Statement of the Rt Rev’d John Bauerschmidt, Bishop of Tennessee, on the recent Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson:

Members of the Episcopal Diocese of Tennessee, and of the Episcopal Church as a whole, have varied convictions about abortion, and the right of access to abortion. The Episcopal Church has a nuanced position, articulated through its General Convention, holding that “All human life is sacred… from its inception until death” (Resolution C047-1988); as well as its “unequivocal opposition 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 in this matter [termination of pregnancy] and to act upon them” (Resolution D095-1976, reaffirming a 1967 GC statement).

I acknowledge the variety of the responses, especially those of grief, that will follow in the wake of the Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson. In the midst of those responses, I urge charity toward our neighbors, and our fellow parishioners, whatever our convictions. I encourage faithful reflection and non-reactive communication, as we attempt to follow Jesus as his disciples.

I also remind us of the good of civil peace, crucial for every citizen of our nation. As I said at our Annual Convention in January of 2021, “I have confidence in our form of constitutional government, its structures and systems.” As I reiterated then, “Peaceful assembly and protest are cherished rights of citizens, and can advance justice; but violence undermines them, and works against the safety of all.”

Please continue to pray for our fellow citizens, for all those affected by this decision, and for our nation as a whole. Pray for our church, that its members may bear faithful witness in a contentious time in our national life.

Bishop John