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A Message from Bishop Shannon in Response to the Supreme Court’s Ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization

Dear People of God in the Diocese of Vermont:

The Supreme Court has ruled on the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, overturning Roe v. Wade, and allowing states to enact laws making abortion illegal.

Here in Vermont, we may find some comfort knowing this state has enacted a statute protecting abortion rights for both residents and visitors. And yet, there is no question that for those of us who have walked with people making these personal and emotional decisions, and for those of us for whom the freedom to make decisions about our own bodies has been restricted, this is a deeply disillusioning moment in our country’s history, and one that calls us to contemplation and then action.

Since 1967, the Episcopal Church has been clear that it is opposed to “any legislation on the part of the national or state governments which would abridge or deny the right of individuals to reach informed decisions [about the termination of pregnancy] and to act upon them.” Now we, as individuals and as a church, must ask ourselves what we are willing to risk, and in what ways we can protest peacefully and advocate for this right. I believe that as a starting point, we should reconsider holding churchwide meetings of any kind in states in which a pregnant attendee could not receive the full range of emergency reproductive health care. This would likely include moving the 2024 General Convention from Louisville, Kentucky.

We have much to discern together. As we do so, I ask your prayers for those most affected by restricted access to reproductive healthcare – poor people, people of color, and LGBTQ+ people. You are all in my prayers, as you continue to show God’s love for all people, supporting and caring for them in any time of need.

Peace and Blessings,

Bishop Shannon

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