Letter to the Editor | Local clergy address overturn of Roe v. Wade

Iowa City clergy members support a pregnant person’s right to bodily autonomy.


On June 24, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a person’s right to choose an abortion and maintain bodily autonomy is not a protected right under the U.S. Constitution. As a group of local clergy persons representing various traditions and communities, we maintain that a pregnant person’s right to choose an abortion is a fundamental human, moral, and sacred one.

The June 24 decision disregards the human rights of pregnant people, privileging an unborn fetus over a pregnant person’s moral responsibility to protect their life and well-being, and amounts to the sanctioning of forced births, regardless of a person’s wishes, needs, or medical situation.

As living, breathing full humans who have been created in the image of the Sacred, pregnant people in the U.S. now faces the prospect of no longer being trusted to make decisions about their own bodies and futures.

For too long those who now celebrate this decision have done so with a voice of “moral” reasoning. As clergy persons, we find nothing moral about taking away a pregnant person’s right to bodily autonomy.

Instead, the Supreme Court’s decision disregards the full humanity of pregnant people as living, breathing persons who have also been endowed with life, liberty, and responsibility to make moral decisions for themselves and their families.

As clergy, we share a moral commitment to the idea that reproductive care is healthcare and is essential to the well-being of individuals and families. Access to abortion and the right to choose is an issue of equality, bodily autonomy, and religious liberty.

Now that the Supreme Court decision shifts the debate over reproductive rights to the state level, we call upon Iowans of faith to join us in our moral stance against legally-sanctioned forced births while we advocate for a pregnant person’s right to choose.

  • Pastor Ryan Downing, Faith UCC
  • The Rev. Meg Wagner, JustChurch
  • Diana Smith, Unitarian Universalist Society
  • Rabbi Esther Hugenholtz, Agudas Achim Congregation
  • Adey Wassink, Sanctuary Community Church
  • Leigh Brown, Ordained Elder, United Methodist Church
  • Laura Hudson Kittrell, First Christian Church, Coralville
  • W. Robert Martin, III, Saint Andrew Presbyterian Church
  • Ryan M Russell, Coralville United Methodist Church
  • Jan Rippentrop Schnell, Lutheran
  • Dr. Sarah Rohret, St. Mark’s United Methodist Church
  • David Borger Germann, Sanctuary Community Church
  • Rebecca C. Carver, retired United Methodist
  • Dr. Dorothy Whiston
  • Jill Cameron Michel, First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
  • The Rev. Marc Haack, Trinity Episcopal Church
  • Reverend Sarah Goettsch, Gloria Dei Lutheran Church and Lutheran Campus Ministry
  • Mary Kay Kusner, Full Circle Catholic Community
  • The Rev Nora Boerner, Trinity Episcopal Church & JustChurch
  • Christine Wagner-Hecht
  • Kara Seaton, First Christian Church
  • Bob Welsh, First Christian, Retired
  • Pastor Katie Lowe Lancaster
  • The Rev. Jane L. Stewart, New Song Episcopal
  • The Rev. Susan K. Debner
  • Mark Pries
  • Lois Cole, Unitarian Universalist Society
  • Anita Johnson
  • Nancy Olthoff, Ph. D., Presbyterian
  • Karen Martens Zimmerly, First Mennonite Church of Iowa City
  • The Rev. Lauren Lyon, Trinity Episcopal Church
  • Carolyn Otis, Presiding Elder, Community of Christ
  • The Rev. William Lovin, Congregational United Church of Christ
  • Thomas H. Wassink, M.D., Sanctuary Community Church
  • John McKinstry, First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
  • Le Anne Clausen de Montes, Iowa Faith Leadership Network
  • Libby Conley

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.