For over 40 years, the United Church of Christ General Synod has affirmed a woman’s agency to follow her personal religious and moral convictions in consultation with her family and medical care team about whether or not to complete or terminate a pregnancy. It has also lifted up the importance of ensuring a woman’s access to the full range of reproductive health care services regardless of economic circumstances.
The recent actions by the Trump Administration, combined with the statewide actions to ban this access, are deeply troubling, but not surprising. Since Roe vs. Wade in 1974 there has been a continued campaign to ban or severely limit access to safe abortion services. These ongoing battles call for a faithful and strong response affirming women’s self-determination.
Care, support, and resources for those who need women’s health services should be provided across a broad spectrum. As it stands now, restrictions on access to abortion are being coupled with restricting access to birth control and women’s health screenings, resulting in diminished access to reproductive health care for all women, but especially low-income women.
The Women’s Health Protection Act (HR 2975/S 1645) was reintroduced in May and currently has 184 cosponsors in the House and 42 in the Senate. It is a critically needed bill that will enact protections on the federal level to safeguard access to high-quality care and to secure constitutional rights by protecting patients and providers from political or religious interference. It would bar state and federal legislation that imposes medically unnecessary regulations on access to abortion services including medication, mandatory waiting periods, or out and out abortion bans. This means then that women are able to make their own medical decisions based on based on their values and with the consultation of their medical team, without barriers imposed by economic status, employment status, or zip code.
As a justice-seeking people, we cannot remain silent while state laws transform us into a map of “haves and have-nots” with regard to access to reproductive health services. Protecting access to the full range of reproductive health care for all – including safe, legal abortion – is an imperative rooted in our deeply-held faith beliefs in social justice, moral agency, and religious liberty for all.