Roe v. Wade 40th Anniversary
Thousands of Unitarian Universalists (UUs) and others celebrated a milestone victory when the Supreme Court legalized abortion in the United States in their decision, Roe v. Wade (1973). The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) led the liberal religious presence in the movement, as the first religious organization to formally support a woman's right to choose (1963—10 years before Roe). With our new commitment to reproductive justice (2012), we continue the struggle to make abortion access and reproductive justice a reality for every person and community.
Importantly, Roe did not guarantee actual access to abortion. Rather, it simply established some boundaries to how and when states could impose restrictions. Both then and now, too many women—often but not always for economic reasons—face significant obstacles to actually obtaining a safe and legal abortion. Ever since Roe was adopted, abortion opponents have been working to impose as many restrictions as possible, resulting in a significant decrease in actual access to abortion.
This year—2013—is a year of celebrating our history and recommitting to our future. It is the 40th anniversary of the Roe v Wade decision, which legalized abortion; the 50th anniversary of the UUA making a statement on choice; and the launch year of Unitarian Universalists' new, 4-year commitment to reproductive justice. Join the celebration!
How can my congregation celebrate these anniversaries?
You know best what the needs are in your local community. The most effective ministry and advocacy is done in response to real needs in your life and those of your neighbors and friends.
If you need some extra ideas, though, here are a few.
- Host a vigil or worship service for your congregation or community. It could focus on the women who died—and continue to die—from unsafe, illegal abortions. It could minister specifically to those whose lives are touched by abortion; nearly 1 in 3 women have had one. It could be a justice-centered rededication to the spirit of the Roe v. Wade victory—that every woman should have access to the health care, opportunities, and education that puts her in full control of her reproduction and sexuality.
- Sometime this year, preach on Roe v. Wade and reproductive justice. Download a free Preaching Resource (PDF) for UU ministers, co-developed for this anniversary year by the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice and the Unitarian Universalist Association. A sample worship, sermon archive and other resources can be found in the Congregational Resource Packet.
- Share the collection plate with a local advocacy group or abortion clinic. Inviting someone from the group to participate in your Sunday service and accept the offering is a great way to initiate a relationship with the advocacy or service community in your area.
- Launch the UUA's new curriculum for congregations, 'Reproductive Justice: Expanding Our Social Justice Calling.' This free, six-session curriculum bases its practical educational approach on Unitarian Universalist theology and legacy. It was developed in response to the election of reproductive justice as the 2012-2016 Congregational Study/Action Issue.
- Send flowers or thank-you cards from your congregation to local women's health clinics or medical professionals. As liberal religious people, we can help remind these folks that the work they do is morally good and important.
- Plan a Reproductive Justice Sunday this year. Preach, share the plate, and create an opportunity after worship for your congregation to engage in direct service or advocacy. Use the reproductive justice liturgical calendar (PDF) to help identify a good date, and find a sample worship, helpful tips, and other materials in the Congregational Resource Packet.
Thinking of joining with another UU congregation, or need more ideas? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with feedback or questions.
For more information contact email@example.com.
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Last updated on Wednesday, January 9, 2013.
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