A group of 150 faith leaders recently sent a letter to Tennessee’s Republican governor Bill Lee stating their opposition to a bill that would ban abortion after a preborn baby’s heartbeat can be detected. The list of religious leaders included people from a variety of Christian faiths, as well as Muslim and Jewish individuals.
The letter addresses HB77/SB1236, a legislative measure, colloquially known as “heartbeat legislation.” The bill would require abortionists to test for and document a fetal heartbeat before committing abortions, and if one is found, would prohibit an abortion. The measure, which passed the Tennessee House in March, was recently tabled in the Senate, likely marking the end of the initiative.
“We, the undersigned, believe that all people are created in the image of God, and therefore moral agents empowered to make decisions based on their own knowledge, context, and relationship with the Divine,” stated the letter. The missive went on to argue the permissibility of abortion based on the respect for another person’s choice, because “we trust pregnant people, we know that these decisions are informed by tremendous reflection and not taken lightly.”
The letter is based on a profound misunderstanding of some of the major tenets of Christianity. The authors of the letter use a flawed theological argument that exalts a lesser good — free will — over the objectively higher good of a preborn baby’s right to life. Additionally, despite six of the signers claiming to be Catholic laypersons, the letter flies directly in the face of the settled teachings of the Catholic Church: namely, that a preborn baby is a unique human individual with his or her own inviolable right to life.
The letter continued by falsely claiming that abortion is a way to serve women experiencing unplanned pregnancies: “Over 60% of people accessing abortion services identify as people of faith (Guttmacher), yet many supporters of HB77/SB1236 reference Christianity as the justification for this legislation. Our legislators would be more impactful if they took seriously the needs of their constituents and followed Jesus’ example: taking the material needs of individuals seriously, and seeking to heal and welcome rather than shame and threaten.”
In reality, abortion never heals or welcomes. It is a violent procedure that kills a human being and often leaves women with lasting emotional and sometimes even physical damage. On the contrary, there are thousands of pro-life pregnancy support centers throughout the country that, far from “shaming” and “threatening,” offer women authentic medical, material, and emotional support and healing through difficult times.
Not only are these out-of-touch faith leaders fighting their own faith traditions, but they also are casting aside the pro-life spirit of millions of Americans. Read the full letter below:
Letter to Governor With Sig… by on Scribd
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