Waking Up to a Post-Roe Era
I am a minister, a pastor, a religious leader who is wholeheartedly pro choice and supports abortion care and reproductive justice.
I awoke to the SCOTUS decision today and felt that all too familiar pit in my stomach swirling with grief and rage and fear and anxiety. It is as if the thin threads of freedom protecting bodily autonomy and reproductive rights (mine and so many of others) have been slashed and burned, decimated before our very eyes. We have been reduced yet again to second class citizens.
And yet, so many BIPOC beloveds among us and in the past have been struggling in these perilous waters for a long, long time. Lifetimes. It is scary and hard and terrifying.
In my state of Idaho, abortion care will be effectively banned. This in a state that exalts individual freedom and rights at all costs. But really, it only protects it for those who fit a very narrow definition of worthiness.
My solace on this day is that I am at our Unitarian Universalist General Assembly surrounded by my people, by faithful, loving, colleagues and lay people who rage with me; who hold each other up and who are already activating in their communities. We will gather together at a local protest to hear our UU Association president among the speakers.
We will add our voices to a great cloud of faithful witnesses, interfaith clergy and leaders and lay people who represent the moral force of religion fighting to protect and advance reproductive health, choice, rights and justice.
I want you to know that we are here and we are ready to support and mobilize for anyone who needs to access abortion care. Like literally. If your state is like ours and you need support, help, (spiritual, financial or otherwise) seek out your local UU church.
Unitarian Universalists have been on the frontlines of abortion justice for decades, beginning in 1963 when our General Assembly passed the first Statement of Conscience upholding abortion rights. That resolution included these words: “WHEREAS, the laws which narrowly circumscribe or completely prohibit termination of pregnancy by qualified medical practitioners are an affront to human life and dignity.”
And since 1963 we have passed 20 statements and resolutions affirming abortion rights and reproductive justice. Roe vs. Wade found early welcome and support, forging its case in the basement of the Dallas UU Church.
Our clergy were part of the early Clergy Consultation service, pre-Roe, that supported women who needed abortions. They were not only UUs but Methodists, Baptists, UCC, Congregationalists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, and yes, even some catholics! We are everywhere and we will not stop praying for justice, access, self-determination, and our collective thriving of which abortion justice is a critical part.
For far too long, the conservative religious right has coopted the narrative of what religious freedom and family and love and health care mean or look like in our community. It is a narrative of control, of patriarchy, of white supremacy, where one’s “choice” is determined by a privileged few with little regard for lhe lived experience of those impacted by those narrow views.
I want to remind all of us, weather you are religious or not, that they do not claim the authority on religious values! Religious freedom means upholding the human and constitutional rights of all people to exercise their conscience to make their own reproductive healthcare decisions without shame and stigma.
In my tradition our Universalist theology centers on the belief that we all share the same destiny; that all are worthy of love and dignity. Full Stop. To put this in clearly religious terms, God loves people who have abortions. Full stop. God loves all people. God loves you. And if God is not your jam, please do hear that you (all of you, all our siblings and beloveds) are still held, still divine, still beautiful and holy; deeply loved and worthy, just as you are.
Reproductive choices are deeply sacred choices that honor life, honor freedom; honor dignity and religious liberty. And Abortion Justice is for all of us--for our freedom over our own bodies, our own health care, our own identities. May it be so. Amen, Amen, Amen. Say it with me: Amen, Amen, Amen!
We will keep fighting and keep showing up and keep loving each other into a greater vision of beloved community.
My beautiful friend Christina Boothman who I worked for at Planned Parenthood doing field work while I was in seminary, shared this beautiful poem. May we feel the words and love each other more deeply in this next part of the fight.
Poem by Nikita Gill
𝑅𝑒𝑚𝑒𝑚𝑏𝑒𝑟 𝑤ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑦𝑜𝑢 𝑚𝑢𝑠𝑡 𝑑𝑜
𝑤ℎ𝑒𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑦 𝑢𝑛𝑑𝑒𝑟𝑣𝑎𝑙𝑢𝑒 𝑦𝑜𝑢,
𝑤ℎ𝑒𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑦 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑘
𝑦𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑠𝑜𝑓𝑡𝑛𝑒𝑠𝑠 𝑖𝑠 𝑦𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑤𝑒𝑎𝑘𝑛𝑒𝑠𝑠,
𝑤ℎ𝑒𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑦 𝑡𝑟𝑒𝑎𝑡 𝑦𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑘𝑖𝑛𝑑𝑛𝑒𝑠𝑠
𝑙𝑖𝑘𝑒 𝑖𝑡 𝑖𝑠 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑖𝑟 𝑎𝑑𝑣𝑎𝑛𝑡𝑎𝑔𝑒.
𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑠𝑙𝑒𝑒𝑝𝑠 𝑖𝑛𝑠𝑖𝑑𝑒 𝑦𝑜𝑢
𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑦𝑜𝑢 𝑟𝑒𝑚𝑖𝑛𝑑 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑚
𝑤ℎ𝑎𝑡 ℎ𝑒𝑙𝑙 𝑙𝑜𝑜𝑘𝑠 𝑙𝑖𝑘𝑒
𝑤ℎ𝑒𝑛 𝑖𝑡 𝑤𝑒𝑎𝑟𝑠 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑠𝑘𝑖𝑛
𝑜𝑓 𝑎 𝑔𝑒𝑛𝑡𝑙𝑒 ℎ𝑢𝑚𝑎𝑛.
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Rev. Sara LaWall
Justice minded, Unitarian Universalist Minister, mother & wife serving Boise, ID