Religious leaders and organizations react to Supreme Court decision striking down Roe v. Wade
Many of the responses centered on religious liberty, with religious conservatives saying the ruling upheld religious freedom and other arguing that striking down Roe v. Wade violates religious liberty
The Supreme Court issued a decision Friday morning in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, striking down the landmark ruling in Roe v. Wade that gave abortion constitutional protection for almost 50 years. The decision strips the procedure of its federal protections, leaving it up states to determine who can access abortions.
In the wake of the monumental decision, religious leaders and faith-based organizations weighed in on what it will mean for the country. While some said the ruling upheld religious liberty, others said it was an attack on religious freedom.
- Statement from the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City:
“The Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City welcomes efforts to protect the dignity and sanctity of every life from conception to natural death. We are grateful that the U.S. Supreme Court recognizes the human within in the womb, but we also recognize it is the responses of communities to women in need before, during and after pregnancy and the birth of a child that are the most important to building a culture of life. Courts cannot ensure that women have the support and resources needed to raise healthy children. We encourage all communities of faith, neighbors, friends, and family to be ready and willing to walk with moms as they seek to provide lives of dignity for their children. ... The Diocese will also continue to advocate for private and public supports, such as the child tax credit, health coverage for all children and extended coverage for new moms, and deeply affordable housing to support the development of strong families.”
- Statement from Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the group’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities:
“We thank God today that the Court has now overturned (Roe v. Wade.) We pray that our elected officials will now enact laws and policies that promote and protect the most vulnerable among us. ... Now is the time to begin the work of building a post-Roe America. It is a time for healing wounds and repairing social divisions; it is a time for reasoned reflection and civil dialogue, and for coming together to build a society and economy that supports marriages and families, and where every woman has the support and resources she needs to bring her child into this world in love.”
- Statement from the founder and president of the National Association of Christian Lawmakers, Jason Rapert:
“This is a great day for our nation as future generations of Americans will be given a greater chance at realizing their own lives, liberties and pursuits of happiness by being born in the greatest country the world has known. ... The NACL is dedicated to working tirelessly to see that abortion is abolished entirely in the United States of America.”
- Statement from Brent Leatherwood, acting president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission:
“The release of the Dobbs decision marks a true turning point in the pro-life movement, a moment that Christians, advocates and many others have worked toward tirelessly for 50 years. Their commitment to uphold human dignity and justice has achieved the most significant victory in the history of the pro-life movement. As this chapter comes to a close, we must understand this is not the end of our important work. The issue of abortion has now been turned over to the states, many of which have either implemented or are considering some of the most abhorrently permissive pro-abortion proposals ever. A consistent, convictional pro-life witness is needed now more than ever in state legislatures and local communities. So let us rejoice that we live in a nation where past injustices can still be corrected, as we also roll our sleeves up to save preborn lives, serve vulnerable mothers, and support families in our communities.”
- Statement from Sheila Katz, CEO of the National Council of Jewish Women:
“This egregious decision is a direct violation of both our American values and our Jewish tradition. Reversing the protections of Roe defies logic, morality, compassion and the fundamental right of all Americans to practice their religious beliefs without interference from the government. ... Abortion bans place greater value on the life of the fetus than on the pregnant person, a violation of both Jewish law and tradition and of American religious liberty. Now, it seems only certain people are entitled to religious liberty, which renders the entire concept meaningless. Today’s decision betrays this most cherished American value. The rights of American Jews and other people of faith who believe in access to abortion, who are the majority of people in this country, have been sacrificed to the overwhelming zeal of one small group that has turned the shield of religious freedom into a sword.”
- Statement from Muslim Advocates interim co-executive directors Farah Brelvi and Asifa Quraishi-Landes:
“The Supreme Court’s radical decision to overturn Roe v. Wade represents a dangerous Christian nationalization of American law and kicks open the door to future reversals of the right to contraception, the right to marry whomever you want and even the right to teach your children a language of your choice. By upholding a law that defines life as beginning at conception, the U.S. Supreme Court has enshrined the religious doctrine of one minority religious community into law — violating the First Amendment principle of religious freedom. ... This dangerous decision must concern all Americans, and it is especially dangerous to those belonging to minority religions like Islam.”
- Statement from the Rev. Nathan Empsall, Episcopal priest and executive director of Faithful America:
“From Mary of Bethany to the woman at the well, Jesus empowered women. Christians also know that control of one’s own body is a sacred, God-given right. This means that the Supreme Court’s devastating decision to assault the health and rights of pregnant Americans by striking down Roe v. Wade is a sin. The religious right does not represent the majority of American Christians on abortion — and today’s heartbreaking ruling letting states ban abortion is an all-out assault on the religious freedom of millions of Americans whose support for reproductive choice is rooted in our faith. Many Christian denominations, from the Episcopal Church to the United Church of Christ, explicitly support legal abortion access for religious reasons, as do our friends in the Jewish community.
- Statement from Katy Joseph, Interfaith Alliance’s director of policy and advocacy:
“Though we knew what was coming, this is an attack on the health and well-being of millions of Americans. This ruling will endanger the health and safety of especially our most vulnerable communities, including people of color, young people, and those in rural and underserved areas. The Court has unequivocally failed these communities — and the consequences will be devastating. The Religious Right would have you believe that this decision is a victory for religious freedom, but they are dead wrong. True religious freedom means that people seeking essential care are able to make decisions based on their own beliefs and circumstances, not the religious views of politicians. By undermining the right to abortion as a matter of privacy and religious freedom, the Court has forced one religious viewpoint on all, violated our fundamental liberties, and betrayed our Constitution’s promise of secular government. The majority’s message today is loud and clear: the protections granted by the Constitution apply only to those who subscribe to their religious beliefs.”