Today I’m reflecting on Tuesday’s leak of a draft Supreme Court opinion.

Abortion is a hard issue for Christians.

Some Christians are calling it an answer to prayer. Others feel grief and provocation and threat. The reality is that we who call ourselves Christian often decide whether abortion should remain legal or not based on our faith.

My experience on this issue is that people of good character may differ. We’re all on the side of life and we have different interpretations about what that means.

In 2019, the Reverend Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II, Stated Clerk of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), wrote about the denomination’s decision to become pro-choice.

As Presbyterians, we are part of a church that has wrestled with this issue for decades, guided by actions of our General Assemblies on the matter. Perhaps the most important action was taken by the 195th General Assembly (1983), which addressed abortion in the context of the plight of women who had limited access to medical care during pregnancy, or who did not feel they had the resources to raise a child.

At the center of that approach was the effort to respond to the 1973 decision of the U.S. Supreme Court referred to as Roe v. Wade. It provided a legal framework to guide those trying to make responsible decisions regarding the possible termination of a pregnancy and it affirmed in the strongest terms the constitutional right of a pregnant woman to decide procedures and outcomes that involved her own body.


Broad Street Presbyterian Church has a history of being pro-choice. For years NARAL, the National Abortion Rights Action League, had their Columbus office in our building.

I am a pro-choice pastor.

I have volunteered with The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice ( in Ohio) as an All Options Clergy Counselor for over 25 years. I have talked and sat with women from many churches in the Columbus area, as well as girls and their mothers. I have heard their stories and witnessed their struggle as they have decided how to move forward with the news of an unintended pregnancy.

Our Stated Clerk concludes his letter with these words:

As this matter grows in prominence in the news and possibly within our church communities, may we all be mindful of both the integrity of women and physicians who are at the center of the controversy and may we be more responsible in nurturing the life that is already among us.


After years of listening to women, both in San Diego, California and in Columbus, Ohio, no woman in a congregation I’ve served has come to me to wrestle with this issue.

Which illustrates how private the issue of abortion ultimately is. How personal.


Holy One,

May we honor the generations upon generations of women

who have walked this way before us,

who have carried their feelings and fears…

and kept walking,

through whatever lay ahead of them.


-Written by Rev. Ann Palmerton

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  1. Peggy Reasoner May 5, 2022 at 9:34 am - Reply

    Thank you Ann for your sincere feelings and comments on this subject. Although I have never had to deal with this myself or with my children, I have strong feeling that any women has the right to deal with personal issues involving their own body. No one has the right to try to control what a women does, especially if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.

  2. Christopher Carver May 5, 2022 at 9:36 am - Reply

    Rev. Ann, Thank you.

  3. Melissa Tell May 5, 2022 at 9:43 am - Reply

    Thanks so very much for this!

  4. Betty Lou Stull May 5, 2022 at 9:52 am - Reply

    Once again it feels like the men are not a part of the conception process. Thanks for your wise words, Ann.

  5. Carol Freeland May 5, 2022 at 10:13 am - Reply

    Thank you. I know from experience that no woman/mother makes this decision without pain. May we support whatever decision they make for themselves and their families.

  6. Jane Leiby May 5, 2022 at 10:24 am - Reply

    What a great post. It touched me. Thank you for your efforts.

  7. Shelley Gallant May 5, 2022 at 10:29 am - Reply

    Thank you Ann!

  8. Christiana Heinz May 5, 2022 at 10:35 am - Reply

    Thank you for your words. They are healing in the midst of this raging fire.

  9. Tracy Ross May 5, 2022 at 11:03 am - Reply

    Ann, Thank you!

  10. Allison Pierson May 5, 2022 at 11:05 am - Reply

    Thank you, Ann.

  11. Martha Campbell May 5, 2022 at 11:36 am - Reply

    Ann, Thank you for sharing this. I respect and agree with you. I have also learned that despite a negative ruling by the Supreme Court there are many medical advances that have proved safe for self abortion. To be honest Big Pharma will have a stake in this so it remains to be seen how it all plays out.

  12. Jean Atwood May 5, 2022 at 11:37 am - Reply

    Thank you Ann, In 30+ years years of OB-Gyn practice I can’t think of one incident where this was made without much hand ringing and soul searching. It was never cavalier. There is much judgement and shame from opponents of abortion but sorely lacking is compassion and understanding.

  13. Libby May 5, 2022 at 11:47 am - Reply

    I will try hard to make this as personal and succinct as possible without ranging into highly divisive issues. I had an ectopic pregnancy and was bleeding internally for over two days before we figured out what the problem was. If my doctor had had to go to a board for approval it might have taken too long. Some of the proposed laws forbid abortion even to save the health of the mother. Almost all of the laws forbid abortion in the case of rape or incest. Certainly an 11 year old rape victim’s health is also in danger. There are abortions in the Bible. There will always be abortions. The question is: will those abortions be done in a safe manner?

