Too often the only faith voices heard on the issue of reproductive rights are those who seek to limit or end altogether access to abortion and other family planning services. But that monologue from the religious right is coming to an end. Faith leaders from across the state are now joining together to support the right to safe, legal abortion care and affordable family planning for all Texans. We sent out this press release Tuesday evening announcing a new campaign — Just Texas: Faith Voices for Reproductive Justice:
FAITH LEADERS LAUNCH CAMPAIGN TO SUPPORT REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE
‘Just Texas: Faith Voices for Reproductive Justice’ Focuses on Organizing People of Faith in Support of Access to Abortion, Family Planning Services
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 10, 2015
Clergy and other people of faith gathered in Austin Tuesday evening at a special service launching a new campaign focused on countering the continued political attacks on reproductive health care and access to abortion and family planning services for all Texans.
The multifaith event at Temple Beth Shalom launching “Just Texas: Faith Voices for Reproductive Justice” featured a talk by Dr. Willie Parker, who shared the story of his ministry in serving at the last abortion clinic that remains open in Mississippi.
The Rev. Valda Jean Combs, a Baptist minister and currently a chaplain in Dallas, serves on the advisory committee for Just Texas. Too often the only faith voices heard on issues like abortion care and family planning are those opposed to access to such critical reproductive health care services, Combs said.
“For too long, highly vocal political activists in Texas have claimed to represent the only faith-based position on reproductive rights and choice, attacking policies that ensure safe and legal abortion care and family planning,“ Combs said. “It is our intention to bring a renewed voice of faith in support of policies that improve the reproductive health of Texas women and families. And we stand against attempts to use the power of the state to impose a so-called ‘Christian’ interpretation of morality into laws that ignore the rich diversity of Texans’ beliefs about reproductive rights.”
Over the last decade — and especially in the last four years — Texas lawmakers have passed increasingly restrictive laws limiting access to abortion care and family planning services. If the courts allow full implementation of HB 2, passed in 2013, as few as eight abortion clinics could remain open in the entire state of Texas. Bills proposed in the current session would further restrict access.
Religious leaders supporting the Just Texas campaign will work — individually as well as in congregations and across denominations and faith traditions — in support of public policies that uphold reproductive justice, including support for access to legal, safe abortion care, affordable family planning, and comprehensive sex education. In addition, they will promote a compassionate and affirming culture in Texas by speaking out against the shame and stigma, much of it grounded in religious rhetoric, that too often accompanies discussions surrounding abortion in this state.
Just Texas organizers are encouraging religious leaders and other people of faith to sign on to the campaign at JustTexas.org. Supporters are uniting behind the following pledge:
“As a person of faith, I support comprehensive reproductive healthcare for Texas families, including access to safe abortion care and affordable family planning. I commit to lifting my voice to create a culture that embodies these values and to advocating for policies that make reproductive justice a reality for women and families in this state.”
Organizers of this evening’s event are the Texas Freedom Network, Catholics for Choice, Religious Institute, National Council of Jewish Women and the Texas Unitarian Universalist Justice Ministry. An advisory board made up of faith leaders from around the state, including Protestants, Catholics, Jews and Unitarians, will guide the Just Texas campaign.