Religious leaders respond to Roe v. Wade ruling

NOW: Religious leaders respond to Roe v. Wade ruling

WISCONSIN (CBS 58) -- The abortion issue crept into talks over the weekend at various places of faith. 

From Islam to Catholicism, Judaism to the evangelical community, the abortion ruling has brought passionate feelings front and center.

There's a separation of church and state, but many religious leaders have chosen to talk about the abortion issue.

"An unborn fetus is not fully -- is not fully a human being within Jewish understanding," said Cantor Martin Levson of congregation Emanu-El of Waukesha.

The Jewish faith teaches it's more important to protect the life of the mother.

"The pregnant person should always be prioritized over the fetus," said Sheila Katz, CEO of the National Council of Jewish Women.

Donors over the weekend added $225,000 to the Jewish Fund for Abortion. The Catholic Church takes the opposite viewpoint about when life begins.

"We believe that life really does begin at conception, that something happens at conception that's totally mysterious. This is where this life begins and we need to do everything we possibly can to protect it from the womb to the tomb," said Father Jordan Berghouse of St. Theresa Catholic Church in Eagle.

Evangelical Lutherans have a similar viewpoint.

"He has also, in his commandments, instructed us not to murder, and we also understand that abortion is a sin like other things that you would call a sin -- cheating, lying, abortion is in that category also," said Kathy Gates of Tomorrow's Choice Family Resource Center, an Evangelical Lutheran organization.

"In the LCA we don't have any stance of wanting to see criminalization. We think that's the wrong direction to go.  I would love to see our country tackle the abortion question by following the example of countries that have very low abortion rates, and those happen to be western European countries that have strong sex education for students, have readily accessible contraceptives for everybody," said Rev. Jonathan Barker of Grace Lutheran Church in Kenosha.

As the abortion issue rages on, faith communities are recognizing that women are right now crying out for help, and no matter what they believe about when life begins and whether abortion is a sin or not, all faith communities are organizing to provide services.

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