Request for Discernment Regarding Reproductive Health and Abortion

Every two years the Friends Commitee on National Legislation (FCNL) distributes questions to ask which legislative policies Quaker meetings and churches support. All of these are collected, and FCNL’s Policy Committee distills those responses into the legislative priorities that will determine what issues FCNL’s lobbyists will focus on as they work with Congress.

After the Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, overturning Roe v. Wade, the Policy Committee of FCNL’s General Committee heard concern from Friends around the country about FCNL’s lack of position on the issue of abortion. 

FCNL’s Policy Committee is seeking the help of Friends in discerning what FCNL should say about reproductive health care in its policy statement.

Queries for Discernment on FCNL’s Policy on Reproductive Health Care

“Friends seek to establish a way of being in the world that grows out of and embodies prayer, worshipful listening for the whisper of divine guidance, and seasoning in the community of faith.”

Margery Post Abbott, A Theological Perspective on Quaker Lobbying

FCNL’s Policy Statement, The World We Seek, serves as our foundational document, outlining FCNL’s broad policy positions.

The statement currently reads:

III.2.6: Health Care. Universal access to affordable, effective, comprehensive health care is a right and is necessary to allow all people to fulfill their potential. Comprehensive health care includes primary, acute, and long-term care, including prescription drugs, as well as mental health and substance abuse treatment. To ensure access, health services should be provided where an individual’s needs can best be met. Our country can only maintain and improve the physical and mental health of its population with affordable health care that covers the entire life span, from prenatal to end-of-life care. Public health services, which protect us all, require robust federal support.

III.2.7. NOTE: Members of the Society of Friends are not in unity on abortion issues. Therefore, FCNL takes no position and does not act either for or against abortion legislation. On occasion, FCNL may appeal to lawmakers not to use the abortion debate to paralyze action on other legislation.”

FCNL’s Policy Committee invites your Quaker discernment group to focus on the issue of reproductive health care, including abortion, and advise us on whether FCNL should revise our policy statement.

Queries and structure to support discernment:

  • What does reproductive health care look like in the world that you and your community seek?
  • How are the Quaker values and testimonies relevant to the issue of abortion?
  • Should the FCNL Policy Statement be revised on the issues of abortion and reproductive health and abortion?
  • If so, what should the Policy Statement say?

Frequently Asked Questions

Guidelines for Group Discernment

Whether you are gathering in person, online, or in a hybrid format, we hope that your discernment will be spiritually grounded and a result of group conversations. These discussions may take many forms, including discernment by a committee, an informal group, or a First Day discussion topic. Some meetings or churches may adopt a minute expressing the sense of their group, although this is not a requirement.

You may want to prepare for discernment by reading the pamphlet, A Guide to Dialogue About Abortion. Tools such as this can help your conversation honor the complexity and urgency surrounding this topic.

To allow for the inclusion of a diversity of voices, we hope you will include people of different ages, backgrounds, and lived experiences in your discernment. Please identify at least one person who will submit your group’s responses.

Supporting Friends’ Discernment on Reproductive Health

FCNL’s Policy Committee has invited Friends to listen deeply in their communities around issues of reproductive health care, including abortion. Friends are invited to share the results of their discernment and to offer guidance on what FCNL should say about these issues in its policy statement.

Friends hold complex and nuanced perspectives on these topics. Sometimes, conversations about abortion and reproductive health can evoke strong emotions and reactions, forming polarized “sides” that don’t leave room for empathy, compassion, and understanding. How can we hold these difficult conversations in ways that prevent harm and support spiritual discernment?

On March 22 at 6:30 p.m. EST, join members of FCNL’s Policy Committee and Friends who are organizing these sessions for perspectives and advice on engaging your Quaker meeting or church in discernment to guide FCNL’s policy going forward.

When you sign up to attend, please share questions and topics you would like addressed. Please note: this event is intended to support people organizing or participating in discernment in their communities. It will not itself be a discernment or listening session.


  • Moderator: Ebby Luvaga, Clerk of FCNL’s Policy Committee
  • Genie Stowers, Member of FCNL’s Policy Committee
  • Lauren Brownlee, FCNL’s Associate General Secretary for Community and Culture

ZOOM information

MARCH 22, 2023, 6:30 – 7:30 PM EDT |  ONLINE

Join the Zoom video conference online or via telephone. Time: March 22nd, 6:30 p.m. EDT.

Go to:

Or call: US: +1 301 715 8592. Then enter the Meeting ID: 820 2927 5353#
You shouldn’t need this, but just in case: Meeting ID: 820 2927 5353Passcode: 273787
We will send you this information to join the event via email as well.
If you do not receive a confirmation email presently, please check your spam folders.
Questions? Reach out to Clare Carter (

Reproductive Justice

Last May I was honored to attend and take photos at the Rally for Productive Justice for my friends.

The draft to end Roe and Casey was leaked just two days before the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Relatives (aka, Missing and Murdered Women and Girls). We are honoring this day by uplifting radical solidarity within all communities affected by colonial violence when body sovereignty is stolen from us.

Join our coalition of organizations and grassroots activists for a rally to demand abortion access, which plays a huge role in ending the MMIR crisis. Lack of access increases violence and health disparities in BIPOC, Disabled, LGBTQIA+, and Two-Sprit communities. Learn more from speakers and crowd testimony on how this affects these communities and take action on a wider scope than just abortion. We must abolish white supremacist and christian institutions that perpetuate colonial harm to oppress those that don’t fall into their manifest destiny paradigm.

Thank you to the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence for lighting the bridge and amphitheater red on May 5th in honor of MMIR Day of Awareness! The bridge will also be lit red on May 6th for our event!

ASL provided.
LiveStreamed to this page.

This event was organized by:
– Iowa Coalition for Collective Change
– Great Plains Action Society
– The Disability Caucus of the Iowa Democratic Party
– Iowa CCI
– Des Moines BLM
– Sierra Club Beyond Coal
– Deaf Dome
– The Progressive Caucus of the Iowa Democratic Party
– Iowa Abortion Access Fund
– One Iowa


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