IVF Condemnation Passes Southern Baptists' Vote

Measure barring women from all pastoral positions barely loses
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 12, 2024 4:54 PM CDT
Southern Baptists Vote to Denounce, Oppose IVF
Messengers stand for worship during a Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting Tuesday, June 11, 2024, in Indianapolis.   (AP Photo/Doug McSchooler)

Delegates to Southern Baptists' annual meeting voted Wednesday to oppose in vitro fertilization, a procedure the resolution calls "dehumanizing," as advocates cast IVF as the next battleground now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned. The measure calls for Southern Baptists to support the right to life of every human being, "including those in an embryonic stage," Reuters reports. It says the process creates far more embryos than can be used, leading to the destruction of hundreds of thousands of them. The measure also calls on government to limit the use of the procedure.

Earlier Wednesday at the Indianapolis meeting, a vote on a constitutional amendment to bar women from pastoral positions fell just shy of passage. Last year, the delegates—called messengers—voted to expel churches led by women, a group that included Rick Warren's Saddleback Church. Backers of the move said the amendment was needed this time to specify that even lower-ranking jobs such as women's ministry pastor or children's pastor can be held by men only, per the Washington Post. The amendment needed two-thirds support to be enacted but received about 61%, per the Wall Street Journal.

While the IVF resolution is nonbinding, people among the nearly 13 million Southern Baptists wanting to have children could now face pressure from their pastors to stay away from IVF. The Roman Catholic Church already opposes the procedure, per Politico, but many Protestant denominations have not included IVF in their campaigns against abortion. A broader battle could be ahead; in Washington, Senate Democrats have scheduled a vote on IVF protections for Thursday. "It's going to be a long process," said Brent Leatherwood, who leads the Southern Baptist Convention's public policy arm. "It took us 50 years to take down Roe." (More Southern Baptist Convention stories.)

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