Responding to the Supreme Court’s Dobbs Decision

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JUNE 24, 2022

Dear friends,

Today our nation received the news we’ve been expecting for several weeks now—that a divided Supreme Court has overturned Roe v Wade and Casey decisions which had for nearly fifty years ensured the constitutional right to reach an informed decision about termination of pregnancy and safe access to act upon those decisions.

As I said in a recent sermon [pdf] addressing the topic of reproductive rights, this is a matter of human dignity, and as such it is a first and foremost pastoral issue, even as it has been politicized. Since preaching that sermon on May 8, 2022, I have heard from several who have shared very tenderly of their life experiences and the difficult decisions they faced as crucial moments. I stand by what I said that day, and I share here once more that the Episcopal Church has, since 1976, unequivocally and repeatedly adopted formal position statements affirming full and equal access to health care for all genders, and that access to decisions surrounding reproductive rights must be reserved to the individual in consultation with their health care providers. [source]

Here is the statement from the Episcopal Church shared today:

Since 1976, The Episcopal Church has maintained its “unequivocal opposition to any legislation on the part of the national or state governments which would abridge or deny the right of individuals to reach informed decisions [about the termination of pregnancy] and to act upon them.” We uphold the conscience rights of pregnant women and other pregnant persons to determine whether they want to continue a pregnancy. The Episcopal Church views reproductive rights as “an integral part of a woman’s struggle to assert her dignity and worth as a human being.”

In light of the Supreme Court’s recent decision in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case, we reiterate our opposition to any legislative, executive, or judicial action at all levels of government that would restrict or limit a woman’s right to choose, or that would limit the rights of women and other pregnant people to access a safe abortion procedure. For us as Episcopalians, this is a matter of faith. Respecting the dignity of every human being means respecting the rights and freedoms of women to control their own bodies, destinies, and future.

 

I would refer you to the resource page of the Episcopal Church’s Office of Government Relations for additional information about how to respond in light of this judicial ruling. I would also say I am grateful to live in a state where reproductive rights are ensured by legislative action.

As I said in the sermon on May 8, we will make our way together, even when we won’t agree on every detail of such complicated matters. We do so as people of faith who hold dear the human dignity for all people; we do so as people committed to a way of life that is at its core a pastoral way of being with one another; we do so as people who cast a vision for a more just world, bringing hope into a world which is parched and thirsts for good news. I am willing to work for that, and I trust you are too.

Blessings and peace,

The Very Reverend Steven L. Thomason
Dean and Rector

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