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National Faith Leaders on Dobbs Ruling: Access to abortion care honors God-given values; criminalizing people who access it, does not 


Friday, June 24, 2022


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

National Faith Leaders on Dobbs Ruling: 

Access to abortion care honors God-given values; criminalizing people who access it, does not

Washington, DC — Today, national faith leaders decried the Supreme Court decision made in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, calling it “a day of heartbreak, outrage and injustice.” Faith in Public Life CEO Jeanné Lewis and Founder in Residence Rev. Jennifer Butler offered statements below. 

Jeanné Lewis, CEO of Faith in Public Life:
Today is a day of heartbreak, outrage and injustice. Across faiths and across race a clear majority of Americans oppose overturning Roe v Wade, but five judges ended the constitutional protection of our freedom to decide if, when, and how to grow our families regardless of where we live. We all have God-given dignity, and we are created to live in respectful relationship with one another. Access to abortion care honors these values; criminalizing people who access or provide abortion does not.

The challenges of this moment run even deeper than questions of legal rights. Reproductive justice, not just reproductive choice, is what God desires for all of us. We deserve systems and policies that enable us to raise children in safe, sustainable, healthy communities where everyone thrives. 

The impact of today’s immoral ruling will be measured in deaths, incarceration and life-altering trauma, as 13 states already have trigger ban laws on the books, and 26 states in total are likely to deprive people of abortion access. Many of these states already harm and punish mothers, children and families with policies that deny them healthcare, trap them in poverty, and rob them of opportunity and freedom. These compounding injustices most severely impact the communities always harmed the most by unjust policies: Black, Brown, Native and Asian people, LGBTQ folks, people with low incomes, and immigrants. Pregnant women in this country die needlessly from complications every single day, and Black women die in childbirth at almost three times the rate of white women. And today, America became an even more dangerous place to be pregnant. These grievous inequities will only deepen as states with conservative governors and diverse populations make abortion care a crime. 

Whatever our personal opinions on abortion, we should be able to agree that a pregnant person’s moral judgment about their unique needs, not fear of prosecution, should drive decisions about our health and our families. 

Today is heartbreaking, but injustice never has the last word. People of faith will work without ceasing to replace oppressive policies with just laws, accompany our neighbors through painful days, and pour a balm of reproductive justice into the wounds opened by the courts and by misguided politicians.

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

People of faith are crying out: how long must we endure the injustice of judges denying our moral autonomy and our freedom to control our own lives?

Our decisions about accessing abortion care are nuanced, personal and moral. As a pastor, I have walked with loved ones as they carefully and prayerfully made personal decisions about seeking abortion care. We deserve the grace and space to discern what we need for our health, our bodies and our families. Whatever our opinions on abortion, surely we can agree that jailing a woman or a health care provider for exercising their moral judgment in the moment is wrong. These punitive measures will be aimed disproportionately at Black, Brown, Native and Asian women, LGBTQ people, immigrants and low-income people – compounding the injustice. Our faith traditions teach us to have compassion on those who face difficult situations, not punish them.

In the aftermath of today’s unjust ruling, we must come together and bear one another’s burdens. The vast majority of people of faith support access to legal abortion care. We must do everything in our power to ensure that pregnant people who face immediate risk to their health and freedom are respected and protected, and in the long term we must keep pressing forward  until every person in this country has the care and safety they need to thrive.

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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