The Fight for Abortion Access Isn’t Over

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Since well before Roe v. Wade, Unitarian Universalists have declared unequivocally that we support every person’s right to make decisions about their own bodies and reproductive health, including the choice to seek abortion care. Throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, UUs have supported movements working to make abortion accessible and affordable, and to destigmatize abortion within our society. Given that legacy, today is a heartbreaking day for all of us who believe that our bodies, and the choices we make about them, are sacred.

Yesterday afternoon, Politico broke the news that through an unprecedented breach in Supreme Court security, they had obtained an early draft of the SCOTUS majority opinion in Dobbs v Jackson–a case in which the Court’s new conservative supermajority has the opportunity to overturn Roe and revert the country to an era in which abortion rights are determined on a state-by-state basis. In the leaked draft opinion, Justice Alito speaks for the majority in declaring, “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” and goes on, “We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled.” In effect, unless the final version of this ruling is dramatically different than this draft, abortion will no longer be a federally protected right, with “trigger laws” criminalizing abortion care going into effect immediately.

As a people of faith, Unitarian Universalists have committed to working together for Reproductive Justice, following the lead of movement partners who have been in the struggle and on the frontlines for years. Here are six things you can do today to take action:

  1. Turn out tonight wherever you are to answer the Women’s March’s call to Rally for Roe.
  2. Join Side With Love and the National Network of Abortion Funds for our upcoming political education event, Heart-to-Heart: Abortion Conversations & Action for a Post-Roe World, Tuesday, May 17 at 8:00 PM.
  3. Support local organizing for abortion access and Reproductive Justice. Form a congregational team, educate yourselves, join with other progressive people of faith, follow the lead of your local Reproductive Justice organization.
  4. Donate to your local abortion fund to ensure that everyone who needs an abortion can afford one.
  5. Get involved with SACReD, the Spiritual Alliance of Communities for Reproductive Dignity, which is building a multi-racial, multi-faith movement of congregations across the country that publicly proclaim their support for reproductive dignity. It’s so new that it doesn’t have a full website, but you can sign up for future communications here.
  6. Get involved with the work of the Liberate Abortion Coalition, and consider participating in the upcoming Abortion Crisis Caravan this June.

To be clear: The conservative supermajority–enabled by a majority of justices appointed by Presidents that did not win the popular vote–is suggesting they will renege on their confirmation reassurances that Roe was the settled law of the land. Should this decision be finalized, it will be an intentional choice to side with white supremacy and Christian nationalism, and it will be an attack on all people with uteruses, particularly and especially BIPOC, poor, rural, and disabled people. It will have immediate and deadly consequences for millions of people.

And still: pregnant people have been seeking and providing abortion care for hundreds and thousands of years. As so many have said, banning abortion will simply make it more difficult for people–especially poor, rural, and BIPOC people–to obtain surgical abortions safely and legally. To those of you who are in need of an abortion: your fear is valid, your body is sacred, and a wide network of people who acknowledge these truths are ready to help you access the abortion care you need. And, abortion is still legal right now. To get connected with medical providers and logistical and financial support, go to ineedana.com or abortionfinder.org to find the clinic nearest you.

The truth is that the conversation about abortion and reproductive rights has always been about Christian nationalism, misogyny, and white supremacy. Under the guises of “religious liberty”and “states’ rights,” the white, owning-class Christian right has been working since the end of the Civil War to subjugate and criminalize Black and brown bodies, maintain power, and hoard wealth. In the post-Roe era, with the rise of the Evangelical right, politicians quickly discovered that abortion was a highly motivating electoral issue to their base, and have been waging culture wars ever since. Meanwhile, the Christian right has ensured that unless you are urban, white, and middle class, you likely face significant barriers to obtaining an abortion even if it is technically legal.

For those of us who have poured our hearts into Reproductive Justice work, the likely overruling of Roe is heartbreaking. Many of us are terrified not only of what this will mean for people seeking abortions and other reproductive care, but for the precedent this ruling could set for bodily autonomy and privacy in countless other arenas.

Our Unitarian Universalist faith affirms that all of our bodies are sacred, and that we are each endowed with the twin gifts of agency and conscience. Each of us should have the power to decide what does and doesn’t happen to our bodies at every moment of our lives because consent and bodily autonomy are holy. And when disparities in resources or freedoms make it more difficult for certain groups of people to exercise autonomy over their own bodies, our faith compels us to take liberatory action.

The fight is far from over, beloveds. Every popular poll shows that the overwhelming majority of Americans support the right to safe and legal abortion, and the Reproductive Justice movement is powerful and mobilized. As Renee Bracey Sherman, Executive Director of We Testify, recently noted, “Abortion is not a divisive issue, it’s a gerrymandered issue.” So we take a deep breath together, and prepare to carry on the work of those who have gone before and to follow those already leading us into the future. In the words of SisterSong, “ABORTION IS STILL LEGAL and we will always fight to keep it that way, but our work and our liberation has always been bigger than laws. It is also about culture change and mutual aid and US SHOWING UP FOR US.”

Blessings and love to all as we show up together.

In faith and solidarity,

The Side With Love Team