January 22, 1973 and Today

As a woman, as a feminist, and as a pastor, I am disgusted, saddened, and angered that women’s rights to their own bodies continue to be threatened in the US.

I care about all women and believe everyone is entitled to menstrual management solutions. Menstrual Health is the basis from which women and girls will make other choices for their health and wellness, including Reproductive Health.

I am a pastor at the Matthew 25 Presbyterian Church which means we choose to focus on dismantling structural racism and ending systemic poverty. Access to healthcare, especially for women is dependent upon their race and socio-economic status. This is not right or just.

I support the Women’s Reproductive Health Act.

Roe v. Wade was a landmark legal decision issued on January 22, 1973, in which the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Texas statute banning abortion, effectively legalizing the procedure across the United States. The court held that a woman’s right to an abortion was implicit in the right to privacy protected by the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.” (History.com)

“After the Roe v. Wade decision, politicians proceeded to systematically chip away at the right to abortion by creating barriers to actually access abortion.

In 1992, in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the Supreme Court reaffirmed the core holdings of Roe — but adopted a new “undue burden” standard that allowed states to impose even more restrictions. Since 1973, states have enacted more than 1,336 abortion restrictions. The worst year on record? 2021.

A new abortion law in Texas, S.B. 8, has rendered Roe nearly meaningless for the vast majority of patients in that state. Although Roeremains the law of the land, S.B. 8 bans abortion after six weeks of pregnancy — before many people even know they’re pregnant. This ban makes abortion access a right in name only.” (Planned Parenthood)

Abortion is a racial justice issue. Anti-abortion restrictions will disproportionally harm black women. “attacks on abortion access have a long history rooted in white supremacy.” (ACLU)

“The political fight against anti-abortion legislation is in fact a class battle, and the reality is that abortion is only illegal for poor women. Women with resources can always interrupt their unwanted pregnancies. Either they know a doctor who performs medical abortions for an exorbitant price, and they have the resources to travel to a place where abortion is legal, or they have the means to buy an abortion pill in their own country or elsewhere.

Restricting access to safe abortions keeps poor women in poverty, perpetuates the cycle that prevents them from social mobility and allows wealth to remain in the hands of the rich, particularly white men.” (Equality Times)

As a woman, as a feminist, and as a pastor, I am disgusted, saddened, and angered that women’s rights to their own bodies continue to be threatened by people who say they are acting according to their Christian values.  Just to be clear, what’s happening in Texas (and in other states) is a political act, not a christian act. Christians are divided on the issue of abortion.

The article in Equality Times By Manuella Libardi reminds me of the Matthew 25 Presbyterian Church focus on dismantling structural racism and ending systemic poverty.

Below are important points for Presbyterians (PCUSA).

According to the Presbyterian Mission Agency website, “Presbyterians have struggled with the issue of abortion for more than 30 years, beginning in 1970 when the General Assembly, the national governing body of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), declared that, “The artificial or induced termination of a pregnancy is a matter of careful ethical decision of the patient . . . and therefore should not be restricted by law . . .” (Minutes of the 182nd General Assembly (1970), United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., p. 89)” Abortion/Reproductive Choice Issues Presbyterian (U.S.A.) Mission Agency

In 1992 the highest governing body of the PC(U.S.A.) met and of the many topics they gathered around were abortion and reproductive rights.  This is my favorite quote from the 204th General Assembly which took place in 1992: “The Christian community must be concerned about and address the circumstances that bring a woman to consider abortion as the best available option. Poverty, unjust societal realities, sexism, racism, and inadequate supportive relationships may render a woman virtually powerless to choose freely.” (Minutes of the 204th General Assembly (1992), Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), pp. 367-368, 372-374)

In 2012, the 220th General Assembly put out a resolution on reproductive health affirming the 1970 and 1992 statements and adding an up-dated rationale.  You should read the entire document for yourself, but I will try to summarize the main points.  Presbyterians understand that deciding what to do about an unplanned pregnancy is difficult and should be decided by individuals and not legislated by government.  Those seeking and those providing abortions should not be criminalized.  No laws should be enacted that Defund or criminalize family planning services.  Instead, we should advocate for access to education and health care for everyone.  We believe that education, health care, and of course, love and support will actually reduce the amount of unwanted pregnancies.  Abortions should be safe, legal, and rare. 

In May 2019 the stated clerk put out this response to Alabama’s antiabortion legislation. This document quotes a section of the Roe v. Wade decision to show that it “not a blanket endorsement of abortion as is sometimes implied by opponents.” The document concluded by centering the women and doctors at the heart of abortion decisions.

I appreciate the way my denomination has talked about abortion issues.

The other organization I serve, Days for Girls does not take political sides in hot button issues like abortion, but I believe the work DfGI does in educating women and girls about their bodies (especially menstruation) and providing them with menstrual management solutions is the basis from which women and girls will make other choices for their health and wellness. Menstrual Health lays the groundwork for reproductive health.

I am a pastor at Matthew 25 church and the leader of the Pittsburgh Chapter of Days for Girls and I support the Women’s Reproductive Health Act.

WHPA works toward reproductive, economic, and racial justice.

The elimination of abortion restrictions is central to Reproductive Justice and the human right to maintain bodily autonomy and to live in safe and sustainable communities. People hurt most by abortion restrictions are those already facing barriers to accessing health care and who are bearing the brunt of the pandemic and economic crisis—particularly Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC), women, and those working to make ends meet.” (The Women’s Reproductive Health Act)

Gif found @ppact Planned Parenthood #BansOffOurBodies

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