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(RNS) At least two denominations say they are not seeking taxpayer funding of abortion as part of health care reform after an online newsletter erroneously reported that they were. reported — and later retracted — on Oct. 2 that several denominations were lobbying through the Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice and Healing for taxpayer funding for abortion.
The Church of the Brethren and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) both sent out notices disputing the report on churches seeking “a world where abortion is safe, legal, accessible and rare.” later said that individual clergy members, not denominations, signed the letter. Still, denominational representatives felt the need to defend their views.
“The Religious Institute did issue an ‘Open Letter to Religious Leaders on Abortion as a Moral Decision,’ but this was not endorsed by any Church of the Brethren denominational leader either personally or on behalf of the denomination,” a Church of the Brethren press notice said.
The church’s notice also referenced the church’s 25-year position on abortion that states “the Church of the Brethren opposes abortion because the rejection of unborn children violates the love by which God creates and nurtures human life.”
The ELCA’s Washington office, too, distanced itself from the Religious Institute letter, saying officials were working for a commitment that “health care reform will not be used to increase the opportunities for public funding of abortions.”
The article had said the open letter included support from American Baptist Churches USA, the Presbyterian Church (USA), the United Church of Christ and the United Methodist Church. Officials at those offices said they were either unaware of the letter, or were unavailable for comment.
By Angela Abbamonte
Copyright 2009 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.

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