends entirely
on the woman that the baby is living inside of. If she WANTS
him, we have baby showers and grandparents make toasts, and
names are chosen, and sonagram pictures are shown to all.
Her responsibility to him is to love and protect him and do
everything to make sure he's healthy for the whole nine months
that he's inside her. Baby showers, chosen names, celebrations--He's
a BABY. If she doesn't want him, society says that this very
same baby is NOT A BABY, but a piece of tissue, and she has
the same responsibility to him as she has to the hamburger
she had for lunch."
Long seconds passed. Off to my left, one of the teachers
was dabbing at her eyes. The troublemaker's whole appearance
had changed. He had a very primal look on his face. It was
the look we all get for one small moment when we see true
WRONG for the first time. He was red-faced and scowling when,
forgetting to raise his hand, he shouted out, "But that's
I think sometimes the young see injustice in sharper focus
than their elders. A line from one of my favorite novels reads:
"He is awake now--his eyes are forever open." The troublemaker
was all of humanity at that moment. His righteous indignation
was there for all to see. The other students understood because,
beneath their armor of suave teenage sophistication, they
agreed with him. They all "got it." The world hadn't had time
to smooth out their edges and blunt their sense of injustice
yet. Irrationally I hoped it never would.
That day happened two years ago. I'm still speaking all over
the country, and, in my travels, I've mentioned the boy's
question and the answer many times. The point always gets
across and afterward, I often hear compliments on what a great
answer it was. I smile graciously and say thank you. If I
happen to be speaking to an audience of clergy, I say what
the clergy audiences already know: on that day two years ago
when the troublemaker asked his question, it was I who spoke
the words, but it wasn't I who answered.