Prayers & Sermons
We're Pro-Choice Because We Have A Vision
The Reverend Dr. Katherine Hancock Ragsdale, former chair of the Coalition board, told the 1 million-plus pro-choice marchers at the March for Women's Lives that clergy stand with them- "not in spite of our faith but because of it." These are her remarks:
We're pro-choice because we know that the Bible and any faith worthy of the name do not give simple and easy answers to complex and difficult questions. They don't promise to spare us from making tough decisions. They just promise that we won't have to face those choices alone.
We're pro-choice because we know that our faith cannot answer the question of when a fetus becomes a person. We also know that the whole question of fetal personhood is a disingenuous, and often malicious, attempt to distract us from the real issue-which is that the woman is a person. She is a person endowed by God, the U.S. Constitution, and common sense and decency with rights and responsibilities that she must exercise to the best of her ability, using her own best judgment.
And while our various religious traditions may teach various things about when, if, and how we should sacrifice ourselves for others, no one-not partner, priest, or politician-no one gets to decide what is, or is not, an appropriate sacrifice for someone else to make.
We're pro-choice because we have a vision.
We have plenty to march against-plenty to be outraged by:
violence at our clinics, onerous burdens placed on the poorest,
youngest, and sickest among us, the atrocity of outlawing medical
procedures and so threatening the lives of women who are already
contending with shattered dreams.
No one with a heart and a conscience can fail to be outraged. But outrage burns fast. It is a powerful force but a finite one. To sustain us we need a vision -a vision that reminds of us the values and dreams that make us who we are and that brought us here in the first place.
I dream of a world where every person has full access to all the health care they require -- provided conveniently and compassionately.
I dream of a world where people don't grasp at the ridiculous and faithless notion that there is, or can be, a rule for every occasion and that knowing and enforcing enough rules will save us from the difficult work of making complex ethical decisions.
I dream of a world that values cooperation over competition, compassion
over punishment, respect over control, and the dazzling diversity
of creation over conformity.
I dream of a world that not only protects a woman's right to choose-but celebrates it.
And so we march.
But we march also to support you.
You know who you are:
Providers who have to wear Kevlar to go to work,
put your careers on the line to do the right thing,
refuse to give up and go back,
and women who wrestle with these
decisions and make the choices that you need to make to honor your
own futures or to protect your families.
And you do it all while under assault from the abuse heaped upon you by those who think they have the right to decide the course of other people's lives.
And in your heads you know they're wrong, but sometimes, I suspect, your hearts get bruised anyway.
So we're here to tell you-every one of you-how much we respect and honor you for the work you do and the decisions you make.
And so we march with you-a massive, living prayer for that just and safe world that lives already in the heart of God, that shimmers on the horizon of our hope... and from which we will never turn back!
God bless you all - today and always.