Reproductive Justice: Life-Saving Welcome

This week, my heart is heavy. I resonate with the shock and fear that many are feeling, as reproductive rights in the United States are threatened by the recent leak of a Supreme Court decision that would repeal Roe Vs. Wade.

This decision will have devastating consequences for women- particularly poor and marginalized women in the 26 states poised to restrict abortion rights across the country. Studies have shown that unwanted pregnancies are not prevented by criminalizing abortion; they are prevented by comprehensive sexuality education, access to contraception, poverty reduction, greater access to affordable healthcare, and a number of other factors rooted in economic and social equity. To be truly “pro-life” is to care about the health and well-being of those women and children living in poverty who will be most impacted by these laws.

In this time of uncertainty, I turn to my Unitarian Universalist faith. Unitarian Universalists have a long history of working for reproductive justice. Reproductive justice is a term coined by women of color in the early 1990’s to center the experiences of the most vulnerable- expand the focus beyond individual choice (which is never the same for all) to center on the social reality of inequality. The reproductive justice movement envisions the liberation of people of all genders to have access to things such as affordable healthcare and childcare, comprehensive sexuality education, and political and economic systems that support every person’s freedom of reproductive choice.

Unitarian Universalists who are part of this movement are already hard at work to both resist the ruling and provide resources and support, including abortion access, for those who will be most directly impacted. Find out more here on the Side with Love blog.

I have been reflecting on the ways in which the work for reproductive justice in this moment connects with our larger call to provide a life-saving welcome.

I think about our flaming chalice- a symbol that originated in World War II. The Unitarian Service Committee used this symbol as an “official” mark on the passports of refugees fleeing Nazi persecution.

This Sunday, our worship guests from the Stamford Interfaith Refugee Settlement will share about our collective work to provide that welcome for refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, and other war-torn lands.

Those fleeing oppression and violence in all forms need safe places to land, helping hands to reach out and offer support, people who will welcome and honor their inherent worth and dignity.

May we be a faith community that offers this life-saving welcome to those in need.

Rev. Terri