With Roe reeling, religious activists on both sides flock to Supreme Court

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WASHINGTON (RNS) — Jamie Manson, head of Catholics for Choice, was watching Netflix Monday night (May 2) when Politico released Judge Samuel Alito’s draft majority opinion arguing for the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Like many Americans, even dedicated activists on the issue, Manson expected little from the news. She said it took several calls from her staff to get her attention.

The decision, however, did not surprise her.

” The jugement ? Not shocking,” she told Religion News Service. “We listened to the arguments on December 1. We know the composition of this tribunal. We have five radically anti-choice Catholics on this pitch, so we weren’t surprised. I hope this will wake people up. Because I think most people denied it happening.

On Tuesday, Manson was one of hundreds of protesters from both sides of the abortion debate who rallied outside the Supreme Court to raise their voices and raise prayers, responding to the prospect that an abortion right in national level loses its legal basis. after half a century if Alito’s project becomes official.

Jamie Manson, head of Catholics for Choice, speaks during protests outside the U.S. Supreme Court, May 3, 2022, in Washington. RNS photo by Jack Jenkins

Manson was one of many speakers, whose senses. Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar, who addressed abortion rights advocates in the crowd as a small contingent of opponents stood nearby.


RELATED: Roe v. Wade: Religious Leaders Respond to SCOTUS Opinion Leak


Addressing proponents of abortion rights, Manson stressed the need for action. Among the crowd, the sense of urgency was palpable: many had arrived at the court carrying signs, including one that read “You will not steal my reproductive rights.”

“I’m one of the 68% of Catholics in the United States who don’t want to see Roe vs. Wade shot,” Manson said, referring to a 2019 Pew Research poll that showed broad support for Roe’s retention among groups. religious.

Manson called the potential decision the result of a decades-long campaign coordinated “by American Catholic bishops by very wealthy right-wing Catholics,” and urged his abortion-rights supporters to speak out.

“I call on all people who support abortion rights because of their faith — not in spite of it — to be as loud as possible,” Manson said, pausing after being interrupted by cheers. “If Roe falls, the right will claim it as a victory for religion, and a victory for faith and Christianity. And that’s a lie.”

Sheila Katz of the National Council of Jewish Women speaks during protests outside the Supreme Court, Tuesday, May 3, 2022, in Washington.  RNS photo by Jack Jenkins

Sheila Katz of the National Council of Jewish Women speaks during protests outside the Supreme Court, May 3, 2022, in Washington. RNS photo by Jack Jenkins

Sheila Katz, head of the National Council of Jewish Women, also spoke at the rally.

“I’m here to say loud and clear that Jews support abortion,” she said. “The Torah is clear on this issue: Abortion is not only permitted in Judaism, but in certain cases required when the life of the pregnant person is at stake.”

A few feet away, abortion opponent Steve Corson stood alone holding a Bible and a shofar while wearing a red Trump hat. A native of Arizona, Corson said he traveled to Washington weeks earlier as part of the People’s Motorcade, a caravan of truckers and others who oppose government COVID vaccination mandates. -19.


RELATED: As Supreme Court Debates Abortion, Dueling Theologies Protest Outside


His faith, he says, also moved him to oppose abortion.

Steve Corson blows a shofar outside the United States Supreme Court, Tuesday, May 3, 2022, in Washington.  RNS photo by Jack Jenkins

Steve Corson blows a shofar outside the United States Supreme Court on May 3, 2022, in Washington. RNS photo by Jack Jenkins

“I heard about the possible decision to end Roe v. Wade, and I think it would be one of the greatest miracles ever done in the United States of America – under God,” Corson said. “I know Almighty God doesn’t care about abortion at all. He hates it. He despises him.

Asked about religious leaders who support abortion rights, Corson replied, “I feel sorry for them.”

“Any pastor or Christian-type person, any godly person in America and around the world who doesn’t oppose abortion is a sick soul to me — and they’re in big trouble,” he said.

After he finished speaking, Corson defiantly blew his shofar.

Nearby, a group of people in blue shirts bowed their heads in prayer, expressing their thanks for the promise of Alito’s opinion. The band members explained that they were parents of sixth graders at Christian Heritage Academy, a school in Oklahoma. They were in town by chance, on a field trip.

“Obviously being a born-again Christian, trying to live my life that way, for me, is pretty black and white,” Adam Bryan said when asked about abortion. He described himself as a firm believer that life begins at conception and that abortion is an act of murder.

According to a recent poll by the Public Religion Research Institute, white evangelical Protestants are the main religious group most likely to voice opposition to abortion in general, with only 30% saying they think it is. should be legal in all or most cases. They are also the faith group most likely to support the overturning of Roe v. Wade, although opinions are much more divided: 46% oppose the reversal of the decision, while 52% are in favor.

Other faith traditions have not only expressed support for abortion rights, but have made it a cause. Although active for decades, pro-choice religious advocates have become increasingly visible over the past year: religious leaders and religious groups have been prominently featured at rallies, taken action against laws restricting access to abortion and projected messages in favor of the right to abortion on Catholic basilicas. .

Reverend Sofia Betancourt before the Supreme Court, Tuesday, May 3, 2022, in Washington.  RNS photo by Jack Jenkins

Reverend Sofia Betancourt before the Supreme Court, May 3, 2022, in Washington. RNS photo by Jack Jenkins

Reverend Sofia Betancourt, a Unitarian Universalist minister and former official with the Unitarian Universalist Association, swarmed around the crowd on Tuesday. Noting that her tradition has long advocated for expanding access to abortion, Betancourt framed the case as a matter of justice and faith.

“It’s not that the values ​​are new, it’s that the need to reaffirm the same arguments we’ve already made for justice is becoming increasingly clear,” she said. “I hope people hear this as a call to show up to live their values, to protect the most vulnerable among us. Sometimes it’s literally about putting our bodies where they need to be most visible, so that the most affected people in the world – blessed all of us – are not left alone in this fight.


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