The Rev. Sara LaWall, Rabbi Dan Fink and the Rev. Andrew Kukla: Faith leaders unite in condemning Idaho’s abortion ban – The Spokesman Review

Posted By on October 8, 2022

The Rev. Sara LaWall, Rabbi Dan Fink and the Rev. Andrew Kukla

By The Rev. Sara LaWall, Rabbi Dan Fink and the Rev. Andrew Kukla

As Idaho faith leaders, dedicated to compassion, equity and justice for all people, we strongly condemn Idahos abortion ban, decimating individual freedoms over ones own body and health care rights. We represent a diversity of faith traditions some of which have been on the forefront of protecting the sacred right of choice and individual conscience for longer than this has been a legal issue in our country. We all individually take seriously our moral obligation and pastoral responsibility to support those who find themselves facing life-altering decisions that are fraught with judgment and shame. We are committed to providing guidance, care, and the support of our traditions founded in unconditional love.

As the Idaho Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments in the Planned Parenthood Greater Northwest v. State of Idaho case, we wish to make it clear that religion does not speak with one voice on this issue. Denying someone the right to exercise their divinely-given moral agency and bodily autonomy, and to make decisions about their family and future is a violation of both human rights and religious freedom. Lawmakers using religion to justify removal of rights to access health care of any kind, constitutes theocratic tyranny. No government committed to human rights and democracy can privilege the teachings of one religion over another. Let us be clear, religion does not agree on the moral considerations surrounding abortion and the value of one life over another. But we do agree on religious freedom. Thus, religious freedom means reproductive freedom. We oppose any attempt to make specific religious doctrine concerning abortion the law for all Americans.

These extremist abortion laws place everyones bodily autonomy and freedom at risk. And, as always, marginalized and low-income people are the most harmed. These bans dont stand alone they are entrenched in a conservative, fundamentalist political agenda that has targeted voting rights, trans rights, immigration, education, and more. Its never just been about abortion; its about the control of our bodies.

Idaho already suffers from a shortage of medical providers, particularly in rural areas, carrying an overwhelming burden of care. When we criminalize those providers for offering health services we further burden and target the very people tasked with saving our lives. This is not a law to protect freedom or the well-being of society, but a heavy yoke across the shoulders of already overburdened medical providers putting them in a moral crisis. People have the right to be able to trust that health care providers will provide the best care possible, not worry that they may instead impose their private, religious beliefs on their patients.

More than 50 years ago, many religious denominations passed courageous resolutions in support of womens moral agency and their right to a safe and legal abortion. Despite numerous legal challenges and social, scientific and medical advances, we reaffirm this theological commitment: women must be able to make their own moral decisions based on conscience and faith. We call for a religious and moral commitment to reproductive health, rights and access.

Other faith leaders from across Idaho join us in our concerns about the impact of the Dobbs decision, including the following:

The Rev. Karen Hernandez, United Methodist, Twin Falls;

The Rev. Meggan Manlove, Trinity Lutheran Church, Nampa;

The Rev. Christie Dahlin, Hyde Park Mennonite, Boise;

The Rev. Jenny Willison Hirst, Callister United Methodist Church, Boise;

The Rev. Duane Anders, Cathedral of the Rockies, Boise;

The Rev. Jackie Holland, Center for Spiritual Living, Boise;

The Rev. Elizabeth Stevens, Unitarian Universalist Church of the Palouse, Moscow;

The Rev. TJ Remaley, Southminster Presbyterian Church, Boise;

The Rev. Connie Winter-Eulberg, King of Glory Lutheran, Boise;

The Rev. Joseph Farnes, All Saints Episcopal Church, Boise;

The Rev. Irene Laudeman, Cathedral of the Rockies, Boise;

The Rev. Gretchen Bingea, Lutheran (retired), Boise;

The Rev. Rob Tulloch, Woodlawn United Church of Christ, Boise;

The Rev. Daryl Blanksma, Whitney United Methodist Church, Boise;

The Rev. Mike Connor, Pocatello United Methodist Church, Pocatello;

The Rev. Barbara Condon, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (retired), Boise;

The Rev. Jenny Peek, Pocatello Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Pocatello.

The Rev. Sara LaWall, Boise Unitarian Universalist Fellowship; Rabbi Dan Fink, Congregation Ahavath Beth Israel; and the Rev. Andrew Kukla, First Presbyterian Church, serve congregations in Boise.

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The Rev. Sara LaWall, Rabbi Dan Fink and the Rev. Andrew Kukla: Faith leaders unite in condemning Idaho's abortion ban - The Spokesman Review

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