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Since the Supreme Court determined in 1974 that abortion is constitutionally protected there has been a continued campaign to ban or severely limit access to safe abortion services. In 2021 there were more of these laws passed by states than any other year since 1973. The Supreme Court recently heard arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization another direct challenge to Roe V. Wade and abortion access in the United States.

These ongoing battles call for a faithful and strong response affirming an individual’s self-determination for their own body. Historically economically marginalized populations including Black communities, people of color and low income communities are placed in greater harm because they have diminished access to reproductive healthcare.

The United Church of Christ General Synod has over the past 40 years affirmed an individual’s agency to follow their personal religious and moral convictions in consultation with their family and medical care team about whether or not to complete or terminate a pregnancy. It has also lifted up the importance of ensuring full access to the full range of reproductive health care services regardless of economic circumstances.

In order to directly address these challenges Congress needs to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act which bars state and local abortion restrictions. The Women’s Health Protection Act is a critically needed bill that will enact protections on the federal level to safeguard access to high-quality care and to secure constitutional rights by protecting patients and providers from political or religious interference. It would bar state and federal legislation that imposes medically unnecessary regulations on access to abortion services including medication, mandatory waiting periods, or out and out abortion bans.

As a justice-seeking people, we must remain committed to preserving and protecting access to the full range of reproductive health care for all – including safe, legal abortion – is an imperative rooted in our deeply-held faith beliefs in social justice, moral agency, and religious liberty for all. Please contact your member of Congress to support passage of the Women’s Health Protection Act.

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What an exciting and busy week it has been in the United Church of Christ! We have engaged virtually for General Synod this week in workshops, in worship, and in exhibit halls. Whether you have participated in Synod activities this week or not, let us now join together to call for a democracy that works for everyone by asking the Senate to pass the For the People Act.

Democracy can only truly thrive when everyone is able to participate. When each person’s voice is honored and each person’s contribution counts, then we can work to build a society that is equitable and inclusive. With too many examples to choose from we’ve seen how voter suppression, partisan gerrymandering and dark money in politics can work in concert to exclude people’s voice in their democracy – thereby cheapening and flattening what democracy even means.

Passage of the For the People Act through the Senate would pave the way for taking crucial steps to dismantle the systemic barriers that have built up to prevent people from participating in their democracy, especially people who are Black, Indigenous and people of color. This transformative bill will protect and strengthen the sacred right to vote, end the dominance of big money in politics, end partisan gerrymandering and implement anti-corruption measures. These are common sense reforms, which have broad bipartisan support. At a time when most state legislatures are considering legislation to restrict voting rights, this legislation is more important than ever. We must move forward, not backward.

As people of faith, we believe in upholding the dignity of each person, which means protecting their sacred right to participate in the democratic process, unencumbered by voter suppression. It also means making sure all voices are lifted up, not just those who can afford a corporate political action committee. The For the People Act is an important step toward helping us live more fully into the promise of a democracy for ALL.

Please contact your Senators asking for their full support and swift passage of the For the People Act, so we can make sure that each person’s voice and vote are protected.