American Southern Baptist Church Conference opposes IVF in referendum

  • author, Ana Fagui
  • stock, BBC News Digital – North America

The Southern Baptist Convention has approved a resolution opposing in vitro fertilization (IVF) at its annual conference.

The resolution urged its audience to support only reproductive technologies that affirm the “unconditional dignity and right to life of every human being, including those in the fetal stage” and criticized IVF.

A separate proposed measure to allow only men as pastors failed in a vote Wednesday.

The Southern Baptist Convention is the largest Protestant denomination in the United States.

The association includes 47,000 Baptist churches and has nearly 13 million members.

The IVF move marks the success of a section of the church’s efforts to support more conservative measures after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade, which guaranteed women the right to abortion nationally.

The resolution described IVF as “inhumane” and asked the government to “regulate” the practice.

Earlier Wednesday, the SBC voted 61.4% to 38.4% in favor of a ban on female pastors, but a two-thirds majority was needed to amend the church’s constitution.

In a written statement, Meredith Stone, executive director of Baptist Women’s Ministries, said she was “saddened” but “thankful” for the women pastors’ vote.

“Even if the amendment is not passed, we regret that this vote has ever taken place,” he said.

The amendment still received a majority vote, which Ms Stone said “demonstrates that women in ministry are still undervalued”.

Supporters of the amendment say the opposition to female pastors makes the church’s position on progressive issues such as LGBT rights more clear.

This amendment would have strengthened and expedited the ability to remove women-led churches.

However, opponents said the removal process was already too efficient.

On Tuesday, a church in Virginia with a female pastor for women and children was expelled after a majority of delegates voted to disband.

Five other churches with female leaders or senior pastors were removed last year.

“We’ve shown that the means we have now are adequate to deal with this question,” North Carolina pastor Spence Sheldon said from the floor opposing the amendment.

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