Why Religious Groups Across The Country Are Praying For Abortion Rights

by Alexandra Svokos

Over 80 congregations of more than 19 different faiths in 25 states prayed for abortion rights this weekend. That adds up to over 10,000 people across America praying together for access to safe, legal abortion services, according to Rev. Dr. Debra W. Haffner, President of the Religious Institute.

Haffner organized this National Weekend of Prayer to ask religious leaders to pray for the Supreme Court to protect women's right to abortion.

The Supreme Court will be hearing arguments for the Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt case on Wednesday. This is the most significant case on abortion the Supreme Court has heard in decades and will determine access to abortion services for millions of women across the country.

Haffner told Elite Daily the idea religious people do not support abortion is a misconception. She said the right to abortion fits in with religious beliefs:

We are each moral agents and have the ability to search our own consciences for what’s right in our own particular situation... Every woman must have the moral agency to decide for herself, given her own circumstances, how to respond to a pregnancy.

Leanne Gale, ‎Grassroots Associate at the National Council of Jewish Women, echoed this, saying abortion is an issue of moral autonomy, meaning women should be able to make their own decisions. She told Elite Daily the NCJW affirms the verse "tzedek, tzedek, tirdof" -- "justice, justice, you will pursue."

For us, justice looks like a woman making her own decisions about abortion regardless of where she lives or how much money she makes or what type of insurance she has.

Gale led the Shabbat service at the NCJW Texas leadership training weekend. She was "really moved" by this weekend of prayer as it represented not just support, but organizing efforts.

NCJW and Gale’s father, who is a rabbi, signed onto an amicus brief -- a note sent to the Supreme Court to help them make their decision in the Whole Woman's case -- in support of abortion rights on behalf of religious leaders and institutions. Other amicus briefs were sent by lawyers and prominent women to explain how their own abortions positively affected their lives.

The Religious Institute provided a responsive prayer for congregations to use this weekend, along with adaptations for specific denominations. The prayer says:

Today, we call on the Supreme Court of the United States to reject unduly burdensome restrictions on access to abortion and to support reproductive justice. May the wisdom of the justices, the skill of the attorneys, and the integrity of the plaintiffs preserve access to safe and legal abortion services for all.

The Supreme Court will be hearing the case on Wednesday, March 2, and their decision will be announced in June.