Seizing the blessings of a rising stock market and unexpectedly plentiful reserve funds, the United Methodist General Conference approved millions of dollars for innovative programs serving overseas churches, ethnic groups in the U.S., young people, older adults, urban needs, ministries to the deaf, and even the production of cable TV spots to attract new members.
Under current federal law, an individual who assaults a pregnant woman receives no punishment for any harm done to the unborn child. That the woman being assaulted is carrying a child in her womb is no more relevant in the eyes of the law than the fact that she is brown-haired or blue-eyed.
Pundits and politicians used to say they were embarrassed to have to tell their children that Bill Clinton didn’t tell the truth about his escapades. Based on recent reports, the children are still not safe. Our newest role model in the White House has been flirting with untruths on matters far more serious than personal escapades.
The man who murdered an abortion doctor in the foyer of his Lutheran church in Kansas has been sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole for 50 years—the longest sentence possible under state law.
A man who by his own testimony sought chances to kill Dr. George Tiller, one of the few U.S. physicians who perform late-term abortions, was quickly convicted of murder in a Kansas trial. The outcome was welcomed by pro-choice groups and by most established pro-life groups.
Facing what they consider “threats” from American culture, prominent Cath olic, evangelical and Orthodox leaders are vowing unspecified civil disobedience against abortion, same-sex marriage and limits on religious liberty.
The status quo on federal abortion funding leaves a lot to be desired, and not just for abortion-rights hardliners. Current law offers antiabortion citizens the peace of knowing that while abortion may be legal, at least their taxes aren't paying for it. In exchange for these clean hands, Americans get a system in which women who rely on the federal safety net for their health coverage don't have access to abortion, while women of greater means do. The Stupak Amendment to the House's health-insurance bill would make this inequality worse.
A rise in contraceptive use has led to a decline in unwanted pregnancies and consequently a decline in abortions worldwide—from 45.5 million procedures in 1995 to 41.6 million in 2003, according to a study released by the Guttmacher Institute.