People of Faith Understand …

There are so many things to like, support, and affirm in The Religious Institute’s Open Letter to Religious Leaders on Family Planning:  Claiming sex and sexuality as divine gift and the family as sacred, affirming individual moral agency, attending to sacred texts and traditions in terms of what they do and do not say on the issues, naming access to contraception as a moral issue, and clarifying what religious liberty means.

Perhaps most important is the “Call to Action”

“We call on leaders of all faiths to raise a prophetic voice to publicly advocate for universal access to family planning. We urge religious leaders to:

  • Educate themselves and their faith communities about sexual and reproductive health and the need for universal access to family planning.
  • Compassionately and competently address the needs of their congregants as they make decisions about family planning, contraception, and sexual relationships.
  • Contact local family planning providers for referrals, mutual training and support, and encourage those agencies to acknowledge the influence of faith on clients’ decisions about contraception.
  • Engage in public discourse about the ethical issues involved in research on new methods of contraception.
  • Work within their traditions and denominations to make reproductive health a social justice priority.
  • Advocate for increased U.S. financial support for domestic and global family planning services through sermons, public witness, and involvement in the political process.”

In addition to doing these things, if you are a religious leader you can endorse the statement here.

As Rev. Debra Haffner said, “Let us demonstrate to all who would once again limit contraception that people of faith understand that ‘contraception saves lives, promotes human flourishing, and advances the common good.’”


About Caryn Riswold

Caryn D. Riswold is a feminist theologian in the Lutheran tradition. She is Professor of Religion and also teaches Gender and Women’s Studies at Illinois College in Jacksonville, Illinois, where she has worked for over a decade teaching undergraduates to think critically and creatively about religion. She earned her Ph.D. and Th.M. from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, holds a master’s degree from the Claremont School of Theology, and received her B.A. from Augustana College in her childhood hometown of Sioux Falls, South Dakota.