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Committee on Health Issues closes out Friday business

Assembly encourages all Presbyterians to be tested for HIV

July 10, 2010

MINNEAPOLIS

The report of the Assembly Committee on Health Issues closed out a long evening of business on Friday at the 219th General Assembly (2010). 

Among the items approved by the Assembly was an overture encouraging all Presbyterians, especially pastors and church leaders, to be tested for HIV to help eliminate the stigma associated with such testing.

A theological student advisory delegate polled the Assembly with a show of hands to see who had been tested at this Assembly. After seeing the lack of raised hands, he said, “I see why this amendment is needed.”

The Assembly approved a floor amendment encouraging the PC(USA) to develop educational materials to discourage discrimination of HIV+ individuals as well as adding “Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C” wherever HIV and AIDS appear in the overture’s text.

Also approved was a second HIV/AIDS-related overture that directs the Stated Clerk to send a letter to the President of the United States and the governors of all 50 states to implement HIV testing and prevention awareness in prisons and correctional facilities.

Other actions by the Assembly:

  • Designated “every year a day of prayer for healing and wholeness” and suggested that this be done in conjunction with the day currently designated on the Presbyterian Planning Calendar as Health Awareness Sunday;
  • Took a stand against forced and coerced decisions on ending or continuing a pregnancy. “We stand with all women against the injustice of any forced or coerced abortions and the injustice of any forced or coerced decisions to carry a pregnancy to term;”
  • Approved a statement regarding violence against pregnant women to the U.S. Congress and state legislatures;
  • Approved “Congregational Resource Materials on the Subject of Reproductive Options” as amended “to include Scriptural references for faithful-life decisions in future editions of the resource materials.”