Comment: Roe v Wade overturned: the response

Norma McCorvey (Jane_Roe) and her lawyer Gloria Allred at the Supreme Court 1989. Image credit: Lorie Shaull CCLicensse2.0

On Friday 24 June 2022, the US Supreme Court overturned the landmark ruling of Roe v Wade, which made abortion a constitutional human right. We highlight some of the key statements released after the ruling from various groups.

Faith leaders in the United States have been divided on the issue of abortion, and today’s ruling has been met with joy and despair across the board.

A 2022 survey by the Pew Research Center found that more than 50 per cent of US non-evangelical Christians believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases. However, three out of four evangelical Protestants said abortion should be illegal in all or most cases. You can find a useful article on the religious groups preparing for the Roe v Wade fallout here

Supreme Court

The Supreme Court said that “abortion presents a profound moral question” and “The constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each state from regulating or prohibiting abortion. Roe and Casey arrogated that authority. We now overrule those decisions and return that authority to the people and their elected representatives.”

Catholic bishops of New York State

“Millions of Americans have worked tirelessly for almost 50 years towards this outcome” said the Catholic bishops of New York State in a statement released today. “We give thanks to God for today’s decision of the United States Supreme Court in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organisation. This just decision will save countless innocent children simply waiting to be born.”

National Association of Evangelicals, based in Washington DC, representing 40 denominations

“God is the author of life, and every human life from conception to death has inestimable worth,” Walter Kim, National Association of Evangelicals president said. “Under Roe v Wade, our ability to consider policies that safeguard life at the most vulnerable stage was severely limited. While the Dobbs decision doesn’t resolve all the questions on abortion policy, it does remove an impediment to considering pro-life concerns.”

Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination in the US

“State by state, mother by mother, heart by heart, we will continue our sacred work,” said Bart Barber, president of the Southern Baptist Convention. The convention’s statement affirms: “We commit to stand with and pray for abortion-vulnerable women, to eliminate any perceived need for the horror of abortion, and to oppose Planned Parenthood and other predatory organisations or institutions who exploit vulnerable women for profit.”

National Catholic Reporter, independent, lay-led news organisation based in Kansas City

The National Catholic Reporter said: “The court’s decision may well be considered an enormous step forward in the protection of basic human rights for the pre-born. Yet it is a decision with a very high cost — one perhaps too high for the country, and our church, to bear.”

Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, pro-choice interfaith movement

The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice said: “This is a national crisis — even for those who do not yet recognise it. And in times of crisis like this, the role of faith leaders has always been to ensure people and communities are cared for.”

Planned Parenthood, which provides abortion care

Alexis McGill Johnson, the president of Planned Parenthood, tweeted: “The Supreme Court has now officially given politicians permission to control what we do with our bodies, deciding that we can no longer be trusted to determine the course for our own lives. But make no mistake — we are a movement that will demand we are treated like equal citizens.”

Robert P. Jones, author of White Too Long: The Legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity

“The [Supreme Court] decision striking down Roe should be read in the broader context of white Christian nationalism” said Robert P. Jones, chief executive of the Public Religion Research Institute, a non-partisan organisation conducting research at the intersection of religion, values, and public life. “Attitudes on abortion are strongly correlated with a worldview that denies systemic racism and pines for a 1950s America,” he said in a recent article. Below are some of the results of surveys by PRRI highlighted in his article (image: PRRIPoll):

Sabrina Miller, UK commentator and journalist

“Verses in the “The Torah explicitly protect a woman’s right to abortion, and the failure of American politicians to acknowledge this shows their ignorance” says Sabrina Miller in an opinion piece for the Jewish Chronicle, highlighting especially how Senator Marco Rubio regularly quotes the Old Testament in his tweets against abortion

Catholics for Choice

Catholics for Choice president Jamie L. Manson’s statement reads: “On this terrible day we mourn, we grieve, we rage alongside all our fellow Americans who believe in the basic right of all people to determine their own sexual and reproductive futures. But we fight on. And we will not stop.”


The Spiritual Alliance of Communities for Reproductive Dignity (SACReD), an alliance of organisers, religious leaders, academics, and congregations advancing the cause of reproductive justice, released a tweet in May 2022 when it was leaked the Supreme Court might overturn Roe v Wade: “We at SACReD believe that the state forcing anyone to carry a pregnancy and give birth against their will is a dehumanising, morally barbaric act, and that access to abortion is a moral and social good. Given the particular impact of this type of oppressive policy on Black people, other people of colour, and those of low income, we cannot ignore that the legislative implications of the leaked [Supreme Court] draft opinion recall some of the very worst moments in our country’s history. The time has come for people of faith to embrace the cause of reproductive justice and stand up for the bodily autonomy, dignity, equity, and human rights of all, no exceptions. “

Further comment in Religion News Service article by Bob Smietana here


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