As Supreme Court debates abortion, dueling theologies protest outside

by Msnbctv news staff


WASHINGTON (RNS) — Non secular supporters and opponents of abortion rights demonstrated outdoors the U.S. Supreme Courtroom on Wednesday (Dec. 1), giving voice to competing faith-rooted views as justices heard oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Girls’s Well being Group, a case that might upend many years of debate over abortion coverage.

The demonstrations started earlier that morning at Washington’s Lutheran Church of the Reformation, the place the Nationwide Council of Jewish Girls, Catholics for Alternative and different non secular teams hosted an interfaith service that includes speeches from religion leaders and lawmakers in assist of abortion rights.

Many audio system condemned the Mississippi regulation earlier than the courtroom, which bans abortions after 15 weeks of being pregnant — far sooner than stipulated within the landmark 1973 case Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion nationwide and barred states from prohibiting the process earlier than fetal viability, which is round 23 weeks.


RELATED: Earlier than there was Roe: Non secular debate earlier than excessive courtroom’s historic ruling on abortion


“We collect, we scream that we’re human. We scream that we’re not movable items to be pushed again 50 years into the previous,“ stated Rabbi Mira Rivera.

Supporters and opponents of abortion rights reveal outdoors the U.S. Supreme Courtroom, Dec. 1, 2021, in Washington. RNS photograph by Jack Jenkins

U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, an Illinois Democrat and member of NCJW, famous oral arguments had been being carried out throughout a Jewish vacation.

“That is the time of Hanukkah,” she stated, recounting the standard story of the Jewish celebration as her voice started to rise. “The Maccabees, after they went into the temple, didn’t count on that the candles would gentle for greater than sooner or later. And there was a miracle. However the Maccabees had been additionally warriors, and now we have to be warriors for freedom going ahead.”

NCJW and Catholics for Alternative had been amongst a number of religion teams that filed an amicus temporary within the Mississippi case earlier this 12 months. Along with expressing normal assist for abortion rights, authors argued that abortion bans infringe on the non secular freedoms of some faiths, together with Jewish People who view “the creation of a human life” as “one thing that occurs progressively over time.”

The argument appeared to resonate with Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who made a degree throughout oral arguments to say the spectrum of non secular thought concerning abortion. After a lawyer arguing in assist of the ban decried rulings similar to Roe v. Wade as “the appropriate to finish a human life,” Sotomayor, a Roman Catholic and one of many courtroom’s stalwart liberals, challenged the legal professional’s framing.

“How is your curiosity something however a non secular view? The problem of when life begins has been hotly debated by philosophers for the reason that starting of time — it’s nonetheless debated in religions,” she stated. “So, while you say that is the one proper that takes away from the state the power to guard a life, that’s a non secular view, isn’t it?”

Supporters and opponents of abortion rights demonstrate outside the U.S. Supreme Court, Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021, in Washington, D.C. RNS photo by Jack Jenkins

Supporters and opponents of abortion rights reveal outdoors the U.S. Supreme Courtroom, Dec. 1, 2021, in Washington. RNS photograph by Jack Jenkins

Whereas the justices questioned attorneys within the case, NCJW and Catholics for Alternative marched from the church to hitch 1000’s of different demonstrators outdoors the Supreme Courtroom. Crowds huddled for dueling rallies separated by metallic barricades, with opponents and supporters of abortion rights leaning on religion to justify their positions.

They signify a spectrum of assist for abortion that varies per religion custom. A 2014 Pew Analysis examine discovered Jewish People to be among the many most supportive, with 83% saying they imagine abortion must be authorized in all or most circumstances. One other Pew survey, carried out this 12 months, additionally reported smaller majorities of Black Protestants (64%), white nonevangelical Protestants (63%) and Catholics (55%) saying the identical.

The reverse was true amongst white evangelicals, nonetheless, with 77% saying abortion must be unlawful in all or most circumstances. And whereas Catholic lay individuals could barely favor abortion rights, the church itself remains to be adamantly in opposition to it — together with many U.S. bishops, who’ve lately been embroiled in a debate over whether or not Catholic politicians who assist abortion rights must be denied the Eucharist.


RELATED: Catholic bishops greenlight Communion doc, however don’t single out politicians


For his or her half, non secular opponents of abortion had been effectively represented among the many crowd. College students from Liberty College, an evangelical Christian faculty, gathered in prayer circles to sing hymns. A bunch with indicators studying “Put together to fulfill thy God,” “Repent or Perish” and “Abortion is homicide” preached hearth and brimstone right into a megaphone. A person with a cross on his baseball cap held an indication calling for an finish to Roe whereas waving an “Attraction to Heaven” flag — an ensign recognized for its prominence through the Jan. 6 revolt.

The Rev. Michael Salemink outside the U.S. Supreme Court, Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021, in Washington, D.C. RNS photo by Jack Jenkins

The Rev. Michael Salemink outdoors the U.S. Supreme Courtroom, Dec. 1, 2021, in Washington. RNS photograph by Jack Jenkins

Others stood by quietly, such because the Rev. Michael Salemink, a minister of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and head of Lutherans for Life.

“The sanctity of human life comes from what God does for us in creating, redeeming and calling each human being from the second of fertilization,” he stated in an interview. “The Scriptures are clear, and the gospel of Jesus Christ that outlines God’s grace for us identifies each human being as treasured — not due to one thing that we do or some capability that now we have, however just because the best way that God loves us and he exhibits that love to each human being from the very starting.”

However on the opposite finish of the road, the Rev. Amanda Hambrick Ashcraft of Center Collegiate Church in New York Metropolis argued a really totally different place.

“I imagine that it’s immoral to limit abortion entry,” she stated, arguing that legal guidelines designed to take action are constructed on a “misogynistic, capitalist, white supremacist basis.”

“The individuals who shall be most harmed by an overturning of Roe are going to be these people who find themselves poor … these individuals who historically are additionally Black, brown and Indigenous,” she stated. “The God that I do know and comply with lives on the intersection of all these issues and can be looking for those who shall be most oppressed.”

The Rev. Amanda Hambrick outside the U.S. Supreme Court, Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021, in Washington, D.C. RNS photo by Jack Jenkins

The Rev. Amanda Hambrick Ashcraft outdoors the U.S. Supreme Courtroom, Dec. 1, 2021, in Washington. RNS photograph by Jack Jenkins

After oral arguments ended, some courtroom watchers recommended justices are prone to not less than uphold the Mississippi ban, and perhaps even undo Roe and associated circumstances totally. Brent Leatherwood, head of the Southern Baptist Conference’s Ethics & Non secular Liberty Fee, celebrated the thought.

“Whereas it’s tough to foretell the last word end result in any case by merely listening to oral arguments, the Courtroom has earlier than it a once-in-a-generation alternative to dismantle the abortion framework that has constructed up following the selections in each Roe and Casey,” Leatherwood stated in a press release. “The Courtroom mustn’t hesitate to take action.”

However Sheila Katz, head of the NCJW, advised Faith Information Service she intends to maintain advocating for abortion rights irrespective of how the courtroom guidelines. She and others protested in Washington on Wednesday “due to our religion, not despite it,” she stated, and she or he expressed hope Congress would move federal laws defending the appropriate to an abortion ought to the courtroom invalidate Roe.

“Our custom permits the termination of being pregnant — the top,” she stated.



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