know about OPINION: In the community of faith, understanding reproductive rights is not a sin | News
Two weeks ago, I had the honor of joining a small number of faith leaders and elected officials in an intimate conversation with Vice President kamala harris about the possibility that Roe v. Wade will soon be overturned by the Supreme Court. Harris has addressed this issue and says that she is very concerned about the potential impact of the Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade from 1973, which aired on Friday (June 24) to millions of women across the country.
As a religious leader and pastor, I was honored to be in that space as a person who speaks on behalf of women’s reproductive rights as an expression of my faith, not in spite of my faith. The myth is that people of faith do not support abortion rights; In fact, according to Pew researchMore than half of the major religious traditions in the US support a woman’s right to choose and exercise autonomy over her body.
The main reproductive rights concerns for women in my community are the additional risks, inequalities and harms that women who are already dealing with a large burden will have to bear if they are forced to carry pregnancies to term. The added burden will be a threat to your physical health, your financial situation, and/or your mental health.
When a woman is in the place of deciding whether an abortion is the path she needs or wants to take, she is already dealing with a level of risk, inequity, and potential harm. No one can predict how this shifting legal terrain will ultimately play out for women and their families when these burdens increase and no real assistance is offered to women in states where political powers are eager to end all access to abortion. regardless of the consequences.
This is why the most accurate way to describe my perspective is both pro-choice and pro-life. My notion of being pro-life extends beyond concern for the fetus to include the life and well-being of the mother as well. The tragedy of this movement to end women’s access to safe abortion is that a woman’s life as an autonomous person is being completely ignored. In a post-Roe world, she is simply a baby-making machine, and her mental, emotional, physical, and financial well-being are irrelevant, when those parts of her life are crucial to raising a child.
The additional alarm that has been raised in our community as we watch this movement to unseat Roe is the racism that lurks beneath the superficial piety used to justify Roe’s unseat, which is of particular concern to black women.
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To be sure, efforts to preserve white supremacy over black bodies always have negative implications for blacks. In this case, a movement to protect Black women is required, particularly around Black women’s mental, economic, and physical health. After Roe, this will mean protecting Black women from unsafe abortion providers, who tend to prey on people in low-income communities. Unsafe abortions are among the leading causes of maternal mortality and morbidity, according to the World Health Organization.
As a pastor, I often conclude my sermon with a celebration, even when it comes to a text that can be challenging, the Gospel is, at the end of the day, good news. But I’m struggling to find some way to turn Roe’s potential annulment into good news. To rob a woman of the right to have autonomy over her own body is an injustice. And injustice is something that my faith informs me to talk about and talk about. As the Book of Isaiah says: “cry and do not spare.”
The Rev. Dr. Najuma Smith-Pollard is deputy director for community and public engagement at USC’s Center for Religion and Civic Culture. She also directs programming for the Cecil Murray Center for Community Engagement, which is located at CRCC.