On Abortion: An Open Letter from Idaho Religious Leaders | Opinion


As religious leaders in Idaho, dedicated to compassion, equity, and justice for all, we strongly condemn Idaho’s abortion ban, decimating individual freedoms over one’s own body and health rights. We represent a diversity of religious traditions, some of which have been at the forefront of protecting the sacred right of choice and individual conscience for longer than has been a legal issue in our country. We all individually take seriously our moral obligation and our pastoral responsibility to support those who find themselves faced with life-altering decisions that are fraught with judgment and shame. We are committed to providing guidance, care and support for our traditions based on unconditional love.

As the Idaho Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments in Planned Parenthood Greater Northwest v. State of Idaho, we wish to clarify that religion does not speak with one voice on this issue. Denying someone the right to exercise their divinely given moral agency and bodily autonomy, and to make decisions about their family and future is a violation of human rights and religious freedom. Legislators using religion to justify the removal of health care rights of any kind constitute theocratic tyranny. No government committed to human rights and democracy can privilege the teachings of one religion over another. Let’s be clear, religion does not agree on the moral considerations surrounding abortion and the value of one life over another. But we agree on religious freedom. Thus, religious freedom means reproductive freedom. We oppose any attempt to make specific religious doctrine regarding abortion the law for all Americans.

These extremist abortion laws endanger individual bodily autonomy and freedom. And, as always, marginalized and low-income people are the most affected. These bans aren’t isolated — they’re rooted in a conservative, fundamentalist political agenda that has targeted voting rights, trans rights, immigration, education and more. It was never just about abortion; it is about controlling our body.


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