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PA Clergy Present Moral Clarity about Abortion at NOW Conference

Clergy women from Pennsylvania Clergy for Choice sponsored a panel for the Pennsylvania NOW conference called "Making Moral Decisions for Reproductive Freedom." The panel also included a staff member from the Philadelphia Women's Clinic but who is also a member of Faith Aloud who opened the conversation about the political landscape in the State. She spoke of Senate Bill 732 and its excessive a regulation of abortion providers that, if passed, will have the effect of closing all providers in the State, some permanently and which will greatly increase the cost of this simple medical procedure. The panel agreed this was class warfare against poor women since middle class women will be able to take off work and go to other states. A physician also spoke of her alarm at the political shenanigans of this legislature noting that not a single medical or health care organization endorses this legislation. It is strictly an ideological tactic driven by anti-choice religions, most particularly the Pennsylvania Roman Catholic Bishops.

The clergy women who represented the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, United Church of Christ, and Disciples of Christ, shared the biblical principals and stories that are relevant for women who are wanting to use scriptural or spiritual grounding in making their decisions about abortion. They spoke of the importance of reassuring women that good women make very good decisions to get an abortion contrary to what the picketers may say. "Being concerned about the other children in the family reflects a highly moral mother." said one. When asked about how to respond to people who inform them they are immoral on this topic one said, "When it is clear there will be no dialogue I don't engage them." Another said,"I say you have no right to tell me anything about my relationship to my God."

Rev Dale asked the panel what to say when the subject came up of when life begins noting that the Roman Catholic Church had for centuries said it occurs only when there is "quickening" or fetal movement within the mother. One clergy woman said, "I say I am very concerned about life as well, the life of the mother, the woman who is already here in the flesh and struggling. Let's talk about her life."

Pennsylvania Clergy for Choice is affiliated with the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.


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