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Religious Pluralism and Women's Health

As clergy representing diverse denominations and faith traditions, we find common ground in our respect for a woman’s ability to make her own personal health care decisions without political or government intrusion.  It is the right of a woman to make her own reproductive decisions in light of her individual circumstances, guided by her conscience and her faith.

We know how diverse the religious teachings are on birth control, abortion, and other sexual and reproductive health issues and we strongly believe that religious opinions should not be the basis for amending a state’s constitution. In a democratic pluralistic society, no religious tradition has the right to impose its beliefs onto society as a whole or to interfere with the health care of those who follow other religious teachings. Freedom to live in accord with one’s personal religious belief is a fundamental cornerstone of our democracy.

We are all created in God’s image, and as clergy it is our responsibility to encourage people to be good stewards of their bodies. We believe that health care decisions are best left to the patient in consultation with their doctor, their family and their faith. Interference with this process endangers the physical, spiritual, and emotional well being of women and men navigating deeply personal and often complex decisions. 

Because of our great appreciation for human life, we are morally opposed to any policy that denies a person their right to self-determination. Because we value religious pluralism, we strongly object to any law that would interfere with the ability to follow the guidance of one’s own personal faith. 

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The Planned Parenthood® Federation of America Clergy Advisory Board (CAB), launched in 1994, leads a national effort to increase public awareness of the theological and moral basis for advocating reproductive health and justice. CAB members are dedicated pro-choice clergy from different denominations and communities throughout the U.S. who work with Planned Parenthood at the national and state levels to further the goal of full reproductive freedom for all women and men.

April 2014