A group of Iowa clergy and religious leaders signed a letter to the Des Moines Register last week advocating for abortion on demand.
The letter blasts Iowa lawmakers who are trying to pass a bill prohibiting abortions from the moment an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable, about six weeks of pregnancy.
“It is not the role of the government to infringe upon a woman’s right to make private medical decisions,” religious leaders from various denominations and faiths wrote.
The 66 signers included leaders from the United Methodist Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, Episcopal, Presbyterian Church USA, United Church of Christ, American Baptist and Reformed Judaism. Religious leaders from Unitarian Universalism, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and ULC Humanist also signed the letter urging lawmakers to keep abortions legal for unborn babies whose hearts already are beating.
Some of the denominations of the religious leaders who signed are at odds with other similar denominations. For example, while the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America takes a position favoring abortion, the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod and Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod are staunchly pro-life. That holds true for Methodist, Presbyterian, Church of Christ and Baptist denominations as well.
Many years ago, scientists discovered an unborn baby’s heartbeat begins around 21 days after fertilization – usually before the woman knows she is pregnant. Many sources on fetal development report this, though others link to evidence that the heartbeat begins at about 18 days. In 2016, researchers at the University of Oxford found evidence that an unborn baby’s heart may begin beating even earlier – by 16 days after conception, according to the Daily Mail.
However, the pro-abortion religious leaders claimed the bill is based on religion, not science.
The constitutional right of women to make their own healthcare decisions is being attacked in the Iowa Legislature. With arguments based only in religious beliefs, it will create harm to Iowa women and a woman’s right to make her own medical decisions.
It is creating a clear path for the government to intrude in the most personal rights and decisions of Iowa women. This is unconstitutional and it is wrong.
Calling the pro-life legislation “immoral,” they argued that women deserve to make their own decisions about their bodies and their pregnancies.
“Every person has the right to their own personal and religious beliefs and to live their life how they determine is best for them. The government does not have the right to infringe on the freedoms or privacy of Iowa women based on those religious beliefs,” they wrote.
If an abortion just involved a woman’s body, perhaps they would have a good argument. But it doesn’t. An abortion involves two human beings, the woman and her unborn baby. And the whole purpose of an abortion is to destroy that unborn baby’s life. Many decades ago now, scientists discovered that a human life beings at the moment of conception, complete with his/her own unique DNA.
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To argue that these unborn human beings may be killed because of their development level, location or size is unjust. Religious leaders, of all people, should be the ones advocating most strongly for the rights of all human beings, especially the most vulnerable of all, babies in the womb.
The following pro-abortion clergy signed the letter:
Connie Ryan, executive director, Interfaith Alliance of Iowa
Laurie Haller, Resident Bishop, Iowa Conference of The United Methodist Church
Rev. Brigit F. Stevens, Executive Conference Minister Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota Conferences of the UCC
Rev. Mary Newbern-Williams, Executive Presbyter, Presbytery of Missouri River Valley
Rev. Dr. Richard Guentert, Former Regional Minister and President, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the Upper Midwest Region
The Rev. Wendy K Abrahamson, Episcopal Church, Grinnell
Rev. Marsha Acord, United Methodist, Mount Vernon
Rev. Alejandro Alfaro-Santiz, United Methodist, Des Moines
Rev. Laura Arnold, United the Church of Christ, Decorah
Dr. Beverlee Bell, United Methodist, Urbandale
Rev. Alice Bolen, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Runnells
Rev. Rev. Kenneth E. Briggs Jr., United Church of Christ, Clive
Rev. Jennifer Brooks, Unitarian Universalism, Des Moines
Rev. Candice K. Brown, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Des Moines
The Rev Elaine Caldbeck, Episcopal, Bettendorf
Rev. Brian Carter, United Methodist Church, Windsor Heights
Rev. John Chaplin, United Church of Christ, Des Moines
Rev. Dick Clark, United Methodist, Urbandale
Rev. Elizabeth Colton, United Church of Christ, Oskaloosa
The Rev. Elizabeth Coulter, Episcopal, Coralville
The Rev. Judith Crossett, Episcopal, Iowa City
Rev. Dr. Dennis Dickman, Lutheran, Waverly
The Rev. Maureen Doherty, Episcopal, Cedar Falls
Rev. Emily E. Ewing, ELCA, Urbandale, Iowa
The Rev. Eileen Gebbie, United Church of Christ, Ames
Rev. Erin Gingrich, Unitarian Universalism, Des Moines
Rev. Debbie Griffin, Christian Church Disciples of Christ, Des Moines
Rev. John B. Harper, Episcopal, Coralville
Rev. Deb Hill-Davis, Unity Church, Ames
Rev Carlos Jayne, United Methodist, West Des Moines
Rev. Jonna Jensen, United Church of Christ, Baldwin
Rev. Patricia Johnson, Episcopal, Sioux City
Rev. Paul A. Johnson, United Church of Christ, Des Moines
Rabbi Henry Jay Karp, Reform Judaism, Davenport
Rabbi David Kaufman, Reform Judaism, Des Moines
The Rev. Daniel G. Kuckuck, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Urbandale
Rev. Carmen Lampe Zeitler, American Baptist, Des Moines
The Rev. Dr. Randall R. Lyle, Episcopal, Cedar Rapids
Rev. Matt Mardis-LeCroy, United Church of Christ, Des Moines
Rev. Sophie Mathonnet-VanderWell, Reformed Church in America, Pella
The Reverend Jean McCarthy, Episcopal, Des Moines
Rev. Russell Melby, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Ames
Rev. Jill Cameron Michel, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), North Liberty
The Rev. Rachel Thorson Mithelman, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Des Moines
Rev. Vernon Naffier, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Des Moines
Rev. Liane Nichols, Episcopal, Cedar Falls
Rev. Patricia Adams Oberbillig, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Des Moines
Pastor Beth A. Olson, Lutheran, Waverly
The Rev. Eric Pasanchin, Presbyterian Church (USA), Ankeny
The Rev. Ruth Ratliff, Episcopal, Cedar Falls
The Rev. Julia Rendon, Crossroads United Church of Christ, Indianola
The Rev. Martha Rogers, Episcopal, Marion
Rev. Dr. David Ruhe, United Church of Christ, Des Moines
Rev. Hannah Ryan, United Church of Christ, Burlington
Rev. William James Sanford Ryan, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Burlington
Rev. Michele Scott, United Church of Christ, Cedar Rapids
Rev. David Sickelka, United Church of Christ, Urbandale
Rev. Diana J. Sickles, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Des Moines
Rev. Larry W. Sonner, United Methodist, Urbandale
Rev. Jane Stewart, Episcopal, Coralville
Rev. Suzanne Hall Stout, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Des Moines
The Rev. Gayle V. Strickler, Jr., United Church of Christ, Grinnell
Rev. Joseph Stutler, ULC Humanist, Marion
Rev. Carol Sundberg, United Methodist, Cedar Rapids
Rev. Cheryl R. Thomas, American Baptist, Des Moines
Rev. P. Alex Thornburg, Presbyterian Church (USA), Clive
The Rev. Canon Marlin Whitmer, Episcopal, DeWitt
Rev. Nathan Willard, United Church of Christ, Ankeny