As people of faith and conscience, the Unitarian Universalist Association condemns the recent attack on abortion rights in the United States.
The first principle of our faith movement honors the inherent worth and dignity of every person. Upholding someone’s dignity means trusting their choices about their health, including when that choice is to have an abortion. Respecting someone’s humanity means recognizing their autonomy over their life.
“As a woman, a mother, a person of faith, and the leader of the Unitarian Universalist faith movement, I wholeheartedly affirm every person's right to make their own choices about their reproductive health, including the choice to end a pregnancy,” said UUA president, the Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray.
“My faith requires me to speak up for the dignity and autonomy of every individual and to treat them with love and compassion. Abortion bans are a completely inappropriate overreach of the government into an individual's First Amendment right to live by their own religious convictions. We do not live in a theocracy, and my faith calls me to fight to keep it that way."
When a group of wealthy politicians who are mostly cisgender, white, and male introduce restrictive abortion laws that will penalize people who are mostly poor, Black and Brown, women, nonbinary folx, and trans men, we must call it what it is: White supremacy. While many anti-abortion groups and politicians say these rigid anti-abortion bills are about the preservation of the life, this is really about the preservation of patriarchy and control.
The second principle of our faith calls for justice, equity and compassion in human relations. There is no justice or equity when a small group of politicians decides that they know best when people should have children. There is no compassion when politicians can force you to have children, even in cases of rape or incest, and then take no interest in your well being or the child’s well being after the birth.
Laws with names like Alabama’s “Human Life Protection Act” disguise the cruel truth that the lives of people who are poor, people of color, and queer do not seem to matter to those who claim to be pro-life. Many alleged “pro-life” groups are silent as the government puts migrating children in cages, and do nothing to provide clean drinking water to children in Flint. Where is the concern for lives of children who suffer among us? Where are the resources to make sure that those who choose to have children can do so with access to comprehensive healthcare and without fear of scarcity? Where is this “pro-life” concern when children are killed in mass shootings or at the hands of police? Where is the concern for life when Black women who choose to give birth die at an alarmingly higher rate than other women?
It is imperative that religious organizations be vocally pro-choice in this moment, centering grassroots organizations who are advocating for reproductive justice with an intersectional approach.
“We need all of you to be an example of how faith communities should be showing up to support reproductive justice in this moment and what it means to take on the principles and tenets of this work in your own faith work,” said Monica Simpson, Executive Director of SisterSong, a Southern-based organization at the forefront of reproductive justice work for marginalized communities.
In 2015, the Unitarian Universalist Association’s governing body affirmed reproductive justice, and we are committed to putting our values into action. We call on Unitarian Universalists to speak and act boldly in this moment by:
Supporting and following the lead of local grassroots organizations and organizers advocating for abortion rights.
Challenging narratives that people of faith are inherently anti-choice.
“Faith leaders have to be at the forefront of this; they have to be louder,” Simpson said. “Our opposition believes we have no moral code, and that’s not true. We have people of faith, across denominations and across different spiritual practices, that advocate for abortion. And we need all those folks across denominations and faith communities to be loud and unapologetic about the ways they’re showing up in this moment.”