As a faith-based women’s organization committed to work for justice and peace, Presbyterian Women, Inc., stands for gender equity and the right to reproductive justice and against the U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v Wade, the historic Supreme Court ruling that provides a constitutional right to choose to terminate a pregnancy. This right ensures human agency and gender equity. In reversing Roe v Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision grossly undermines gender equity and leads to a complex system of injustices that critically impacts people across the country, with an undue burden falling on low-income, marginalized, and vulnerable communities.
In 1992, the 204th PC(USA) General Assembly said, “the Christian community must be concerned about and address the circumstances that bring a woman to consider abortion as the best available option. Poverty, unjust societal realities, sexism, racism, and inadequate supportive relationships may render a woman virtually powerless to choose freely” (Minutes, pp. 367–368, 372–374).
The 204th General Assembly also affirmed “the strong Christian presumption is that since all life is precious to God, we are to preserve and protect it,” and said, “the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) encourages an atmosphere of open debate and mutual respect for a variety of opinions concerning the issues related to problem pregnancies and abortion.” The GA provided guidance on circumstances that lead to prayerful decisions to terminate pregnancy (Minutes, Journal, pp. 367–368, 372–374). Presbyterian Women is committed to building inclusive community for all women, respecting the wide range of beliefs surrounding these issues.
Relying on foundations of Christian belief, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) provides clear guidance regarding personal agency and choice. “God alone is Lord of the conscience.” All humans are endowed with moral agency to make choices. We believe “the artificial or induced termination of a pregnancy is a matter of careful ethical decision of the patient . . . and therefore should not be restricted by law” (Minutes of the 182nd General Assembly (1970), United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., p. 891). During the 220th General Assembly (2012), the PC(USA) affirmed, “no law should impose criminal penalties against any [person] who chooses or physician who performs a medically safe abortion . . . and no law should sanction any action intended to harm or harass those persons contemplating or deciding to have an abortion” (Minutes, Journal, p. 1698–1699).
Presbyterian Women, Inc., affirms the standing of the PC(USA), the June 24, 2022, statements of the Office of Public Witness and the PC(USA) Stated Clerk, and the June 23–25, 2022, work of the General Assembly Committee on Health Issues, and encourages Presbyterian women to
- Support full access to reproductive health care (GA Minutes, Journal, 2012, p. 1698).
- “Protect the integrity of individual conscience by affirming the ability of women and men to make . . . decisions in matters of reproductive health, including decisions about infertility, parenthood, and responses to problem pregnancies, in consultation with their families, pastors, health-care professionals, and scientifically accurate medical information” (GA Minutes, 2012, p. 1699).
- Know the facts about reproductive justice and share the information.
- Donate to local health clinics.
- Accompany and support people who need reproductive health care.
- In states where there are no reproductive health options, work with others in the community to provide transportation, housing, and other needs.
- Ask your churches to speak up regarding gender equity, reproductive justice, and the PC(USA) position.
- Support pro-reproductive health candidates.
- Pray to God and pray in public with your faithful actions.
On behalf of Presbyterian Women, Inc’s., Board of Directors and Staff,
Moderator, Presbyterian Women, Inc.
Vice Moderator, Presbyterian Women, Inc.
For information, contact Kathleen Keefer, chair, national Justice and Peace Committee, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Susan Jackson Dowd, PW, Inc., executive director, email@example.com.