NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – With the Supreme Court releasing its decision to overturn Constitutional protections for abortion Friday, religious leaders across Tennessee are sharing their reactions. The decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health overturns the 50-year-old right to privacy that was considered fundamental in the right to abortion.
Additionally, the decision triggers several immediate abortion bans across the country, including in Louisiana, Kentucky and Missouri, as well as a Tennessee law that will go into effect after 30 days.
Catholic Bishops of Tennessee, including those from Memphis, Nashville and Knoxville, released the following statement on the decision:
“Together as the bishops of Tennessee, we thank the United States Supreme Court for its careful consideration of the constitutional issues surrounding abortion and express our encouragement that it has ruled in favor of the right to life for the unborn.
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“Arguments before the court made it clear that our ever-expanding scientific knowledge has identified the fact that everything essential for a growing human life is present from the moment of conception. Only time and nourishment are necessary to bring that life forward, created in the likeness and image of God with the human dignity enshrined by the creator in each of us as His children.
“We pray for all those facing pregnancies, both planned and unplanned, and pledge to redouble our efforts to support mothers, fathers, and children at every stage of life.” – The Rev. J. Mark Spalding, Diocese of Nashville; the Rev. David P. Talley, Diocese of Memphis; the Rev. Richard F. Stika, Diocese of Knoxville
On the opposing side, representatives of the Southern Christian Coalition lamented the harm that will come to women across the country with the decision.
“I am grieved by today’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade” said Rev Laura Becker, Pastor of Northminster Presbyterian Church in Chattanooga. “Decisions about our bodies and their care should be between the individual, our doctors, and our God. The worrisome truth is that now that abortions will no longer be legal in the majority of states in the U.S., including Tennessee, it will only eliminate the option for safe abortions, and it will impact already-marginalized communities the most. It is a moral failure on the part of our government to eliminate access to abortion care when our country offers so little support for young families in terms of affordable health care, parental leave, or subsidized child care.”
“I am both heartbroken and scared of what the effects of overturning Roe v. Wade mean for Tennesseans, and that many who believe themselves to be Christians have been at the center of this effort,” said the Rev. Dr. Lilliam Lammers, Associate Pastor of First Congregational Church in Memphis. “Jesus calls us to love our neighbor as ourselves, yet this ruling is devoid of the values of care, empathy, freedom, and privacy. A ruling like this negates the complexities of human lives, which Christ always met with compassion in the Gospels.
“Women I love have ended pregnancies. All of these women have multiple children. I guarantee that each and every one of us loves and cares for someone who has ended a pregnancy, whether we know about it or not. Women choose to end pregnancies for many, often complicated reasons – frequently medical ones, and now in Tennessee, a safe termination will no longer be an option.”
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This is a developing story. WKRN News 2 will continue to update this article as new information becomes available.