Throughout our eight decades of service to South Texas, many religious leaders and congregations have embraced and supported our mission. For them, empowering women with low incomes through health care and information is a way to practice compassion, charity, and love.
In 1939, our very first year of operations, Rev. Everett H. Jones, an Episcopal priest, and Rabbi Ephraim Frisch, who led Temple Beth-El served on our inaugural board.
Jones, who was consecrated Bishop of West Texas in 1943, also served on the clinic’s ministerial advisory board in the 1940s and 1950s. Other members of the ministerial advisory board included Rev. George Mauze of First Presbyterian Church, Rabbi David Jacobson of Temple Beth-El, and Episcopal minister Rev. Samuel O. Capers.
Local clergy also provided services for patients in the clinic’s early years, offering classes called “Education for marriage” for young brides-to-be.
Ministers of the Methodist Church helped open Planned Parenthood chapters throughout South Texas in the 1960s. Rev. John Wesley Platt, pastor of the First Methodist Church in Brownsville, led a group of forward-thinking citizens to open the first Planned Parenthood clinic in the Lower Rio Grande Valley in 1966.
Over the years, religious leaders from different denominations have continued to serve on the board of Planned Parenthood South Texas.
Faith-based organizations have also supported our work financially. Methodist Healthcare Ministries has partnered with Planned Parenthood South Texas to provide life-changing, life-saving health care in San Antonio and the Rio Grande Valley for more than a decade. Valley Baptist Legacy Foundation is an invaluable partner in our work in Cameron County. Temple Beth-El, St. Luke’s Lutheran Health Ministries, and the First Unitarian Universalist Church, among others, have awarded grants to Planned Parenthood South Texas to support family planning, cervical cancer prevention and other services.
Across the state and country, religious leaders are becoming more vocal about the importance of supporting women’s reproductive health care and rights.
Earlier this month, Just Texas, a project of the Texas Freedom Network, released an open letter signed by more than 170 clergy and faith leaders across the state who oppose efforts to pass abortion bans in Texas towns. “No single religious voice can speak for all faith traditions on abortion, nor should the government take sides on religious differences,” the letter reads. “People making reproductive decisions must have the right to apply or reject the principles of their own faith without legal restrictions.”
Can We Talk... about Faith and Feminism?
Want to learn more about the intersection of faith and reproductive rights?
On March 24, Planned Parenthood South Texas will host a Can We Talk? forum on Faith & Feminism. The panel discussion will address how faith informs feminism, the role feminism can play in a spiritual journey, and whether faith and feminism are compatible. We hope you can join us. Look out for more details on this upcoming event come the new year!