Melanie Bui Larsen
Director of Comms & Outreach
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MaY 19, 2020
FAITH LEADERS FROM ACROSS COUNTRY TO HOST BLESSING CEREMONY
FOR ABORTION CLINIC PROVIDERS AND STAFF
Ceremony to Bless and Affirm Reproductive Care During COVID-19 Pandemic
Washington, D.C. – The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC), a leading interfaith national advocacy group that is pro-faith, pro-family and pro-choice, is joining with Ohio Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, Just Texas: Faith Voices for Reproductive Justice, National Abortion Federation, and Planned Parenthood Federation of America to host a private virtual ceremony to bless and affirm reproductive health care and those who provide it.
The ceremony will take place virtually on Tuesday, May 19 at 3:00 pm EST, when spiritual leaders of different faiths will gather to give thanks for the steadfast commitment of abortion providers and staff and the essential health care they continue to provide in health centers and clinics across the country in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Immediately following the blessing will be a public-facing rally hosted on Facebook Live for pro-choice faith leaders to share why performing this blessing is critical at this moment, to uplift the need for abortion care access in the midst of COVID-19, and to share stories of pregnant individuals seeking abortion care.
As many of us are cheering the incredible heroism and sacrifice of health care providers and other essential workers during this pandemic, abortion health care providers and staff are met with condemning protests and exploitative legislative bans.
Abortion is essential health care that many pregnant people need, and this pandemic is making access to abortion even more critical as people face the devastation of unemployment, illness, increased violence at home, and other difficult life circumstances. Because of new abortion restrictions in several states, pregnant people have to travel great distances, at greater cost and greater risk, to get the health care they need. This is an unfair and imbalanced health care system.
“Abortion is not only time-sensitive essential health care, but also a sacred and holy decision that enables families and communities to thrive. We celebrate all the staff and abortion providers who serve their communities with dignity and compassion and honor them this day — and always,” said Elaina Ramsey, Executive Director of Ohio Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.
The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice launched clinic blessings beginning in 2016, in part to express solidarity with staff and patients, many of whom risk life and limb to make dignity-affirming decisions about their reproductive health. As of this writing, RCRC has held unique clinic blessing ceremonies in Ohio; Texas; Washington, D.C.; and Maryland. The blessing on Tuesday, May 19 will be the first national virtual blessing of abortion providers and staff.
“Rooted in our shared faith values of love, justice, and compassion, we stand with abortion providers, clinic staff, and their patients in need of care as they navigate new challenges, additional barriers, and intensified harassment during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are grateful for their steadfast commitment to providing essential health care in these times,” said the Rev. Katey Zeh, an author, minister, and the interim CEO of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.
The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice is a broad-based, national, interfaith movement that brings the moral force of religion to protect and advance reproductive health, choice, rights and justice through education, prophetic witness, pastoral presence and advocacy.