The following opinion piece was published in the Detroit News on Sunday, August 7, 2022
I am a Christian and the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan, and I support a woman’s right to choose. The Supreme Court decision in Dobbs puts nearly 2.2 million Michigan women at risk of losing their reproductive freedoms, and flies against the deeply compassionate beliefs of the Episcopal Church. It will decimate doctor-patient relationships and worsen healthcare outcomes.
I call on Christians of compassion to act now to protect reproductive freedoms in Michigan.
Starting a family is one of the most important and personal decisions anyone can make. Since 1967, the teachings of the Episcopal Church have supported a woman’s right to determine if and when she will have a child. The Episcopal Church recognizes that access to abortion is a key element in preserving the health, independence and autonomy of those who can bear children, and that access to abortion services and birth control should be available with no restriction on movement, autonomy, type or timing.
Ending abortion access will bring the government as an unwanted third party into these conversations. When we deny women the ability to make decisions about their bodies and lives, we deny them the dignity due human beings and treat them as second-class citizens. In the wake of Dobbs, doctors are scrambling to understand their own liability for criminal prosecution, as well as implications for patient privacy. This will only make it harder for women to find the healthcare they need. And it needlessly puts women’s lives in danger when receiving an abortion is a matter of life and death.
Dobbs also curtails my ability to counsel congregants. Over 30 years, I have spent time with couples grappling with the decision to have an abortion.
As a pastor, and as a person of deep faith and love for Jesus Christ, I believe that abortion should be safe, accessible, medically informed and rare. It is a highly personal decision. As people of faith, it is imperative that we stand up, with unconditional love and acceptance, for those who need all forms of reproductive healthcare.