Methodist Conference votes to review position on abortion

A major report on abortion, assisted reproductivetechnologies and stem cell research has been received by theMethodist Conference. The report, Created in God's Image, alsodiscusses embryo screening and egg and sperm donation. The reportwas jointly produced by the Methodist Church, the Baptist Union ofGreat Britain and the United Reformed Church.

Created in God's Image looks at the ethical and theological issuesraised by these technologies, and aims to give church members auseful framework for discussing them, and other breakthroughs yetto come.

Conference also voted that the Methodist Council should form agroup to revise its position on abortion, which was last reviewedin 1976. Since then, medical advances have changed the ethicallandscape, especially the discussion of the 24-week limit forabortions.

Anthea Cox, Methodist Coordinating Secretary for Public Life andSocial Justice, says "these are all difficult and confusing areasfor ordinary people, yet also potentially exciting for those whomight benefit from them. This report helps us to discuss andunderstand them better. Many people hold deeply held views on earlyhuman life, and we need to ensure that we do not compromise ourcore values in pursuit of medical developments. Modern medicaltechnologies promise great things, and we need to make sure that weas Christians are able to have fully informed discussions theethical dimensions of these."