  14. Pamela Schirner May 5, 2022 at 12:10 pm - Reply

    Having retired from the child welfare arena, I am very aware of these issues and am pro-choice. I have witnessed 11 & 12 year olds becoming pregnant due to incest and neither their bodies or minds are ready for this. Until we solve social, conception and medical availability issues, abortion will unfortunately be necessary in some cases. Thanks Ann for your words and prayers that our leaders will work together to resolve these issues.

  15. Jodi Jarrett May 5, 2022 at 12:24 pm - Reply

    Thank you

  16. Leslie Knott May 5, 2022 at 12:32 pm - Reply

    Thank you, Ann

  17. Courtney Rusoff May 5, 2022 at 12:33 pm - Reply

    Thank you, Ann. “… may we be more responsible in nurturing the life that is already among us.” At the heart of the abortion issue is who controls a woman’s choice. It’s not just about the right to eliminate life or protect it. Quality of life is a crucial element that’s often overlooked when considering whether a woman has a right to terminate a pregnancy. Who among us is willing to step up and take responsibility for the fallout after an unwanted child comes into the world? Especially in the case of incest or rape, who will help the violated woman, and who will raise up a child born of that circumstance? Until we can resolve this equitably, it is simply irresponsible and hypocritical to create a situation that victimizes all people, regardless of whether a person is a Christian or a person of good character.

  18. Lillian V. Richardson May 5, 2022 at 12:34 pm - Reply

    Thank you Ann!

  19. Charlene May 5, 2022 at 12:41 pm - Reply

    Thank you Ann for bringing a calm reflection to this very personal issue. Peace and blessings

  20. Leslie May 5, 2022 at 1:01 pm - Reply

    I agree with everything you said, Ann. I took my first pregnancy test when I was just 12 years old. That was the result of what I have come to call rape, even though it was also non-mutual incest. I remember sitting there with a woman that was not my mother and talking about what I would do. I ended up not being pregnant, thank God. But that I had a choice then remains with me today. SCOTUS is trying to take away some girls’ childhood from them, or what is left of it under whatever the circumstances were that caused the pregnancy. Imagine looking at half the genes of your rapist for the rest of your life because you were denied abortion rights. This is a horror I would not wish on any girl or woman.

    I am proud to have you as my pastor.

  21. Mary Gene Boteler May 5, 2022 at 1:04 pm - Reply

    Thank you, Ann, for this thoughtful
    piece. Like you, I have walked this journey with a number of women—especially sad are those women who long to be pregnant and young women who feel they have to keep s secret for the rest of their lives,. Many times women are repeatedly traumatized by bumper stickers and billboards that proclaim that they have taken a life.

  22. Charlene May 5, 2022 at 1:16 pm - Reply

    Thank you Ann for bringing a calm reflection to a very difficult and personal issue. Blessings and peace

  23. Barbara Blanke May 5, 2022 at 2:00 pm - Reply

    Thank you, Ann. Just because one believes in giving someone “choice” does not mean one is not for “life”. I am both – pro choice and pro life. Without legal choice for abortion, women will be forced into having illegal, possibly unclean, possibly untrained abortions that may result in death. That is not pro life. With choice, one can also choose life and not have an abortion. That’s choice. The other issue with pro life must be pro welfare benefits, and other life giving and sustaining benefits and help from the government where unadopted, poverty stricken children and their parents live.

  24. Myong Kim May 5, 2022 at 2:50 pm - Reply

    Thank you, Ann.

  25. Judy Siehl May 5, 2022 at 3:34 pm - Reply

    Thank you, Ann, and all the others who responded. I fear what will be next if Roe v Wade is overturned.

  26. Rachel May 5, 2022 at 5:46 pm - Reply

    Thank you, Ann. I deeply appreciate your caring words on this difficult topic.

  27. Kelly Krase May 5, 2022 at 6:23 pm - Reply

    Nailed it! Thank you for being YOU!!

  28. Nancy May 5, 2022 at 6:38 pm - Reply

    Thank you, Ann for very thoughtful reflections on a very difficult and personal topic. I find both pride and comfort having you as a pastor.

  29. Brent Alan Burington May 6, 2022 at 8:40 am - Reply

    Thank you. It is times like this that make words of wisdom all the more important.

  30. Margaret Williams May 6, 2022 at 11:24 am - Reply

    Thank you, Ann for your words of wisdom. It makes me angy to see all the sell righteous men who are pro life. Why should they have the right to tell a woman what to do with her body? Going back to back alley abortions is unnthinkable.

  31. Rev. Dr. Deborah Lindsay May 6, 2022 at 1:30 pm - Reply

    Beautifully said, Rev. Ann. Your reflection was forwarded to me by a member of your church. I couldn’t agree with your more. Thank you for a caring, courageous, and grace-filled word.

  32. Rosemary Tolliver May 7, 2022 at 11:11 am - Reply

    Thank you all — this reminds me that it is worthwhile to return to this blog and consider the thoughtful comments that it inspires.

  33. Victoria Powers May 7, 2022 at 1:38 pm - Reply

    Thank you for this tremendous reflection, Ann. These are wise, helpful words.

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