Dear Allies and Supporters:
This is a time of much transition at the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. We bid farewell to our leader of the past fourteen years, Reverend Carlton Veazey. We are confident that he will continue his lifelong commitment to social justice, and that his retirement will be an active one. It is a time to honor and reflect upon Rev. Veazey’s many contributions to RCRC, including his assistance in developing the organization’s new Strategic Plan. You will undoubtedly see elements of the Plan emerging in our work moving forward, but here are some highlights:
- The Council of Governors will be reconstituted as an Advisory Council, with a more active role in advancing the goals of RCRC, such as organizing denominational members to participate in RCRC’s campaigns and identifying issues where RCRC’s voice could make a meaningful contribution.
- A broader and more diverse membership structure, which will seek to build the grassroots network of RCRC with individuals and congregations. The Coalition will also maintain its longstanding denominational members.
- Most importantly, RCRC will become an organization committed to advancing Reproductive Justice. This means that the organization’s mission will include supporting the rights of individuals to have the children they want and to raise the children they have with adequate support, in addition to supporting the right of access to family planning and safe, legal abortion care. This is an explicit commitment to addressing the social justice issues that impede reproductive freedom, including racism, sexism, classism, homophobia and able-ism.
We are currently in the process of looking for another Chief Executive Officer to bring his or her creativity, passion and intellect to effectuating the new Strategic Plan. Our search committee - comprised of Board Members, Advisory Council Members and other stakeholders - knows that it has an incredibly important task, especially at this critical time in the Reproductive Justice movement and in this organization.
The day-to-day operations are still being ably handled by Sonya Crudup, RCRC’s Chief Operating Officer. In the meantime, our extremely hardworking staff continues to advance our goals:
- In January, our members contributed a diverse faith perspective to the debate surrounding the final decision of the Department of Health and Human Services to keep a narrow conscience exemption to the contraceptive coverage requirement in the Affordable Care Act. Our letter from clergy supporting the decision was written about in the Huffington Post and collected more than 3,300 comments in two days.
- RCRC participated in the Virtual March the week of January 22nd, one of the many activities during Trust Women Week to celebrate the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. We had the sixth largest response of the more than fifty organizations.
- Our Kentucky affiliate successfully organized the faith community to help defeat the merger of the University of Louisville Hospital and Catholic Health Initiatives. The merger, rejected by the Governor in late December, would have ended tubal ligation services and abortion training at the Hospital.
- And in November, RCRC organized a phone bank with NARAL to educate Mississippi voters on why they should oppose Initiative 26, which would have amended the state constitution to grant the full rights of personhood to a fertilized embryo. More than 55% of voters rejected the amendment.
We know that we have a formidable task ahead of us, to both hold onto our gains and to defeat the seemingly endless efforts to deny individuals their reproductive freedom. We ask for your prayers of encouragement in our work and your support at this exciting time of transition.
Peace and Blessings to You!
Vice-Chair of the RCRC Board of Directors