Congregations and employers that object as a matter of conscience to their Medical Plan dues being used for abortion procedures may apply for relief of conscience.
Relief of conscience (ROC) can be granted to a congregation or employer that pays dues. It does not affect the Benefits Plan coverage available to their ministers and employees.
For those with ROC status, the Board of Pensions sets aside from their dues the same amount that paid for abortion procedures in the prior year among those they cover; this money helps to fund Adoption Assistance Grants.
A session or an employer's governing body (e.g., Board of Directors) must pass a resolution declaring that it objects, as a matter of conscience, to Medical Plan coverage of abortion procedures. The resolution then goes to the presbytery of jurisdiction, which will grant or deny ROC status. Those seeking ROC are advised to discuss their presbytery's procedure with the executive/general presbyter, stated clerk, or Committee on Ministry.
A presbytery notifies the Board when it grants ROC status. The Board then notifies the session or employer and places it on the ROC roll.
As of December 31, 2018, there were 390 churches on the ROC roll. During 2018, these churches paid approximately $6.33 million in medical dues, or approximately 3.5 percent of total medical dues paid.
During 2018, the Board dispensed $63,000 in Adoption Assistance Grants.
The 221st General Assembly (2014) urged the Board of Pensions to publish a list of those churches that have been granted ROC status by their presbyteries.