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23 Dedham Avenue
Needham, MA 02492

Pastoral Message on Roe v. Wade

by | Jun 24, 2022

The news is in: the Dobbs v. Jackson’s Women Health Organization ruling is final, which, as many of us suspected it would, has officially overturned the historic Roe v Wade decision.

From your ministers, Rev Catie and Rev Jenna, there is shock; there is grief; there is outrage. We know that people who can become pregnant will suffer serious injury, even death, from the barriers to abortion access that this ruling will set in motion in certain states across the country. We also know that the folks who will be impacted the most from this decision are people of color, people with few financial resources, young people, and folks in rural areas. We are also deeply concerned and angered by the concurrent opinion from Justice Clarence Thomas in its suggestion that other women’s and LGBTQ rights established in historic Supreme Court cases should be reviewed. 

Our faith affirms the inherent worth and dignity of all people, and covenants to build a diverse multicultural Beloved Community by our actions that accountably dismantle racism and other oppressions. We echo Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray’s press release this morning, in which she emphasizes that “The Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health decision does not alter Unitarian Universalists’ commitment to Reproductive Justice.” Here at First Parish, we will keep fighting to defend our values of gender equality, bodily autonomy, religious liberty, LGBTQ equality, and reproductive justice, and will not rest until people who can become pregnant have access to the comprehensive healthcare that they need. 

We also encourage you to ground your work for reproductive justice in our Unitarian Universalist faith. Rev Catie and Sara Elizabeth have recorded a centering meditation and prayer from UU minister Rev Julia Hamilton to listen to today and for the long haul of reproductive justice work:

All Souls DC is hosting an online vigil of support at 7 pm ET tonight, with the Zoom information on their website. You can read statements and prayers from the UUA on their website, and you can watch First Parish’s Reproductive Justice Sunday service on our YouTube channel. Abigail Bengson has just released a powerful refrain for bodily autonomy, and UU poet-minister Rev Lynn Ungar has released a new poem. Also, we highly recommend you check out Side With Love’s press release statement from earlier today, including their list of action items and resources for further organizing. 

Rev Catie and Rev Jenna are both at General Assembly this week (Rev Catie in Portland, and Rev Jenna, from home, in Somerville). At this morning’s worship service, Rev Kathleen Rolenz spoke about the Dobbs ruling, explaining that –even before the fight– there needs to be a place for lamentation and rage. And even before lamentation, we need prayer. So, following Rev Kathleen’s wisdom, we wanted to leave with you with a prayer.

Before and beyond all the legal minutiae of the ruling, we hope you can find your breath. We hope can sit, for a moment, with whatever constellation of emotions this day brings up in you. We hope you’ll let each of those in for a moment, without judging. We hope that you know: you are loved, beyond belief. We hope you feel the embrace of that which is greater than all of us.

We hope that you know that in your pain, you are not alone. If despair is a part of your constellation, you are not alone in that either. Maybe in the crossroads where our pain, or outrage, or despair meet each other’s is our way through this devastation.

Inspired by Rev Kathleen’s words, we add: We pray for this, our wounded world. We pray for our own woundedness or otherness–which is not completely separate from the wounds we see in systems around us. We pray, Spirit of Life, that our judgments soften. We pray for the compassion, and courage, and wisdom that we will need to respond as faithfully as we can.

In faith and love,
Rev Catie & Rev Jenna