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Ahead of 50th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade Decision, Faith Leaders Challenge the Faith and Abortion Narrative


Thursday, January 19, 2023


Austin Schuler, aschuler@faithinpubliclife.org, 540-280-3393

Ahead of 50th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade Decision, Faith Leaders Challenge the Faith and Abortion Narrative

Washington, D.C. – On Wednesday, January 18, Catholic, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Protestant faith leaders spoke with reporters about how their faith informs their work to expand reproductive health care, including abortion care. Joining together in faith ahead of the 50th Anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision on January 22, faith leaders who reflect the religious diversity of the country challenged the false dichotomy of faith versus abortion.

For video of the event, click here. 

Jeanné Lewis, Interim CEO, Faith in Public Life

“In my Catholic tradition, discernment is often described as choosing between multiple good options. Yet in the unjust society in which we live too many people are faced only with hard and difficult options, especially in that case, Christ invites us to run to Him and trust Him to make the best decision that we can. This is a holistic approach incorporating love, grace, courage, wisdom and other virtues, something that I love about my Catholic tradition when you delve into it. And that’s something that’s echoed in the reproductive justice movement, and other social movements that encourage us to embrace and wrestle with the interconnectedness and complexity in which we live.”

Rev. Jennifer Butler, Founder-in-Residence, Faith in Public Life

“To be clear, the Anti-Choice movement is not actually rooted in a theological or moral argument, but has been a political strategy to build and maintain power. For far too long abortion has been used as a proxy issue, to galvanize people behind a cause that looks righteous, but will put them and their families in impossible binds. As people of faith, we will continue to reclaim our faith from those who twist it to oppress others. And our increasingly vocal coalition will promote the true vision of what our faith calls us to: respecting the dignity of all people, trusting people’s God given agency to make decisions about their health and families; and building safe, healthy and sustainable communities where everyone can thrive.”

Nadia Arellano Tapia, Associate Director, Soulforce

“Our work alongside theologians, pastors and Queer and feminist activists in the U.S., Latin America and other regions of the Global South has made us reaffirm over and over again, that we do not stand for reproductive justice, despite our religious beliefs, but because of them. And we feel honored to be here with all of you sharing that same commitment, which for us is a reflection of God’s call for love, freedom, solidarity and justice.”

Ria Chakrabarty, Policy Director, Hindus for Human Rights

“Abortion bans interrupt the way Hindus are allowed to practice their faith in the United States. Hindus are not allowed to make a conscientious decision about their reproductive health. Given the importance of freedom of choice, 68% of Hindu Americans believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases. Like many people from religious minority communities in this country, Hindu Americans believe that individuals, not governments, should make their own decisions about whether or not to pursue an abortion. Again, Hindu American support for abortion access reflects a Hindu value that individuals must be allowed to make well considered choices for themselves.”

Jennifer Driver, Senior Director of Reproductive Rights, State Innovation Exchange (SiX)

“The polling is clear on this issue, communities of faith across the country support abortion access, and legislators are listening to that. They’re delivering the change their constituents want. So I’ll end with saying that the stories of the state legislators, as people of faith are certainly underreported.”

Sheila Katz, CEO, National Council of Jewish Women

“For too long, this country has allowed a small but loud group from the religious right to dominate the narrative around abortion and religion, claiming that abortion access is a violation of religious freedom. So we ask them, whose religious freedom are you trying to protect? Not mine. Religious freedom in this country exists to protect minority religions. And religious freedom is meant to be a shield to protect and never a sword to discriminate. The Supreme Court is supposed to uphold our constitutional rights, not tear them down. And Congress is supposed to fight for all of their constituents, not a vocal few. Their job is not to normalize taking away our rights. So we can’t let the goalposts get moved. We can’t cede any moral ground in this fight. These are our rights and we need to claim them.”

Aliza Kazmi, Co-Executive Director, HEART To Grow 

“We know that at least 56% of Muslims in America believe abortion is a basic right. There is no ban on abortions, nor consensus around abortion being prohibited among Muslims or in Islam. In fact, the Quran and examples from the life of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, including interpretations by diverse scholars, including people with uteruses, repeatedly affirm reproductive justice. Our Islamic tradition guides us to look at Islamic law and ethics, as well as diverse and unique lived experiences, knowing that every individual is accountable for their own actions and choices.”

Rev. Amanda Hambrick Ashcraft, Consulting Community Minister, Middle Church

“I’m here specifically as a Baptist minister to remind us that on the individual level, people have abortions because of their faith and on a systemic level, we should all fight for full abortion access and reproductive justice because of our faith. On an individual level, the decision to have an abortion is a faith informed way to live the full abundant lives we are called to live.”

Rabbi Kelly Levy, Steering Committee Member, SACReD

“We can advocate together, we can create policy change together, if we are uniting our voices, and actually speaking about this at all, it’s a way to start that cultural shift. So I think that this is, in a sense, an opportunity to take back what has been set in place for so long. And that by even having all of us here today, to share this multitude of faith traditions, to be able to articulate, we are all saying the same thing. We are all from these different faith backgrounds, and this is how it starts.”

Faith in Public Life is a national movement of clergy and faith leaders united in the prophetic pursuit of justice, equality and the common good. Together, with a network of over 50,000 leaders, they are leading the fight to advance just policies at the state and federal level that affirm our values and the human dignity of all.

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