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The Anglican Church in North America affirms a pro-life position

By David W. Virtue, DD
May 4, 2022

In a fierce denunciation over what could be a legal turnaround of Roe v Wade, Episcopal Church leaders lashed out at a Supreme Court leak. HOD President Rev. Gay Jennings declared that “these extremists are on the verge of making good on a half-century of threats”. She called it “outrageous”.

The 71-year-old leader reaffirmed her church’s commitment to equal access to reproductive health blasting efforts to overturn the landmark 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade that ensured for women nationwide the right to obtain an abortion.

There is profound irony that in affirming abortion, TEC cuts itself off from any hopes of filling pews with future generations of potential Episcopalians.

The U.S. Supreme Court leak, which is under investigation, written by Justice Samuel Alito seemed to prepare for a mostly conservative court to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision.

Jennings noted that the Episcopal Church’s governing body passed a 1976 resolution that expressed “unequivocal opposition to any legislation on the part of the national or state governments which would abridge or deny the right of individuals to reach informed decisions in this matter and to act upon them.”

“And yet, for half a century, the promise of equal access to reproductive health care has never been fully realized,” said Jennings. “For nearly my entire adult life, Christian extremists have fought to restrict access to abortion with invasive laws, demeaning patient requirements and clinic regulations that go far beyond what is required for patient safety. … Now, these extremists are on the verge of making good on a half-century of threats.”

A leaked document showed at least five Supreme Court justices are willing to uphold a Mississippi law that outlaws abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The draft decision, written by Justice Samuel Alito, would go further and overrule the court’s previous decisions in Roe v. Wade and the related Planned Parenthood v. Casey from 1992. “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives,” Alito says in the draft decision.

Chief Justice John Roberts on May 3 confirmed that the leaked draft was real but not final, and the court would investigate it as an unprecedented breach of protocol and a “betrayal of the confidences of the court.”

In 1973, the Supreme Court ruled that the “due process” clause of the 14th Amendment prohibited states from denying women access to abortion. Overturning Roe v. Wade effectively would return the matter of abortion’s legality to the states.

The procedure is now legal in all 50 states, but abortion rights groups predict that about half of all states will severely limit or outright ban abortion if allowed to do so. By another estimate, the resulting abortion clinic closures would reduce the number of legal abortions in the United States by 14%, while abortion rights advocates warn that new restrictions will have the effect of driving up the number of life-threatening illegal abortions carried out through dangerous alternatives to professional care.

Public opinion on abortion has been narrowly divided for years, though a consistent majority of American have said they do not want to see the Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade, according to Gallup.

The Episcopal Church opines that abortion should be a decision based on a person’s own conscience.

“As Episcopalians, we have a particular obligation to stand against Christians who seek to destroy our multicultural democracy and recast the United States as an idol to the cruel and distorted Christianity they advocate,” Jennings said. “Now – before this outrageous opinion becomes law – we must make our Christian witness to the dignity of every human being by insisting that we support the right to safe and legal reproductive health care because our faith in a compassionate God requires us to do so.”

Conservative public-interest attorney John Rutherford believes the Left would suggest that unborn babies do not have constitutional rights and the only right that matters is a woman’s right to privacy in choosing whether or not to abort a pregnancy. The Right, while fixated on saving the lives of unborn babies, seems less concerned about what happens to those lives from birth to death.

The Anglican Church in North America is on record, in its founding documents, that it is pro-life. Archbishop Foley Beach wrote to Virtueonline and said that the ACNA would not to say anything until the Court actually releases its decision.

In Section 3 of ACNA's canons this can be found:
God, and not man, is the creator of human life. The unjustified taking of life is sinful. Therefore, all members and clergy are called to promote and respect the sanctity of every human life from conception to natural death.

Anglicans for Life (AFL) is cautiously optimistic about the forthcoming, official decision of the U.S. Supreme Court, and as we wait for the final opinion we will continue to equip churches in the Anglican Communion to provide real support for women facing unplanned pregnancies. When Roe is ultimately overturned, the legal status of abortion will become a state issue, allowing state legislators to enact laws that will regulate abortion or outlaw it all together, they said in a press release.

ENS contributed to this story.

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