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April 2008
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PPL Launches Partners for Life program
 
Greetings!

PPL's Board of Directors would like to extend an invitation to you and your church to join in a special partnership with Presbyterians Pro-Life. We hope that by joining hands and forming deeper relationships with pro-life churches we can ways to enhance our mutual work for the protection of innocent human life.

For 30 years PPL has raised a prophetic witness in the PC(USA) calling our denomination to return to a biblical stand against abortion and to protect every human life, born and unborn. At the same time PPL has been pro-active in providing educational and ministry resources to help pastors and churches cherish life and provide tangible care and ministry to women and families facing difficult pregnancies. It is time to "kick it up" to a new level of commitment and forge strong partnerships with churches like yours.

Download our Partners for Life brochureand share it with the leadership of your church.  We particularly encourage Presbyterian Church (USA) congregations to take the steps outlined in the brochure to become a PPL Partner and to allow us the opportunity to clasp hands with you in a new way in this important work! Churches from other denominations may also find a partnership with PPL to be valuable in strengthening your pro-life work in your own community.

If you have any questions, call Marie Bowen, Executive Director or Laureen Bodnar, Associate Director, at the PPL office (412)-487-1990. We hope to hear from you soon!

Choose your friends carefully! 

It is sound advice we have all heard from parents, professors, and pastors. It's the kind of advice we give to our children. Our associations with others have influence on our own behaviors and character. Our associations affect the perception others have of us. Those friendships may assign value to us or de-value us in the eyes of others.

 

Take, for example, the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC) and their recent amicus brief presented to the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in the Stormans, Inc. (Ralph's Thriftway) v. Selecky (Washington State Department of Health) case. RCRC wants the court to reverse a lower court ruling that affirmed the right of a pharmacist to refuse to fill a prescription (i.e. abortifacient drugs or "morning after pill") based on their religious convictions (e.g. that life in the womb is precious to God). The court's action rightly protected the religious freedom of the individual pharmacist. It was a fair and right judgment upholding the individual's freedom of religion established in our constitution.

 

That's not the way RCRC sees it. Their organization was founded in 1973 "to safeguard the newly won right to abortion". They do this, according to their mission statement, by bringing "the moral power of religious communities to ensure reproductive choice through education and advocacy." One of the ways they do this is by promoting the faulty concept that abortion is an expression of a woman's faith. Choose your friends carefully! Do we really want to be associated with an organization that sees the chemical execution of a child in the womb of its mother as a religious practice that ought to be protected? Sounds a little like human sacrifice to me.

 

One might argue that religious freedom is rightfully limited when the life of another human being is threatened by its practice. RCRC tries to use that very argument to say that a pharmacist has no right to refuse participation in a chemical abortion on religious grounds, because doing so would impinge on the woman's "religious freedom regarding personal health care." (Amicus Brief, p. 11) At the risk of sounding like an anti-abortionist activist: "Abortion is NOT health care!" Abortion ends the life of the child and endangers the woman's long-term emotional and physical health. Where is the health, or the care, in that?

 

There is some hope that we are learning something in the PC(USA) about such friends.
On a positive note, the three entities of the PCUSA who hold memberships in RCRC (Washington Office, Women's Ministries, and Presbyterians Affirming Reproductive Options) DID NOT SIGN this amicus brief. I am grateful for that. It gives me hope that my denomination is gaining respect for my conscience and convictions as a pro-life Presbyterian.  In fact, only one Presbyterian Pastor's name appears--Reverend Mary Robinson-Mohr, St. James Presbyterian Church,
Bellingham, Washington-whose name is included with a number of Washington State Clergy and two Planned Parenthood chaplains. The list is posted on the RCRC website.

 

Still the PC(USA) name does not totally escape association with the weak and faulty arguments presented by RCRC in this amicus brief. "Women's Ministries of the Presbyterian Church (USA)" is listed on page 11 as one of the organizations that believes persons ought to be free to "exercise their moral agency and religious freedom when receiving health care." The statement alone is not a bad statement. In this context of defending abortion as a 'religious freedom,' however, the association is dreadful. Choose your friends carefully!

