PCUSA Seminary Honors Planned Parenthood Leadership

A Presbyterian Church (USA) seminary in New York has honored Planned Parenthood leaders with its "Lives of Commitment" Award.

Auburn Seminary of New York awarded Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), and Cecilia Guthrie Boone, chair of PPFA, at a breakfast benefit on Wednesday along with several other people.

Auburn Seminary provided The Christian Post with a statement on the event, which states that the breakfast benefit event "honors women whose inspiring and courageous leadership sets an example for others and makes a meaningful impact on society."

"Like the millions of people who support for Planned Parenthood's mission, Auburn recognizes that Cecile Richards and Cecilia Boone as champions for reproductive health care, education, and women's health," said Auburn.

Some Presbyterians who consider themselves pro-life, however, were not surprised by the seminary's awarding the leadership of the nation's largest abortion provider. In an interview with One News Now, Marie Bowman of Presbyterians Pro-Life said that while she was not surprised, she was nevertheless opposed to the action.

"But that doesn't mean I agree with it, and I certainly don't think it's a good thing to try to involve clergy in activism that advocates for abortion rights," said Bowman.

 "The fact is the right we're talking about is the right to kill an unborn child…No human being has that right. God does not give us that right."

According to the General Assembly Mission Council of PC (USA), the mainline denomination has struggled with its overall position on abortion. The 217th General Assembly of PC (USA) referred to the issue of abortion as "intensely personal" and one that should "be based on Scripture, faith, and Christian ethics."

The 217th General Assembly did, however, draw a more pro-life conclusion regarding the issue of partial birth abortion, adopting a position that reads in part "We affirm that the lives of viable unborn babies –those well-developed enough to survive outside the womb if delivered – ought to be preserved and cared for and not aborted."

"When late-term pregnancies must be terminated, we urge decisions intended to deliver the baby alive. We look to our churches to provide pastoral and tangible support to women in problem pregnancies and to surround these families with a community of care," reads the position.

In addition to Richards and Boone, the other honorees for the 2012 "Lives of Commitment" included Rabbi Sharon Brous, founder of IKAR, a spiritual social justice-centered Jewish community based in California and Reverend Kanyere Eaton, pastor of Fellowship Covenant Church, an evangelical church in the Bronx, and executive director of The Sister Fund.


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