Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the ELCA, has issued a pastoral message on the U.S. Supreme Court’s leaked draft opinion on abortion. “The people of this church and this country have various and perhaps contrasting responses” the opinion, Eaton said in the message. “Regardless of where each of us stands on the issue, the ELCA’s 1991 social statement on abortion speaks to all of us.”
The message continued: “In the social statement, this church holds both women and ‘developing life in the womb’ (p. 2) as neighbors. This church declares that any person who has become unexpectedly pregnant has moral agency to discern what to do, and this decision-making usually happens in a community—not only the person who is pregnant but with God, family, partners, friends, doctors and pastors. While this church longs for a future with fewer abortions every year, the social statement points out that outlawing all or nearly all abortions is not the way to do this. The ELCA opposes both ‘the total lack of regulation of abortion’ and ‘legislation that would outlaw abortion in all circumstances’ (p. 9).
“Any ruling similar to the leaked draft will upend 50 years of legal precedent in our nation and damage the health and well-being of many,” the message concludes. “The prospect is daunting. As Christians, we persevere in hope. We must continue to be bold in our prayers and in our public witness for a more just society that cherishes and guarantees the dignity of all. ‘May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit’ (Romans 15:13).”