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Not all St. Louis faith leaders agree on overturning of Roe v. Wade

While some religious leaders are rejoycing over the Supreme Court decision, others say it goes against their faith.

ST. LOUIS — The Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade is causing some religious leaders to rejoice, while others are rejecting the decision.

In a news conference Monday morning in St. Louis, several faith leaders denounced the ruling.

"I am a religious leader, I'm a Christian and I had an abortion," Reverend Dietra Wise Baker said. 

Usually, the power of her words is felt at the Eden Theological seminary. However, she brought a message to City Hall after the pivotal Supreme Court ruling.

"I'm here representing over 100 area faith leaders of the St. Louis Interfaith Coalition for Reproductive Rights," Baker said. "We find this decision to be offensive and punitive to the religious freedom we all value and practice." 

The assistant professor said not all clergy stand with the same beliefs.

"I know you think we believe in the same thing but we do not," Parker said. "The grounds for this decision are based with a context of a narrow religious understanding of the role of women in society and their personal agency over their own lives codifying this one religious perspective, religious tyranny." 

The Archdiocese of St. Louis has issued a statement from Archbishop of St. Louis Most Reverend Mitchell T. Rozanski:

“The Catholic Church has always proclaimed that every human being, born and unborn, is endowed by our Creator with the right to be protected and cherished. Therefore, just as before today’s Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe versus Wade, the Church will continue serving those who are most vulnerable and bearing witness to the dignity of every human, regardless of religion, race, age or any other factor. Here in the Archdiocese of St. Louis, we will continue providing resources for women facing unexpected and difficult pregnancies, cherishing and protecting women and their children, so that they may both develop their full potential in this world and be happy with God forever in the next. I urge all the faithful in our Archdiocese of St. Louis, now more than ever, to demonstrate compassion and provide support to those in need, with a special deference to mothers and children in need.”

Baker said their faith is about safety, too.

"Our faith insists that a pregnant person's life it is to be respected and protected against harm that might be caused to her by an unhealthy or untimely pregnancy," she said.

As for Rabbi Susan Talve with Central Reform Congregation, she said this Supreme Court Decision goes against her faith.

"My fight for choice is grounded in both Jewish law and Jewish traditions and our profound commitment at the most at risk," she said. "Abortion access is a matter of religious freedom, Jews are not only permitted to terminate pregnancy but when lives are at stake but may be obligated by Jewish law to do so."

Also in the news conference, Mayor Tishaura Jones, Congresswoman Cori Bush and the religious leaders talked about Board Bill 61, which is created by Alderwoman Annie Rice.

This bill is trying to use $1 million of the ARPA funds to create a Reproductive Equity Fund. 

This wouldn’t fund abortion procedures, but instead, this money would help with logistical support, such as transportation and childcare.

As far as violating state law, Mayor Jones said she expects the city to be sued but it’s time to act.

"We expect to be sued as soon as it passes and becomes law and that will be left up to the courts. We are working with the city counselor’s office on what is allowable and if it’s allowable of ARPA funds, municipal funds, but this is a time to act," Jones said.

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