Thousands of Unitarian Universalists (UUs) and others celebrated a milestone victory when the Supreme Court legalized abortion in the United States in their decision, Roe v. Wade (1973). The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) led the liberal religious presence in the movement, as the first religious organization to formally support a woman's right to choose (1963—10 years before Roe). With our commitment to reproductive justice, we continue the struggle to make abortion access and reproductive justice a reality for every person and community.
Importantly, Roe did not guarantee actual access to abortion. Rather, it simply established some boundaries to how and when states could impose restrictions. Both then and now, too many women—often but not always for economic reasons—face significant obstacles to actually obtaining a safe and legal abortion. Ever since Roe was adopted, abortion opponents have been working to impose as many restrictions as possible, resulting in a significant decrease in actual access to abortion.
This anniversary is a time for celebrating our history and recommitting to our future. Join us!
How can my congregation participate?
You know best what the needs are in your local community. The most effective ministry and advocacy is done in response to real needs in your life and those of your neighbors and friends.
If you need some extra ideas, though, here are a few.
- Host a vigil or worship service for your congregation or community. It could focus on the women who died—and continue to die—from unsafe abortions. It could minister specifically to those whose lives are touched by abortion; nearly 1 in 3 women have had one. It could be a justice-centered rededication to the spirit of the Roe v. Wade victory—that every woman should have access to the health care, opportunities, and education that puts her in full control of her reproduction and sexuality.
- Preach on Roe v. Wade and reproductive justice. Download a free Preaching Resource (PDF) for UU ministers. A sample worship, sermon archive and other resources can be found in the Congregational Resource Packet. Note: Enter this or any reproductive justice sermon in the Social Witness Sermon Contest. Winners receive $500!
- Find out about the Hyde Amendment and why, even after Roe v. Wade, too many women are unable to access their reproductive rights. Today, millions of low-income women and women of color are singled out by the Hyde Amendment in order to limit the decisions they can make about their bodies, their families, and their health. Find out more in the 'Equity in Abortion Access' section of Moving Forward: In-Depth Resources on Reproductive Justice.
- Launch the UUA's curriculum for congregations, 'Reproductive Justice: Expanding Our Social Justice Calling.' This free, six-session curriculum bases its practical educational approach on Unitarian Universalist theology and legacy. If your congregation has completed the curriculum and is wondering what to do next, check out Moving Forward: In-Depth Resources on Reproductive Justice.