Yesterday was a very special day at Whole Woman’s Health of South Bend. We welcomed local religious leaders to bless our Indiana clinic and honor the sacred work of our clinic staff. We This clinic blessing is part of a long tradition of progressive faith communities supporting people making reproductive decisions according to their own conscience.
The majority of people of faith support access to abortion, and people from all faith traditions seek abortion care. Many spiritual and religious people respect and affirm the right to choose abortion as a moral good. Abortion is not antithetical to religious values. Many people of faith believe in the right to abortion care not despite their religious values but because of them.
Yet anti-abortion religious extremists have been exceptionally loud in condemning abortion as religiously and morally unacceptable, and that rhetoric has been the catalyst for passing abortion bans and restrictions. These extremists do not “own” the religious understanding of abortion, and they are in the minority.
South Bend has a particularly vocal anti-abortion religious community, but more than a half-dozen major religions and denominations support abortion rights. The inherent right to exercise one’s divinely-given bodily autonomy and to make decisions about one’s family and future is foundational to religious freedom. Religious leaders have a unique role to play in getting the word out. This ceremony urged greater solidarity on this divisive issue in these threatening times for abortion rights. It also bore witness to the pain caused in the name of faith and uplifted words and actions rooted in love, compassion, and understanding. Spirituality and reproductive freedom can and do coexist.
We always open our doors to the press to help shift the conversation around abortion, so we invited local reporters to be a part of the blessing. See the stories on South Bend’s local NPR and local NBC.