ELCA leader releases pastoral letter on abortion, expresses support for Roe v. Wade

Demonstrators hold signs outside the U.S. Supreme Court.
Demonstrators hold signs outside the U.S. Supreme Court. | Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

The head of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has issued a pastoral letter supporting abortion access and expresseding opposition to overturning the United States Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade.

ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton released a “pastoral message on abortion” on Tuesday, explaining that the denomination teaches that “abortion must be legal, regulated and accessible.”

“While this church longs for a future with fewer abortions every year, the social statement points out that outlawing all or nearly all abortions is not the way to do this,” stated Eaton.

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“The ELCA opposes both ‘the total lack of regulation of abortion’ and ‘legislation that would outlaw abortion in all circumstances.’”

Eaton expressed opposition to overturning Roe, which she said would “upend 50 years of legal precedent in our nation and damage the health and well-being of many.”

“The prospect is daunting. As Christians, we persevere in hope,” she continued. “We must continue to be bold in our prayers and in our public witness for a more just society that cherishes and guarantees the dignity of all.”

Pastor Tom Brock, a former member of the ELCA who oversees a television ministry in Minnesota, emailed The Christian Post a statement denouncing the Eaton pastoral message.

“Bishop Eaton is forgetting the many unborn children whose lives would be saved from the destruction of abortion. Eaton's statement barely mentions the unborn child,” stated Brock. “’Thou shalt not kill’ is nowhere to be found in Eaton's ‘pastoral’ letter.”

“I believe Jesus, who said ‘Inasmuch as you do it to the least of these my brethren, you do it unto me’ (Matthew 28:40), is grieving over what the ELCA has become: an advocate for Roe v. Wade which has killed 62 million unborn children since 1973.”

Eaton’s message was spurred by Politico publishing a leaked draft opinion in the Supreme Court case of Dobbs v. Jackson, in which the high court ruled 5-4 to overturn Roe.

The draft was authored by Justice Samuel Alito and written up in February. It would have allowed individual state legislatures to decide whether to ban or otherwise restrict abortion.

Although both Politico admitted that the draft opinion was not necessarily the final decision, the report sparked numerous protests and several acts of vandalism against churches and pro-life pregnancy health centers.

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