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The Supreme Court has announced it will move forward this summer with consideration of June Medical Services v. Gee, a case that is a direct challenge to Roe V. Wade and abortion access in the United States. 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 order to directly address these challenges Congress should pass the Women’s Health Protection Act which bars state and local abortion restrictions.

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. These ongoing battles call for a faithful and strong response affirming an individual’s self-determination for their own body.

With the most conservative Supreme Court in decades many states are challenging abortion access and severely restricting access to reproductive care for individuals with the aim of overturning Roe V. Wade. This creates a dangerous environment where the full spectrum of reproductive services is challenged, including birth control access and health screenings. 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 health care.

The Women’s Health Protection Act, soon to be introduced in the House of Representatives, 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 cannot remain silent while state laws transform us into a map of “haves and have-nots” with regard to access to reproductive health services. 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 introduction and passage of the Women’s Health Protection Act so any person is able to make their own medical decisions based on their values and with the consultation of their medical team, and without barriers imposed by economic status, employment status, or zip code.

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Now you can take action to support Wendy’s shareholders with easy Click-to-Email to company leaders (see below)!

Massive display of support by shareholders for transparency, real human rights comes following efforts by company to block vote…

Several months ago, the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany, NY — an affiliate of Investor Advocates for Social Justice (IASJ) and ally of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), both longtime CIW supporters and mainstays in the responsible investment community — filed a shareholder resolution demanding transparency into Wendy’s social responsibility efforts.  The resolution was filed in response to Wendy’s refusal to join the Fair Food Program, and specifically in response to Wendy’s claims that its social responsibility efforts are sufficient to justify the hamburger giant’s decision to turn its back on the FFP, the gold standard for human rights in the US produce industry today, the program that virtually all of Wendy’s fast-food competitors joined over a decade ago.

Despite Wendy’s best efforts to block the resolution — called one of the 13 “most important ESG resolutions” of 2o21 in the pages of the Financial Times — from this year’s ballot, shareholders were able to vote to support or reject the Sisters’ resolution at the annual meeting held online on Tuesday of this week.

The message from the shareholders to Wendy’s was unequivocal: It is time for real social responsibility.  It is time Wendy’s join the Fair Food Program.  As Deb Goldberg, Massachusetts State Treasurer and Receiver-General, said in the wake of the vote, “A vote is still not enough,” adding, Wendy’s should, “commit to joining the Fair Food Program” and “join their peers in providing a better environment for the people who produce the food we all eat.”

And now you can add your voice to the growing chorus demanding real social responsibility from Wendy’s. Click here to take action today!

Election Day

May 8 marked the National John Lewis Voting Rights Action Day. Across the country, voting rights advocates gathered in-person through “votercades” and online to call for passage of the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. This call to action comes at a pivotal time for protecting the integrity of democracy and voting rights. The Brennan Center for Justice reports that state legislators have introduced 361 measures restricting voter rights in 47 states as of March 24, a 45 percent increase in just over a month. 

Throughout its history, the United Church of Christ has long witnessed to the importance of voting rights as a foundational civil rights issue and the way be which we honor the dignity and worth of every human being. Voting is often described as the heart of the democratic process. The people we elect shape the future of our local, regional, national and global collective life. Democracy works best when we place protections that ensure every American has an equal opportunity to make their voice heard and fairly represented.

The 2013 Supreme Court decision in Shelby v Holder gutted key provisions of the historic 1965 Voting Rights Act, which protects voters from states and municipalities making discriminatory changes for voter laws without the oversight of the Department of Justice. Within hours after the decision was issued, a host of states put forward a number of restrictive voter rights laws, such as stricter voter ID requirements, expanding voter roll purges and cutting back on early voting.

These tactics of voter suppression by state governments and municipalities have continued, and now in 2021, we are seeing multiple attempts to restrict the rights of voters, including barriers to voting by mail, restricting the use of drop boxes and even handing out water to voters waiting in line. Taken together these efforts to restrict voting rights and access to the polls disproportionately affect low-income workers, communities of color, senior citizens, students, people living with disabilities and veterans. 

The For The People Act, a comprehensive election reform bill, and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which would restore the provisions gutted by the Supreme Court in its 2013 decision are two critical ways we can defend our democratic process and the right of every American to have their voice heard and counted in the electoral process. 

As civil rights giant John Lewis himself declared, 'too many people have struggled, suffered and died for every American to have the right to vote.' A strong, vibrant democracy must move forward, not backward. Contact your Senators and urge them to defend our democracy by supporting the For The People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.