Delegates Filler-Corn and McQuinn Launch Interfaith Reproductive Coalition | Richmond Free Press

know about Delegates Filler-Corn and McQuinn Launch Interfaith Reproductive Coalition | Richmond Free Press

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Two Democratic members of the House of Delegates seek to bring together Christians, Jews, Muslims and other people of faith who support abortion.

The purpose: to bring them together to challenge the efforts of others who seek to use faith to restrict or ban abortions that are now legal in Virginia.

The organizers of the fledgling Virginia Interfaith Coalition for Reproductive Freedom are Richmond delegate Delores L. McQuinn, a Baptist minister, and Fairfax delegate Eileen Filler-Corn, a former Speaker of the House and the only Jewish member of the Assembly. General.

The lawmakers want to prevent faith-based support for abortion from being trashed by those who say the only way to be religious is to oppose a woman’s right to choose.

“What about our religious rights?” said Deputy Filler-Corn, who is deeply concerned about the attempt to “impose the narrow views of one religious group over all others when it comes to reproductive health.”

The two lawmakers launched the nascent effort to use religion to fight the anti-abortion crusade last Friday at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, located across 9th Street from the State Capitol.

Delegates McQuinn and Filler-Corn were joined by four other Christian ministers and a Muslim activist in an attempt to create a counterweight to evangelical Christians and Catholics for whom ending abortion is an article of faith.

“Now more than ever, we must come together as people of faith from all walks of life to speak out in support of the reproductive health rights of Virginians,” said Delegate McQuinn. “We refuse to sit by in silence as women are tried to be relegated to second-class citizen status once again.

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“We women,” she added, “are capable of making decisions for our own reproductive health care in the best interest of our families.”

Whether the organization attracts more followers remains an open question.

At this point, the coalition appears to be largely in name only, with no significant ties to congregations or denominations that support abortion rights, of which there are many.

The two delegates launched the group a few months before the next General Assembly session, when new attempts to restrict legal abortion in Virginia are now expected, with the support of Republican Gov. Glenn A. Youngkin.

But the real test of his organizing ability will come next year when there will be new elections for the 100-member House and 40-member State Senate. Democrats currently have a slim majority in the Senate and can still block anti-abortion laws. Losing one or two seats in 2023 could give abortion opponents an edge in both chambers.

State legislatures now have the final say on abortion rights as a result of a recent US Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v. Wade Act of 1972, which allowed abortions up to 24 weeks across the country.

Others who participated in the group’s launch include Dr. MarQuita Carmichael, assistant campus pastor at Virginia Union University; Dr. Janet K. Copeland, music minister at St. John’s Baptist Church; Dr. Lacette Cross, pastor of Restoration Fellowship RVA; Dr. April M. Eikerenkoetter, associate minister at St. Paul Baptist Church; and Shabina Shahnawaz, a Muslim educator and activist.