By James Tillman

PORTSMOUTH, United Kingdom, June 30, 2010 ( – The Methodist Church of Great Britain's annual conference has voted in favor of a new briefing to clarify its position on abortion and abortion-related issues.

The briefing, which will be produced by the Joint Public Issues Team, is not intended to alter the Church's official position on abortion but to clarify it in modern language and in the context of modern law and science.

The Methodist Church's current position is that abortion is permissible before viability and under other limited circumstances, such as cases of fetal deformity.

The “Methodist Church’s Abortion Statement Working Group” said that there was “no evidence that the Methodist people as a whole wish for a change” in this position, according to the Christian Post.

Conference attendee Rev. Martin H. Turner said that a briefing would take into account new findings on the mental health implications of abortion and new research on fetal pain.

The Methodist's 1976 statement on abortion states that although “there is never any moment from conception onwards when the fetus totally lacks human significance … the degree of this significance increases” as pregnancy continues.

For this reason, the statement says it would “be best to restrict all abortions to the first twenty weeks of pregnancy except where there is a direct physical threat to the life of the mother or when new information about serious abnormality in the fetus becomes available after the twentieth week.”

A 1990 Report on the Status of the Unborn Human also stated that although the product of the conjunction of a human sperm and ovum was “obviously itself human” and distinct from the mother, abortion was permissible under some circumstances.

The Methodist Church of Great Britain also permits contraception, in vitro fertilization, and the use of 'spare' embryos produced during IVF for research.

To contact the Methodist Church:

Telephone: 020 7486 5502
Email: [email protected]


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