Thoughts about the repeal of the Roe v. Wade Decision

Many years ago when I was on sabbatical I attended the State of the Planet conference at Columbia University in New York City. The gathering was convened by the well-known economist and scholar Jeffrey Sachs, whose work influenced theUN’s  Millennium Development Goals to address the dire living conditions of the 2 billion poorest people on the planet. The conference featured scholars and policy experts from all over the world presenting on a range of environmental and humanitarian issues.

While I don’t remember a lot of the details, I do recall one trenchant point made by Dr. Sachs and several other demographic experts: the most effective investment a government or institution can make in any society is to support poor, young women. The investment in this key group resulted in improvements estimated to be at least 10x the original investment. If you provide services and basic healthcare to women and empower them to make decisions for themselves, the overall society improved based on standard social and economic metrics.

I thought about this truth yesterday as I heard news of the Supreme Court ruling that upended almost 50 years of access to abortion. As I have noted before I am pro-choice because I believe that women should have the right to make medical decisions about their own bodies. As a person of faith I am not alone in such a position. In addition to reproductive freedom, I believe women should have access to quality and affordable prenatal healthcare. For too many poor women in this country there are few healthcare options to begin with and this ruling will make a difficult situation even worse.

I suspect in the coming months we are going to see an increase in pregnancy-related deaths in this country, especially for the poorest 40% of women. One study referenced by the news site “The Conversation” shows that a ban on abortions could lead to a 21% increase in deaths related to pregnancy in the coming months. What a sad and needless outcome.

Like many of you, I find myself dismayed by several of the rulings this week, be it the overturning of Roe v. Wade or the concealed firearm decision. It sometimes feels like the United States is two nations in one country, a situation that has at times been problematic in our history to say the least.

So stay tuned and be in touch. I think there are a lot of conversations and actions that we can take as a congregation and certainly groups connected to the UUA are organizing programs and events. Locally, I am thinking of hosting in late August a reading group of this latest Supreme Court decision with a few local lawyers leading the discussion. Let me know if you would be interested. The goal of such a gathering would be to understand the opinion and different viewpoints about it.


This Sunday will be our last service before our July break and will have a slightly different format. Berklee College professor and musician Micheal Johnson will be our song leader and the service will feature several well-known hymns and a story appropriate for the young and young at heart. Both Sarah Napoline and I will be participating.

After we take a break for July, we will back with summer services in August with a great line up of guest preachers. In the meantime happy summer and

See you in church,