A 2019 "Stop Abortion Bans" rally/Flickr photo by Fibonacci Blue

Some Celebrate, Some Vow to Fight Back: Spokane Responds to Reversal of Roe V. Wade

Some Celebrate, Some Vow to Fight Back: Spokane Responds to Reversal of Roe V. Wade

By Tracy Simmons

This news story was made possible by contributions to FāVS from readers and members like you. Thank you.

This story was last updated at 8 a.m., June 25

While some are taking a victory lap after the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe V. Wade, others in the region are determined to fight back.

In Spokane, a protest was held Friday at the Foley Federal Courthouse to protest the ruling. And in Moscow, Idaho, a rally was also held Friday

St. John’s Cathedral, on Spokane’s South Hill, held a vigil for healing Friday night.

“Today’s Supreme Court decision revokes equitable reproductive health care across our nation and opens the door for states to abridge the rights of individuals to reach informed decisions and act on them, in privacy and safety,” wrote Dean Heather VanDeventer in a letter to her congregation.

Bishop Gretchen Rehberg, of the Episcopal Diocese of Spokane, said the Episcopal Church has always viewed safe and legal abortion as necessary, while also grieving “the tragedy that happens when a woman believes this is the best option.”

Bishop Gretchen Rehberg

“As a bishop of the church I am sorry that we have failed work hard enough to help protect the rights of women.  As a woman, I am appalled that yet again women are treated as people who have no control over our own bodies in many parts of our country,” she said. “And, I understand that people of good will and good faith can disagree about this, and I am trying to not be angry about the decision.  It is simply not true that all faiths teach the same thing about when life begins, or about abortion rights for women..

She added that she believes one day the country will look back a this and view the decisions of the Supreme Court as misguided and incorrect.  

” Until that day, in a diocese that spans two states with different laws, the Episcopal Church will work to help those who need access to safe and legal medical care regardless of where they live,” Rehberg said.

The Rev. Jonathan Myers of West Central Abbey said he wishes the rumors of this day were just that.

“As a person who identifies with being a cisgendered, heterosexual male and who is a priest in the Episcopal Church, my heart dropped into an empty pit this morning when I read the news,” he said. “I hold space for the anger and discouragement that women everywhere are feeling. I hear you. I grieve with you in your anger and hurt and fear. I am especially aware of those who are in states where your reproductive rights will be taken away in short order and for those who suffer from socioeconomic realities that cause you to bear the heaviest of this burden.”

He said he believe the court’s decision is morally wrong and said there’s work to be done to regain women’s rights again.

Rev. Andy CastroLang of Westminster United Church of Christ agreed that there’s work to do.

Andy CastroLang

“Yes, we are infuriated but now the real work must begin, protecting the lives of women, and fighting like hell for our human rights and dignity.  The Supreme Court has been weak, corrupt, and on the wrong side of history and life before. They are now,” she said. “We know this is a terrible moment in time, but we will not despair. We will use every strategy,  tool, and  power of humanity in this fight. It’s a fight for all of us, that needs all of us. No more sitting around.”

Bishop Thomas Daly, however, of the Catholic Diocese of Spokane, celebrated the news.

“We commend the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and give individual states the opportunity to enact laws that respect life. We welcome this opportunity to reduce the number of abortions in the United States and build a culture of life,” he wrote.

In a letter to church-goers, he urged people to continue to speak out against abortion — especially in Washington state where it is remains legal. He also urged the church to stand with pregnant women, “on their journey and to do all we can to support them and their children.”

The national organization, 40 Days for Life, released a statement from its co-founder and president, Shawn Carney, saying they’ve been preparing for this day for years, but said they still have work to do as many cities are declaring themselves “safe havens.”

Shawn Carney

“Although this is a huge victory and a tremendous moment in history, we’re not popping any champagne bottles just yet. Now is when the real work begins,” Carney wrote.

Across the Washington state region, several groups spoke out, saying they too are ready to fight.

The Faith Action Network, a statewide non-profit and interfaith advocacy group released a statement saying the reversal will increase healthcare inequalities in the U.S. and vowed to advocate for “equitable policies regarding reproductive health in the State of Washington and protection of women’s right to choice; we will also advocate for federal policies to protect such rights.”

Kia Guarino, executive director of Pro-Choice Washington, said in a statement, “We are in an ominous place when the Supreme Court no longer represents the American people – the majority of whom believe in the legal right to abortion. In the face of the deliberate erosion of our most protective institutions, we cannot give up hope or power. Each of us has the right to speak out and to vote and we must exercise this right even in the context of an imperfect democracy.”

The organization urged voters to take action by making their voices heard this November.

This news story was made possible by contributions to FāVS from readers and members like you. Thank you.

About Tracy Simmons

Tracy Simmons is an award winning journalist specializing in religion reporting, digital entrepreneurship and social journalism. In her 15 years on the religion beat, Simmons has tucked a notepad in her pocket and found some of her favorite stories aboard cargo ships in New Jersey, on a police chase in Albuquerque, in dusty Texas church bell towers, on the streets of New York and in tent cities in Haiti.
Simmons has worked as a multimedia journalist for newspapers across New Mexico, Texas and Connecticut. Currently she serves as the executive director of SpokaneFAVS.com, a digital journalism start-up covering religion news and commentary in Spokane, Wash. She is also a Scholarly Assistant Professor at Washington State University.

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