Why My Faith Calls Me to Defend Women’s Reproductive Rights
A recent On Faith column, ‘A Prayer for Abortion?’, isn’t a full accounting of how people of faith consider women’s health issues.
As the chair of the Planned Parenthood Clergy Advisory Board, I work with faith leaders from all different traditions and backgrounds. We strongly believe that women and men are moral agents, able to make their own decisions about their reproductive needs.
I also understand that for many women, abortion is a deeply personal and complex decision, often influenced by their faith and background.
My faith plays an integral part in my own thoughts and feelings about abortion. Over time, these feelings have transformed from judgment to love as I matured in my spirituality.
My mother, a secretary in a maternity ward, used to tell me stories about women dying from complicated pregnancies because they were told that it was a sin to have an abortion, even if it meant saving their lives.
Our sacred texts and traditions teach us that women have the right to take care of their bodies. So when I graduated Yale Divinity School in 1991, I made the decision to support women as a core part of my ministry.
I took a job as a counselor in an independent clinic that performed abortions. I remember the daily protests outside my office window. For many women coming to the clinic, it was a difficult situation to face.
It pains me now to hear that many women across the country are facing similar situations when they need access to health care. It seems like every day lawmakers are trying to limit access to care, putting women’s health at risk.