First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis (FUS) has taken a stand for our values of religious freedom and reproductive rights, in the exact cultural moment when the abortion bans in other states are decimating the rights of women and families. On Wednesday, May 29, we announced our participation in a legal challenge to the mandates that restrict abortion care in Minnesota. Specifically, FUS is challenging the law mandating that fetal tissue be disposed of by burial or cremation. This law assumes a level of personhood for fetal tissue, the result of abortion or miscarriage, that is not shared by the majority of our members nor is it supported by our theology. Such a mandate, unnecessary from a medical or public health perspective, is an attempt to add shame, stigma, and cost to persons seeking abortion care or who experience miscarriage. We say this has to stop.
In addition, FUS has signed on as a co-sponsor of the statewide public education campaign, UnRestrict Minnesota. Most Minnesotans don’t know that anti-abortion lawmakers in our state have been quietly passing laws that restrict abortion access, intimidate providers and patients, and increase costs. The Minnesota Constitution and Supreme Court rulings guarantee and protect people’s right to decide to end a pregnancy and to get abortion care, without the government trying to influence that decision. As attacks to safe, legal, essential reproductive health care sweep through many other states across the country, now is the time to respect our state constitution, respect women and equality, and protect all of our rights and freedoms. FUS members and friends will be asked to share the UnRestrict Minnesota message via social media and in your various networks. You can find more information at unrestrictmn.org.
“The FUS Board of Trustees carefully considered the risks and the benefits, how being a part of this lawsuit aligns with our mission and the resources it would take to support this effort,” said Board Chair Holly Anderson. “In the end, we unanimously voted in favor of participation in the suit. We asked that two ad-hoc committees be formed, one focused on communications internally and with external audiences and the other focused on digital and physical security. We also offered Revs. Kelli, Jim, and David our support as the case moves forward.”
In these days of rising authoritarianism, it is rare that an organization such as ours has an opportunity to live out our values by challenging a state mandate. We are humanists who are committed to religious freedom and human rights, and we have a proud history of promoting reproductive health, rights, and justice. Let us continue to make the change we need for a more just, compassionate, and peaceful world.