Joint Press Release: Faith Leaders in McAllen: ‘Bless this Clinic’by
Leaders Gather to Bless McAllen Abortion Clinic, Support Women’s Right to Make Their Own Reproductive Health Care Decisions
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 2, 2019
MCALLEN – Leaders across denominations and religious traditions gathered today to bless the only Texas abortion clinic south of San Antonio and demonstrate their support for the right of women to make their own reproductive health care decisions.
The gathering at the Whole Woman’s Health clinic in McAllen – organized by Just Texas, the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC) and Catholics for Choice – brought together clergy and other people of faith who reject the false narrative promoted by anti-abortionists that there is a singular and universal religious message about abortion.
Clinic blessings are a relatively new but growing phenomenon. Faith leaders have also gathered to bless clinics in Austin and Forth Worth. RCRC has organized blessings in other states as well. These blessings demonstrate solidarity with staff and patients, many of whom risk life and limb to make dignity-affirming decisions about their reproductive health.
In addition to limiting women’s autonomy to make decisions concerning their own bodies and families, attacks on access to basic reproductive health care often adversely impact access to preventive care, such as cancer screenings, birth control, sexually transmitted infection testing and treatment, well-woman exams and more. These impacts fall disproportionately and heavily on the people who already face the most barriers to care: persons living in poverty and marginalized communities.
Voices from today’s blessing and press conference:
“For too long now, we have seen some use faith as a weapon to undermine the right of all women to make decisions about their own reproductive health care, including whether or not to have an abortion. But we are here to say clearly that we reject such a misuse of faith. Access to comprehensive and affordable reproductive health care services is a moral and social good.” – Rev. Erika Wilson, founder and spiritual director of The Awakening Spiritual Community in San Antonio and a representative of Just Texas
“We have come to Texas with a serious and yet also joyous focus: to affirm the staff and patients at Whole Woman’s Health as being blessed in their role of providing compassionate care. We want to show them a different vision of faith than they may have experienced before – one that upholds reproductive health, advocates for reproductive justice, and celebrates the beauty and power of supporting the bodily autonomy of each and every person that comes through their doors.” – Rev. Dr. Cari Jackson, an author, minister and clergy in residence with the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
“The Catholic Church is not a building, nor is it the hierarchy of the church. It is all of us who make up its body—who understand in a profound way that faith is not copyrighted by the small band of antiabortion protestors outside a clinic, but alive and well in the passion and commitment of so many abortion providers inside the clinic. Abortion in good faith is about compassion for all and respect for each one exercising conscience.” – Gaby Garcia-Vera, Domestic Programs States Manager, Catholics for Choice
“We hope this blessing resonates beyond these clinic walls. Everyone who walks into our clinic receives the compassion and decency that any patient who is having a medical procedure deserves, without shame or stigma.” – Marva Sadler, Director of Clinical Services, Whole Woman’s Health.
Just Texas, sponsored by the Texas Freedom Network, is a movement of faith leaders who support women’s access to all reproductive health care services, including abortion care.
The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice is a broad-based, national, interfaith movement that brings the moral force of religion to protect and advance reproductive health, choice, rights and justice through education, prophetic witness, pastoral presence and advocacy.
Catholics for Choice shapes and advances sexual and reproductive ethics that are based on justice, reflect a commitment to women’s well-being and respect and affirm the capacity of women and men to make moral decisions about their lives.
Whole Woman’s Health is a health care management company that operates eight clinics in five states. Whole Woman’s Health believes that everyone must be at the center of their own healthcare decisions and are committed to destigmatizing abortion and creating safe spaces for all people.