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December 20, 2016
Dear Governor Kasich,
We, the undersigned national and state faith-based and religious groups, stand united across our faith
traditions in opposing measures that restrict women’s access to safe, legal abortion. Two bills that recently
came before you after passing the Ohio legislature, HB 493 and SB 127, sought to ban abortion after six and
20 weeks, respectively. While we were pleased to see you veto HB 493, we are extremely disappointed that
you signed SB 127.
This is an egregious law that stands in the way of a woman’s ability to make conscience-based decisions
about her pregnancy according to her own beliefs, and instead allows politicians to decide when and whether
a woman can access abortion care. The decision to end a pregnancy must be left to an individual woman in
consultation with her family, doctors and any others she chooses to involve, in accordance with her personal
faith beliefs and circumstances, rather than being imposed on her by state law.
Bans on abortion after an arbitrary gestational limit—whether six weeks, 20 weeks, or any other number of
weeks—fail to consider the medical and personal circumstances of the woman. Indeed, when a woman is
denied an abortion later in pregnancy, the consequences on her life and her family can be far-reaching,
impacting her health, economic security and well-being. Healthcare that does not include access to later
abortion does not serve the economic, medical or emotional needs of women or our society as a whole.
Our faith charges us to respect the freedom of belief, a core principle of our American democracy. However,
legislation such as SB 127 that limits access to abortion care has the practical effect of imposing one
particular religious belief on all people, which does not reflect the religious freedom protections that are
guaranteed to every individual by the Constitution.
The proper role of government in the United States is not to privilege one set of religious views over others,
but to protect each person’s right and ability to make decisions according to their own beliefs and values.
The religious values that guide our organizations call us to demonstrate compassion, support and respect for
any woman or family facing critical decisions related to pregnancy. As a woman makes this decision for
herself and her family, we believe that it is neither our role—nor the government’s—to stand in judgment.
Only she can know the circumstances of her life well enough to make the best decision for her health, her
family and her life. Our lawmakers must ensure that she has safe and legal access to the care she feels is
necessary. Each woman is a moral agent who deserves dignity and respect. It is critical that every woman has
as much time as she needs to make the best decision for herself and her family in consultation with her doctor
and without the fear of arbitrary time restrictions.
Our religious values compel us to advocate for policies that empower those marginalized in our communities.
Whenever bans or other severe restrictions to abortion are enacted, those most negatively affected are women
without the financial resources to access safe care elsewhere. We stand with women who will be
disproportionately harmed by abortion bans. We understand that abortion bans like SB 127 only compound
the difficulties of families in our communities who are already struggling to make ends meet.
Again, we express our disappointment that you signed SB 127, an extreme law that will neither withstand
constitutional scrutiny nor protect the health of Ohio women. This law blocks a woman’s access to safe
healthcare options and unjustly denies her the freedom to make decisions according to her own beliefs
and conscience, and in consultation with her doctor. In the future, rather than question the autonomy of
the women of Ohio, we hope that you support policies that show compassion for women and families, no
matter their circumstances, and respect for every individual’s religious liberty.
A Critical Mass: Women Celebrating Eucharist
Advocacy Committee for Women’s Concerns of the
Presbyterian Church (USA)
Bend the Arc Jewish Action
Catholics for Choice
Central Conference of American Rabbis
Clergy Advocacy Board of Planned Parenthood
Federation of America
Cleveland Section, National Council of Jewish Women
Columbus Section, National Council of Jewish Women
Concerned Clergy for Choice
Disciples for Choice
Disciples Justice Action Network
Episcopal Women’s Caucus
Global Justice Institute
Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization
of America, Inc.
Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action
Jewish Council for Public Affairs
Jewish Women International
Methodist Federation for Social Action
Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC)
Muslims for Progressive Values
National Coalition of American Nuns (NCAN)
National Council of Jewish Women
Ohio Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
Ohio State Policy Advocates, National Council of
Presbyterian Feminist Agenda Network
Presbyterian Voices for Justice
Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and Jewish
Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
Society for Humanistic Judaism
Union for Reform Judaism
Unitarian Universalist Association
Unitarian Universalist Women’s Federation
United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries
Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics, and Ritual (WATER)
Women’s Ordination Conference
Women’s League for Conservative Judaism
Women of Reform Judaism
For more information please contact Kate Parke, Catholics for Choice, at email@example.com or (202) 986-6093,
or Laura Young, Ohio Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice at firstname.lastname@example.org or (614) 943-3939.