Long before the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, the United Church of Christ, by action of the General Synod, affirmed the right of every individual to follow their personal religious and moral convictions regarding their reproductive healthcare. We continue to stand by this conviction today. This religious and moral agency includes the autonomy of birthing people to decide whether to complete or terminate a pregnancy.
Our Synod resolutions, which represent the will of the church in light of scripture, highlight the importance of ensuring access to the full range of reproductive health care regardless of race, religion, or economic status. We do not take this stand in spite of faith, but rather because of it. Throughout sacred text humankind is tasked with care of self and others. Bodily autonomy is a human right given by God.
Today’s Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, discarding nearly 50 years of precedent, will endanger the lives and well-being of birthing people who do not choose to continue pregnancy. God loves and cares for people who have abortions, and so does the United Church of Christ. We believe all people have the right to make their own decisions about their bodies and medical treatment. We believe women have an inalienable right to shape the direction of their lives as they see fit, and no institution established by humankind should supersede such freedom.
The Supreme Court’s decision to vacate Roe v. Wade and return the protection of a woman’s human right to states represents a continual effort to oppress women and people who can give birth. Such uniform repression targeted at one specific class of people, namely those who have a uterus, creates yet another stark division in a country that so desperately needs unity. In addition to gender bias, such a rendering also disproportionately effects birthing people of color and women in rural or low-income areas who face challenges in access to safe and medically supervised reproductive health care, including abortions. The gravity of this decision and the devastation of its impact cannot be overstated.
King Hezekiah offers these words of comfort to the Israelites during a challenging time: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10) These are not words that assuage us with easy answers and shallow promises. There is no declaration that things will be better tomorrow. They will not be. But they do promise that we are not alone in our struggles.
We, the officers of the United Church of Christ, want those feeling the pain of today’s decision to know that you are not alone. God has not abandoned you and neither will we. We will do what we always do when the law loses its love. We will grieve with you and offer space for lament and mourning. We will work with you until the rights of every person are honored in this land. We will stand with you in protest. We will kneel with you in prayer. And we will maintain our commitment to educate people about abortion access and safe medically supported reproductive healthcare. Now and always, we remain firm in the knowledge that all are beloved of God, and this cause is right and holy.
The Rev. Dr. John C. Dorhauer
General Minister and President
The Rev. Traci Blackmon
The Rev. Dr. Karen Georgia A. Thompson
Associate General Ministers
With Health & Wholeness for all!
The Rev. Gaye Bosley-Mitchell