I am here today, as a faith leader in our community, to state that our God is a loving and caring God – who feels our pain and whose teachings cause us to believe that a woman has the right to make her own choices about her body.
We are all here today because we have struggled, prayed and debated with one another, with ourselves and our souls and come to the conclusion that we believe that this proposed legislation that effectively outlaws safe and legal abortion would do more harm than good and that access to safe and legal birth control and abortion services are a reflection of a just and moral society.
Despite rhetoric which labels anyone who supports Choice as anti-God, anti religion and anti humanity, we know that our support of a woman’s right to choose is based on our faith in God and the ability of human beings, created in the image of God, to make important decisions about health, safety and wholeness.
Despite the attempts of those who disagree with us to paint us as evil, we are not “pro-abortion.”
The decision to terminate a pregnancy is very difficult and painful. It should never be taken lightly. And yet, we also feel, passionately that such a decision should be made by individual women – in consultation with family (whenever possible), or with clergy, or counselors and, ultimately with God. We do not believe that Government, Church, synagogue or mosque should be placed in the position of legislating or interfering in the most intimate aspects of our lives.
There are those who have struggled with the issue of abortion and, after deliberate and careful analysis – after much prayer and reflection – have come to the conclusion that they cannot support a woman’s right to choose. While I, personally, do not agree with their conclusions, I respect their deliberation and I feel that the process of dialogue and discussion is vitally important. We can agree to disagree- honoring the process that has brought us to our own particular conclusions. But for too many – the fact that we disagree on an important issue means that the other must be demonized and marginalized. This, my friends, is unforgivable.
We are here today because we are disgusted by the hypocrisy that we witness on a daily basis that justifies the creation of laws that, on the one hand, prohibit a woman from terminating an unwanted pregnancy, and on the other hand, make it difficult for that same woman to receive proper healthcare, nutrition or childcare once that unwanted pregnancy comes to term.
Throughout history, demagogues have always looked for easy targets– creating demons that represent the evils of society. Recently, we have seen how women - especially poor women - have once again become a favored target. We have seen how Fundamentalist, conservative legislators have tried to undo decades of progress in women’s health and bring us back to a much darker time.
This legislation will only serve to increase the divisions within our society. Our task today is to find ways to build bridges – not demonize honest citizens faced with difficult choices that should not be legislated by our government.