Faith Groups Opposed to S. 2311

January 26, 2018
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator,

We, the  undersigned  national  faith-based  and religious  groups, urge  you to  oppose  S. 2311 and similar measures that restrict women’s access to safe, legal abortion. We stand united  across our faith traditions  in opposing measures like S. 2311. This extreme legislation  would  block a woman’s access to safe healthcare and deny her the ability to make decisions according to her own beliefs and conscience. The decision to end a pregnancy must be left to an individual woman in consultation  with her family, doctors and any others she chooses to involve-in keeping with her personal faith beliefs-rather than imposed on her by federal law.

The religious  values that  guide  our  organizations  call us to  demonstrate  compassion  for any woman  or family facing difficult circumstances related to pregnancy. As a woman  makes this decision for herself and her family, we believe that it is neither our role-nor the government’s-to stand in judgment. Our religious values call us to offer compassion, support and respect for a woman facing this decision and for her family. Our  lawmakers must  ensure that  every  person  has safe and  legal  access to  whatever  care she feels is necessary and best in her situation. Each woman  is a moral  agent who deserves dignity and respect. It is critical that  every woman  has as much  time  as she needs to  make the  right  decision for  herself and her family.Bans on abortion  after an arbitrary  gestational  limit-whether 20 weeks as S. 2311 imposes or any other proposed  restrictions  on access to services-will only make a challenging situation  worse. Indeed, when a woman is denied a later abortion the consequences on her life and her family can be far-reaching, impacting health, economic security and well-being. Healthcare that does not include access to later abortion does not completely serve the economic, medical or emotional needs of women or our society as a whole.Our religious  values also compel  us to advocate for policies that  empower  the  most marginalized in our communities. Whenever bans or other  severe restrictions  to abortion are enacted, those most  negatively affected  are women  without the financial resources to access safe care. We stand with  women  who find themselves in  difficult  situations, and therefore  we oppose policies, such as later abortion bans, that  will disproportionately and unjustly  compound the difficulties  of families in our communities that  are already struggling to make ends meet.Naturally, people  in  this  country  have differing  religious  views  on  issues of pregnancy  and  parenting, including abortion. Freedom of belief  is a core principle  of our American democracy. However, legislation like S. 2311 that  would  limit  access to  abortion  care has the  practical effect  of imposing one particular religious belief on all people. Such an imposition does not reflect the religious freedom protections that are guaranteed to every individual by the Constitution.

The proper role of government in the United States is not to privilege one set of religious views over others but to protect each person’s right and ability to make decisions according to their own beliefs and values.

Again, we  urge  you  to  oppose  this  extreme  legislation  and  any bans  on abortion based on  arbitrary gestational  limits. Such legislation  blocks women’s  access to  safe healthcare options and unjustly  denies them the freedom to make decisions according to their own beliefs and conscience. Instead, we ask that you support  policies that show compassion for women and families, no matter their circumstances, and respect for every individual’s religious liberty.

In faith,

A Critical Mass: Women Celebrating Eucharist
Anti-Defamation League
Bend the Arc: Jewish Action
Catholics for Choice
Central Conference of American Rabbis
Chicago Women-Church
Clergy Advocacy Board of Planned Parenthood Federation of America
Concerned Clergy for Choice Disciples for Choice
Disciples Justice Action Network
Episcopal Women’s Caucus Global Justice Institute
Hadassah,The Women’s Zionist Organization of America,Inc.
Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action
Jewish Women International
Methodist Federation for Social Action
Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC)
Muslims for Progressive Values
National Coalition of American Nuns (NCAN)
National Council of Jewish Women Presbyterians Affirming Reproductive Options
Presbyterian Feminist Agenda Network
Presbyterian Voices for Justice
Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and
Jewish Reconstructionist Communities
Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice Religious Institute
Society for Humanistic Judaism
Union for Reform Judaism
Unitarian Universalist Association
Unitarian Universalist Women’s Federation
United Church of Christ,Justice and Witness Ministries
Western Methodist Justice Movement
Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics, and Ritual (WATER)
Women’s League for Conservative Judaism
Women of Reform Judaism