Letter: Religious leaders oppose amendment

To the Editor:

During our time as religious leaders in our respective congregations or communities, we’ve watched families celebrate the most joyous occasions of their lives. We have supported families through some of the most painful moments in their lives. And, we have prayed with families as they made heartbreaking decisions.

With this unique perspective, we stand together to vote NO on the August 2nd amendment to the Kansas Constitution. We cannot support changing the constitution or eliminating a woman’s right to make private medical decisions about continuing or ending a pregnancy when the risks are so high.

While we understand there are sincerely held religious beliefs on both sides of this complicated issue, we must honor the freedom necessary for each woman to make the decision that is right for her, according to her own personal conscience and beliefs. We must also recognize and respect that many faiths – including many Christian denominations – support access to reproductive health care, including abortion.

Our religious traditions teach us that all people have dignity and worth and that we have a particular responsibility to care for those who are most vulnerable. It is important that we recognize the very different and complex issues and situations experienced by people seeking abortion. Some are the victims of rape or incest. Some face life threatening complications. Some are struggling with other personal tragedies. Each of them deserves the right to make private medical decisions for themselves, free from government interference.

We believe that each Kansan is the best decision-maker when it comes to their own body – not the government. Women do not deserve our shame and judgment. They deserve our love and support.

Shelly Page, Unitarian Universalist, Lawrence

Julia Gaughan, United Church of Christ, Lawrence

(Note: 26 other religious leaders from Kansas communities other than Lawrence, signed this open letter that was distributed by Kansans for Constitutional Freedom.)


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