A Message from the President Regarding Abortion Rights
The Dobbs v. Jackson decision overturning the constitutional rights of women to access abortion is a devastating disappointment.
As the President of a progressive seminary, I must speak out.
I root my theology in a feminist and anti-patriarchal framework that speaks against the destructive powers of patriarchy and a patriarchal concept of God. These ideologies have been very damaging to women, and the church as a whole, for decades. This extends to the rights of women in their relationship with God to make personal decisions about their bodies and wombs.
Protecting the constitutional rights of women is meant to ensure that women are treated with respect and dignity to allow and trust them to make what may be the most difficult and painful decision of their lives.
This Supreme Court decision removes a woman’s right to end an unintended pregnancy for very personal reasons. Such a decision will have an unequal impact on women of color and underprivileged women while women with economic means will still be able to find access to abortion if they so choose.
Hence, this is about reproductive justice – intertwined with race, ethnicity, and class.
For women of faith, this is a decision they will make out of the depths of their relationship with and faith in their God.
As a United Methodist pastor, I must also turn to The Social Principles in the Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church, which say, “Our belief in the sanctity of unborn human life makes us reluctant to approve abortion. But we are equally bound to respect the sacredness of the life and well-being of the mother and the unborn child.”
These statements place the UMC on the “life-based ethics” (rather than “choice-based”) end of the spectrum. Furthermore:
The United Methodist Church does not affirm abortion as a means of birth control.
It also “unconditionally rejects” abortion as a means of gender selection or eugenics.
And it rejects late-term abortions except where the mother’s life is in danger, or in cases of severe fetal abnormalities incompatible with life.
These are heavy issues and deserve more attention. Today, I’m reminded of Micah 6:8 — “What does the Lord require of you but to do justice and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God?” The Supreme Court decision is neither just, nor kind, nor one made in humility that women have the right to agency over their bodies and wombs.
Thank you for your time and attention to this matter. Progressive thinkers must remain vigilant, informed, and involved as this issue develops.
Rev. Dr. Kah-Jin Jeffrey Kuan