Reproductive Freedom Helps Everyone Thrive

For those who observe it, Mother’s Day can be a wonderful way to celebrate and uplift parents, parental figures, caregivers, and the many diverse, loving family structures that raise and support children. This year, we invite you to take your conversations further and consider how reproductive justice frameworks and reproductive freedom help all people — including parents and families — thrive.

Even within the reproductive rights space, it might feel a little uncomfortable or counterintuitive to talk about abortion and Mother’s Day in the same context. We argue, though, that the two concepts are inherently linked. Truly equitable communities, where all parents, children, and families can flourish and grow, cannot exist without abortion access and reproductive justice.

The reproductive justice framework was created in 1994 by a group of Black women attending a health care conference who recognized the need for a more holistic approach to reproductive care — especially within a larger feminist movement that has predominantly centered the needs of white people, despite an ongoing maternal mortality crisis that’s made Black birthing people twice as likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white birthing folks. The demands of reproductive justice should be a given: “The human right to maintain personal bodily autonomy, have children, not have children, and parent the children we have in safe and sustainable communities.” 

Abortion access not only ensures bodily autonomy and enables people to start families if and when they choose — but it is equally essential for parents to continue making the best choices for their existing families. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 61% of people seeking abortions already have children. People know what’s best for themselves and their families. Parents, and those who aspire to parent, deserve a world where they can begin and grow their families in their time and on their terms. 

Shan Schaffer, TFN’s Faith Strategist, spoke to a congregation in 2023 about the importance of embracing abortion access and erasing the stigma around reproductive health conversations in both faith and non-faith communities:

“All people deserve the freedom to make the best decisions that lead to a flourishing life for themselves, their families, and their futures. Compassion and love are values that extend to supporting and uplifting those who need access to abortion. Access to abortion allows all of us to live healthy, dignified, and abundant lives.”

Our Just Texas program is fighting to eradicate the stigma around reproductive freedom in Texas, one faith congregation at a time. Too often, congregations — even progressive ones — perpetuate a conspiracy of silence around reproductive health, especially abortion. Our Reproductive Freedom Congregation (RFC) initiative is a first step in bringing these issues out of the shadows. There are currently 31 (and counting) RFCs in Texas that publicly affirm these three principles:

  • We trust and respect women and people who can become pregnant.
  • We promise that people who attend our congregation will be free from stigma, shame, or judgment for their reproductive decisions, including abortion.
  • We believe access to comprehensive and affordable reproductive health services, including abortion, is a moral and social good.

This Mother’s Day and beyond, we hope you’ll join us in continuing to chip away at the stigma around abortion and reproductive health and opening hearts and minds in your community. A world with reproductive freedom is a better, safer, and more equitable world for all!

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