This commentary was written by the Reproductive Freedom Task Force of the Vermont Conference of the United Church of Christ.
In early July 2022, more than 100 clergy and laity members of the United Church of Christ in Vermont signed a letter in response to the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs, which overturned Roe v. Wade. This letter included: “We believe that God is the Creator of all living beings and all things, and that all human beings are created with the gift of free will and are of equal value. We believe that everyone has the right to determine what to do with their own body, recognizing the difficult and painful but vital and lasting need to make the decision to have an abortion. It is a statement rooted in our Christian faith that opposes any policy, precedent, statement or law that limits a human being’s right to bodily autonomy, purpose, dignity and respect.
Since 1971, the national cadre of the United Church of Christ has proclaimed its support for women’s right to abortion and reproductive health care. The national framework also offered guidance on related issues of bodily autonomy and reproductive freedom. For more than 50 years, the Vermont Conference of the United Church of Christ has supported the proclamations of the national framework and listened to its guidance. At this time, we join the many Vermont faith leaders and elected officials who have wisely begun a proactive approach to securing the right to reproductive freedom for women and pregnant women. We applaud this lengthy process of creating the abortion amendment, known as Section 22 or Proposition 5, which will be on the Vermont ballot for voter approval on November 8.
We are aware that many stories have emerged in the news since Roe. V. Wade was knocked down. Stories of how women, pregnant women and their families, regardless of income and creed, are increasingly unable to access basic reproductive health care and procedures that in many cases , will literally save their lives. Stories of legitimate medical providers threatened with lawsuits and loss of licensure. True stories that anticipate what’s to come as states work to further restrict access to birth control and insurance reimbursement for many other legitimate and common reproductive health care services.
The coordinated national assault on reproductive rights affects us all as Christians and as people who care about a quality of life that is due to all people.
Within Christianity there is a diversity of understandings of what our faith requires of us. Moved by our faith as laity and clergy in the United Church of Christ, we affirm God’s gift of agency and proclaim our support for reproductive freedom. Not in spite of our Christian faith, but because of it, we encourage every Vermonter to vote in favor of Proposition 5/Section 22, the abortion rights amendment to the Vermont Constitution.