The U.S. Supreme Court has issued rulings this week on two of the most divisive issues in American society, striking down handgun restrictions in New York and overturning Roe v. Wade.
While both rulings were anticipated, the news of them sends reverberations across the country, and I write to acknowledge the pain and fear they invoke among those of us who had hoped the highest court in the land would uphold a woman’s right to full reproductive health and use its power to help curb the epidemic of gun violence in our land.
In neither case will these rulings settle the issues they address. Greater access to guns will only increase gun violence and death, and history shows that restricting legal access to abortion disproptionately impacts the heath and safety of low-income women. Moreover, overturning an almost fifty-year precedent of constitutional protection for women, will, in the words of Dean Randy Hollerith, “only further inflame the country’s profound division on abortion.”
The Episcopal Church’s positions on both issues–gun violence and women’s reproductive rights–seek to strengthen the moral fabric of our society, protect individual rights as enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, and address the inequities among us that are an affront to God. Thus we will continue to seek common ground where possible and constructive dialogue among varied points of view. This week’s rulings make our work harder and all the more important.
I pray God’s mercy and strength as we face the days ahead, giving thanks to all in our church and beyond who persevere in hope.
The Rt. Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde
Bishop of Washington