 

The "Presbyterian Church" name is used again on page 13 as one of several denominations that support "'full and equal access' to health care consistent with a woman's decisions." The footnote references the 1992 Report of the Special Committee on Problem Pregnancies and Abortion. The actual wording in the 1992 report [p. 13, (6) b.] is "full and equal access to contraceptive methods" (underline mine). Contraceptive methods which prevent fertilization of the egg by the sperm differ fundamentally from abortifacient methods such as the "morning after pill", which end the life of a fertilized embryo---a genetically complete individual.

 

Choose your friends carefully. Others will judge you by their words as well as your own. Perhaps even more disturbing is RCRC's youth initiative SYRF (Spiritual Youth for Reproductive Freedom). For example, would you want your teenager to have a friend who encouraged him or her with this message found on the SYRF website?

 

Learn more about how to put your faith into action
 on campus, in your community, and your congregation.

Make birth control pills affordable!

I would rather see our youth in a friendship with Tony Perkins of Family Research Council who wrote this week in an email newsletter article, "Condom Culture".

 

"It continues to astound me that our society is willing to tell kids to abstain from the dangers of drinking or smoking but not premarital sex. If America is truly committed to disease prevention, and the emotional well-being of our teens, then we must be committed to abstinence--the only method that works 100% of the time."

 

Sadly, Perkins is right. Society failing our youth, but too often, so is the church. What message is the PC(USA) sending to our youth through our association with "friends" such as RCRC and SYRF? 

 

Choose your friends carefully. The PC(USA) has some embarrassing friends. Maybe it's time to change friends!

Related articles: Our association with RCRC compounds our disunity on abortion, by Marie Bowen

Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice's Support for Partial Birth Abortion "Confused, at Best,"  by Fr. Frank Pavone

Visit PPL website

Topical Index of PPL Resources

In This Issue
Choose your friends carefully!
PPL needs YOUR financial support
PPL needs YOUR financial support!
We are preparing a team to be a pro-life presence at the General Assembly in San Jose, California, June 21-28. Overtures are coming to the Assembly which are of particular concern to PPL. One would require an annual report from the Board of Pensions about the separation of dues in the Relief of Conscience program, and another charges the entities of the PC(USA) to fairly represent both pro-life and pro-choice views in their advocacy and funding, or cease all advocacy and finding on the abortion issue.
 
Our team members pay their own expenses out of pocket. We need your help to ship our publications and materials to San Jose, to purchase a much needed new backdrop ($5000) for our exhibit booth, to host Youth and Theological Advisory Delegates for a pizza forum ($1000) on "The Real Deal: What the Bible says about abortion," and to publish a daily newsletter (Daily Delivery) at General Assembly which is given to every commissioner to take with them when they return home. In addition there are room costs associated with our team orientation, daily worship, and nightly debriefings....all which provide the fellowship, training, and encouragement that is vital to the work of spiritual warfare that we are engaged in at GA.
 
PPL is very excited about our Partner's for Life program and the opportunity to work more closely with churches in nurturing a culture of life in local congregations. We need to upgrade many of our publications and prepare new ones in order to equip churches as they join our effort. We invite you to join us by giving monthly to PPL or encouraging your missions team to support us financially in providing resources for churches.
Whether you can give $5.00 a month in our "widow's mite" program or you can give a major gift of several thousand---WE NEED YOU TO GIVE NOW!
Click on the link below to give online using
or send a check today to:
 
Presbyterians Pro-Life, Research, Education, & Care, Inc.
3942 Middle Road
Allison Park, PA 15101
 
If you wish to make a donation of stock you will find instructions here.
Join Our Mailing List

Please contact us at PPL and let us know how we can help you be a pro-life voice in the PC(USA)!

Yours in Christ for Life,

Marie Bowen, Executive Director

Presbyterians Pro-Life

Psalm 16:8 
I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
 
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