This summer has been marked with several events that would affect our spiritual lives together. Of particular note has been the Dobbs decision (overturning Roe v. Wade). Since the Supreme Court made this decision, I have been privileged to receive the stories of many of women who have had or know someone who has had an abortion. It seems that nearly every woman I know knows someone who has had an abortion. Many of these stories recount the time prior to the Roe versus Wade decision with a variety of outcomes.
One of the more challenging things for me as a pastor is to keep these stories in confidence while I see a grave injustice being done. I have been in the hospital rooms, homes, and occasionally, my office, while women and their families struggled with the decision to terminate or not terminate a pregnancy. No one makes this decision lightly.
But making abortion access illegal is not about abortion or babies. It is about substituting a political voice and decision in the place of the voice of the mother. I am trying to imagine counseling someone under the condition where her voice, her struggle, her prayers, and my spiritual counsel are irrelevant because a legal entity has already made the decision for her.
The Legislature of Pennsylvania (your Pennsylvania Senators and Representatives) have passed an amendment to our state constitution which would make abortion illegal in the State of Pennsylvania. It will most likely be on the ballot in May of 2023. As a proposed amendment, it will not visit the governor’s desk. It is strictly up to you, the voter. There are strategic reasons for having a constitutional amendment on a primary ballot, and one of those is suppressing opposition, as PA primaries have a low turnout. You must be registered as either a Republican or Democrat to vote in PA primaries.
We must be vigilant for our neighbors and their welfare. This is one of those times where our faith meets public action. Much like the Good Samaritan, we must watch out for the welfare of those that would be left beaten on the side of the road. The ELCA, supports keeping abortion safe, legal, and within the discretion of the mother in consultation with her family, spiritual advisor, and doctor. It is my hope that you will vote against this amendment and preserve the religious liberty and spiritual welfare of women in our state.