From joy to anger, religious leaders react to Roe’s reversal

American clerics are deeply divided in their views on abortion, and reactions from religious leaders ranged from elation to anger after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide.

Friday’s ruling was hailed by leading Catholic bishops, even though a majority of American Catholics support abortion rights.

“I recognize that there are people on both sides of the issue in the Catholic Church,” said Baltimore Archbishop William Lori, who chairs the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the United Nations Catholic Bishops’ Conference. United States. “What we are seeing though is that when people become more aware of what the church is doing to help women with difficult pregnancies…hearts and minds start to change.”

The decision was also welcomed by many evangelical Christian leaders, including Bart Barber, newly elected president of the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination in the country. Southern Baptists “rejoice in the decision,” he said.

However, the decision – which is expected to lead to sweeping abortion bans in more than 20 states – has been decried by some Protestant leaders, including Michael Curry, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church. “I am deeply saddened,” he said.

Several Jewish organizations said the decision violates Jewish traditions that accept the necessity of abortion.

Nadiah Mohajir, co-founder of Heart Women and Girls, a Chicago nonprofit that works with Muslim communities on reproductive rights, expressed dismay: “More than half of American Muslims support safe access to ‘abortion. What we see here is a very small privileged minority trying to impose a narrow Christian understanding of when life begins.

Here are some other reactions from religious leaders:

“The release of the Dobbs decision marks a real turning point in the pro-life movement, a moment at which Christians, activists and many others have worked tirelessly for 50 years. … As this chapter draws to a close, we must understand that this is not the end of our important work. The issue of abortion has now been handed over to states, many of which have implemented or are considering some of the most obnoxiously permissive pro-abortion proposals ever. — Brent Leatherwood, acting chair of the SBC Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, in a statement.

“Today’s decision by the Supreme Court … overturning nearly 50 years of precedent, will put the lives and well-being of those who give birth and who choose not to continue their pregnancies at risk. God loves and cares for people who have abortions, as does the United Church of Christ.—General ministers of the United Church of Christ, in a joint statement.

“Abortion bans value the life of the fetus more than the life of the pregnant person, a violation of both Jewish law and tradition and American religious freedom. Now, it seems that only certain people have the right to religious freedom, which makes the whole concept meaningless. — Sheila Katz, CEO of the National Council of Jewish Women, in a statement.

“This is a historic day in the life of our country, a day that awakens our thoughts, our emotions and our prayers. For nearly fifty years, America has enforced an unjust law that has allowed some to decide whether others can live or die; this policy resulted in the deaths of tens of millions of unborn children. … We mourn their loss and commit their souls to God. – Archbishop of Los Angeles Jose Gomez, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Archbishop of Baltimore William Lori, chairman of the USCCB Pro-Life Activities Committee, in a statement.

“Right-wing Catholics have spent decades reducing Church teaching to a single issue and associating themselves with a conservative movement hostile to Church teachings on a consistent ethic of life and the common good. This decision is the culmination of this misguided campaign. — John Gehring, Catholic program director for the Washington-based clergy network Faith in Public Life, via Twitter.

“This Supreme Court struck down the constitutional right to abortion in an opinion that is a direct attack on the separation of church and state. Religious freedom requires the right to abortion so that people can make their own reproductive decisions according to their own principles. …Americans United is preparing a religious freedom litigation that will bring this argument to our courts. — Rachel Laser, president and CEO of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, a group representing secular Americans, in a statement.

“This historic Supreme Court decision would not have happened without fifty years of patient, loving and hard work by people of all faiths and none in various fields including social services, religion, law , medicine, culture, education, politics and politics. But our work has only just begun. — Salvatore Cordileone, Catholic Archbishop of San Francisco, in a statement.

“Today’s decision is further evidence that the far-right’s regressive political agenda has reached the highest court in the land. Bodily autonomy and self-determination are deeply rooted humanistic values ​​that are essential to achieving an inclusive, pluralistic and thriving society. Abortion access rights have long been a culture war issue used by radical evangelical and white Christian nationalist movements to control women and undermine the well-being of our society. — Nadya Dutchin, executive director of the American Humanist Association, in a statement.

“Half the states will now become abortion-free and millions of innocent lives will be spared from the barbaric practice of abortion. This is a human rights victory above all others and vindicates decades of tireless work by selfless pro-life individuals and organizations. — Troy Newman, president of anti-abortion group Operation Rescue, in a statement.

“I am deeply pained. … I have been ordained for over 40 years and have served as a pastor in poor communities; I have witnessed firsthand the negative impact this decision will have. … Today’s decision institutionalizes inequality because women with access to resources will be able to exercise their moral judgment in ways that women without the same resources will not be able to.” — Michael Curry, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, in a statement.

“More than ever, those who value all human life must demonstrate their commitment not only by their words, but also by their deeds. We must urge lawmakers to protect unborn children and we must provide compassionate support to women that will help them choose life. — Adam Greenway, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, in a statement.

“This court has no legitimacy. We will not live by this decision. — Reverend Jacqui Lewis, Senior Minister of Middle Collegiate Church in New York, via Twitter.


AP religion staff reporters Holly Meyer, Luis Andres Henao, Peter Smith and Deepa Bharath contributed to this report.


For full AP coverage of the Supreme Court’s decision on abortion, go to


Associated Press religious coverage receives support through the AP’s collaboration with The Conversation US, with funding from Lilly Endowment Inc. The AP is solely responsible for this content.

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