On June 29, 2020, the United States Supreme Court issued its decision in June Medical Services v. Russo, a case challenging Louisiana’s law forcing abortion providers to obtain medically unnecessary admitting privileges at local hospitals. The Justices rightfully upheld nearly fifty years of settled precedent in striking down the dangerous law as unconstitutional, declaring that “[a]s in Whole Woman’s Health, the State introduced no evidence ‘showing that patients have better outcomes when their physicians have admitting privileges’ or ‘of any instance in which an admitting privileges requirement would have helped even one [patient] obtain better treatment.’”
While we are relieved that Louisiana’s three clinics can remain open and continue to offer time-sensitive, essential, and compassionate care, this fight is far from over.
Indeed, Louisiana’s Act 620 represents just one of the nearly 450 state laws restricting access to reproductive health care — which range from outright abortion bans to biased counseling mandates to medically unnecessary regulations imposing onerous requirements on providers and patients — passed since 2011. As if this terrifying trend wasn’t enough, the Hyde Amendment has denied abortion coverage to those enrolled in federal health programs for over forty years, despite tireless efforts to end this discriminatory policy.
Even where abortion is available in theory, structural barriers resulting from long-standing social and economic inequities often make this basic health care inaccessible or unavailable, disproportionately harming Black communities and people of color, young people, low-income people, people living with disabilities, rural communities, immigrants, and LGBTQ individuals.
As people of faith and conscience, we refuse to remain idle while the moral autonomy, health, and lives are at stake. We advocate for abortion rights and access for all because of the religious and moral values outlined below, not in spite of them.
- We believe in compassion and dignity for all and are committed to ensuring equity and justice for the most marginalized members of our society — particularly for Black communities and people of color, young people, low-income people, people living with disabilities, rural communities, immigrants, and LGBTQ individuals.
- We value every individual as a moral agent free to make personal choices about their reproductive health based on their own circumstances, beliefs, and conscience without political interference.
- We reject efforts to impose a single religious viewpoint on all through law or regulation as well as efforts to manipulate and weaponize our nation’s founding principle of religious liberty to block access to or delay care.
Ultimately, we support the right of every person to access the full range of comprehensive, affordable, compassionate, and equitable reproductive health care, including abortion. We call on Congress to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA), an important bill that would enact protections on the federal level to safeguard access to care and to secure constitutional rights, as a means to this end. It is the right thing to do.