The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to ignore the precedents of the 50 years since the Roe v. Wade decision has cancelled federal protection of access to abortion as part of women’s health care.
We Unitarian Universalists in Charleston are relieved that Judge Tera Salango has ruled that their decision could not take effect in West Virginia. While not surprised, we deeply regret that Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is appealing Salango’s ruling.
The high court’s decision will most hurt poor, working-class, rural and minority women and their families — a large portion of Appalachia’s population. It reduces control over the lives of people who already have little control. We hope that our Legislature will be guided by concern for people, rather than for theology, as they seek to update abortion legislation.
Roman Catholic and evangelical Christian views of abortion tend to be most restrictive. Other Christian denominations, Jews and Muslims are much less restrictive. The overwhelming majority of Unitarians in the nation — who come to Unitarian Universalism from many religious beliefs and no religious belief — think that abortion should be legal in most or all cases. The Supreme Court’s decision seems based in a very conservative religious perspective, thus favoring some religions over others.
Our Constitution dictates separation of church and state. It certainly seems that the Supreme Court, whose charge is to make decisions that are guided by our Constitution, is violating constitutional protections and the legal precedents based on those protections. Its decision returns us to a time in this nation when all people were required to follow the religious dictates of the few or be punished.
We join the majority of Americans in calling for a nation that protects and defends all people’s right to follow their conscience in personal decisions.