Factions within the United Methodist Church are pushing to cease relationship with Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, a pro-abortion group.
UMC action director John Lomperis at Institute of Religion & Democracy is one of the leaders who is lobbying to end the denomination's relationship with the RCRC.
RCRC was founded in 1973 as a "leading religious voice for reproductive justice" with a sole purpose to "safeguard the newly-won" legal right to abortion. It supports abortion, even in the third trimester.
"Other Mainline denominations have severed their past ties with RCRC and my fervent prayer is for the UMC to follow their good example," said Lomperis in an interview to The Christian Post.
He called the working relationship between UMC and RCRC a "scandalous betrayal of the God who creates and loves all people, regardless of race, gender, or age."
The UMC does not donate money to the organization, but it gives support to RCRC's mission statement. RCRC gives training to members from various religious backgrounds and makes them into advocates of abortion.
"While our member organizations and individual supporters are religiously and theologically diverse, they are unified in the commitment to preserve reproductive choice as a basic part of religious liberty, and to be a collective, religious voice for reproductive justice," says the RCRC website.
"We support access to sex education, family planning and contraception, affordable child care and healthcare, and adoption services, as well as safe, legal, compassionate abortion care, regardless of income," it says.
RCRC defenders within UMC point out that the UMC was one of the member organizations who founded the pro-abortion group.
However, the official position of UMC on abortion contradicts its decision to support the RCRC.
"Our belief in the sanctity of unborn human life makes us reluctant to approve abortion. But we are equally bound to respect the sacredness of the life and well-being of the mother and the unborn child," the UMC website says.
"We recognize tragic conflicts of life with life that may justify abortion, and in such cases we support the legal option of abortion under proper medical procedures by certified medical providers."
Reports from UMC leaders have indicated that even though the pro-life stance has a popular support in the church, it fails to see light of the day in elections.
"In the 2008 General Conference, we came especially close, with a final vote of 48 percent voting to withdraw the UMC from RCRC. This vote was very suspiciously scheduled for a moment when over 100 largely pro-life African delegates were not present," said Lomperis. "The pro-RCRC side won in a 416-384 vote - 33 more delegates with a pro-life or even moderate stance on abortion would have swung things the other way."
Rev. Paul T. Stallsworth, president of the Taskforce of United Methodists on Abortion and Sexuality, told LifeSiteNews in 2012, that a petition to end UMC's membership with RCRC passed in the legislative committee and sub-committee, but was kept away from the floor vote. Rev. Stallsworth said that he had "every reason to believe" that a pro-life petition would have won a floor vote, considering that the wider subcommittee vote passed by 42-33. He indicated that it was not brought to the floor because of absence of popular vote for RCRC.