Faith leaders say access to reproductive health care is a religious value
WASHINGTON, DC — The Planned Parenthood Federation of America Clergy Advocacy Board today condemned efforts by some state and national leaders to use the COVID-19 response to halt abortions. This call from faith leaders to support access to reproductive health care follows the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals’ use of an extraordinary measure to allow Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to drastically restrict essential, time-sensitive abortion procedures. Planned Parenthood and our partners are fighting in court in Texas, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Alabama to protect access.
Statement from The Rev. Marci Auld Glass, Planned Parenthood Federation of America Clergy Advocacy Board Chair and a Presbyterian minister in Boise, Idaho:
“As a pastor who often accompanies members of my community through personal struggle, I know that individuals should always be assured the right to follow their consciences and make their own decisions about their health care, including abortion. Anxieties about how so many will provide and care for themselves and their families are already so high. In this moment of crisis, people of faith must stand together and demand that politicians stop using this pandemic to gamble with women’s health, lives, and well-being by denying them access to abortion care.”
For more than two decades, the Clergy Advocacy Board has worked with Planned Parenthood at the national and state levels to further reproductive rights and freedom for all people, building on a history of faith leaders’ activism in support of reproductive health care. Its members, who are dedicated clergy and faith leaders from different denominations and communities throughout the U.S., lead a national effort to increase public awareness of the theological and moral basis for reproductive health.
The full statement from the Clergy Advocacy Board is below.
Statement of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America Clergy Advocacy Board:
“The Clergy Advocacy Board calls upon people of faith to speak out in this moment of crisis and affirm that access to abortion care is a religious value. Every person in our country has the right to make decisions about their reproductive lives, informed by their own culture, faith tradition, conscience, and community values. Americans should not fear that politicians will take advantage of a pandemic to impose their own beliefs on others. We condemn all efforts to put the health and well-being of pregnant people at risk by delaying or denying access to abortion care.
“As leaders in our communities, we know how critical it is that our neighbors and friends can receive the essential health care that they, in their hearts, know is right for them. Many of us serve as pastoral counselors and chaplains to families and individuals. People invite us into their lives during the most challenging moments and the hardest medical decisions. Our experience leads us to protect access to reproductive health care, especially during this national medical emergency. We care about community health and want to ensure that basic health care is available in our localities.
“The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbates the vulnerabilities faced by a disturbing percentage of our population. So many are already struggling to make ends meet, to get the care they need, and to plan for their families and their futures. This is especially true for our black and brown neighbors, our refugee and immigrant neighbors, our unhoused neighbors, our LGBTQ+ neighbors, those facing domestic violence, and all who face the burden of inequality. Therefore, we call on national, state, and local leaders to do everything necessary to provide health care coverage to all who need it, regardless of their ability to pay, and that must include essential reproductive health care.”
Planned Parenthood is one of the nation’s leading providers and advocates of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.