The United Methodist Church has parted ways with an interfaith group which supports and advocates for abortion rights.
The UMC voted 425-268 during the quadrennial General Conference meeting in Portland, Oregon to require churches and boards to withdraw their association from Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC).
The two UMC panels which were members of RCRC were: the General Board on Church and Society (GBCS) and United Methodist Women (UMW).
"In contrast to the United Methodist Church, RCRC dismisses the value of unborn human life. RCRC even promotes rituals to bless all the work of elective abortion clinics, describing aborting unborn children as always 'holy work,'" said John Lomperis of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, a conservative body within UMC.
After the UMC decision, the RCRC said it does not perceive the denomination's verdict to apply to all members.
"We welcome Methodists who share our views to stand with us and to use our resources and programs to benefit their churches and communities. In doing so, they will join a broad range of other denominations speaking out for women," RCRC said on Facebook.
The UMC said that the church recognizes that RCRC "is a one-sided political lobby that opposes all disapproval or limitation of abortion. RCRC's advocacy often directly contradicts our Social Principles on abortion, but it still uses our Church's name. Several annual conferences and many United Methodist leaders have urged the Church to end all association with RCRC."
The "Social Principles" of the church outlined that abortion cannot be justified as a means of birth control, but accepted it in incidents of "tragic conflicts of life with life."
"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... We cannot affirm abortion as an acceptable means of birth control, and we unconditionally reject it as a means of gender selection or eugenics," the principles said.
UMC also ruled that it will not support "partial-birth abortions," and called for ending the practice, except when physical life of the woman was in danger, and no other medical procedure was available.
"There is nothing moderate or nuanced about RCRC, which has consistently lobbied to defend grisly 'partial-birth' abortions, even after our Social Principles included a statement 'call[ing] for the end of this late-term practice,'" Lomperis said in the statement.
"This is a necessary and good step towards affirming that the unborn are persons of sacred worth. This also shows the UMC moving away from other liberal, declining, 'mainline' denominations to embrace a new faithful, global identity," he added.