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Clergy Statement on the Federal Abortion Ban

As clergy, we spend countless hours offering comfort and support to individuals as they face medical procedures. Our pastoral care experience teaches us that difficult decisions about health care are best left to the doctor, in consultation with the patient and without interference from politicians or the courts. Banning a medical procedure that doctors use to perform pre-viability, second-trimester abortions will eliminate choices for women that are safe and might be the best for their physical and mental health. With the ruling in the cases Gonzales v. Carhart and Gonzales v. PPFA, the court took away an important option for doctors who seek to provide the best care for their patients.

Abortion is a surgical procedure that a responsible community provides when individuals or families determine this to be the best option for them; when a pregnancy threatens a woman’s health or her life; when there are fetal anomalies; or when a woman is the survivor of rape, incest, or other forms of violence.

The federal abortion ban will interfere with a woman’s right to follow her faith’s instruction. When a pregnancy poses a medical threat, some religious authorities believe an abortion should be performed by any means medically necessary.

As clergy we assert that it is the right of a woman to make the difficult determination to end her pregnancy guided by her faith and her conscience.

To interfere with a woman’s decision whether to carry a pregnancy, or with her and her physician’s judgments about the safest way to terminate a pregnancy if she so chooses, is to deprive her of the right to determine what is best for her and for other important people in her life. As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said in her dissent, “legal challenges to undue restrictions on abortion procedures do not seek to vindicate some generalized notion of privacy; rather, they center on a woman's autonomy to determine her life's course, and thus to enjoy equal citizenship stature."

The gift and responsibility of reproductive choice is the woman’s and should not be usurped by politicians or the courts.