Texas Faith Congregations Recognized for Fighting Back Against Stigma on Abortion, Reproductive Health as More Restrictive Laws Take Hold

For Immediate Release
Aug. 25, 2021

Dallas — Texas Freedom Network’s project Just Texas, a grassroots movement for progressive people of faith, just announced an all-new project focused on reproductive freedom and abortion rights in Texas. Announced at First Unitarian Church in Dallas, the statewide Reproductive Freedom Congregation Designation is a program to recognize congregations throughout the state that are building positive dialogue on reproductive rights and abortion.

“By removing the fear and stigma around abortion access, we can empower women to make positive decisions about their own bodies—decisions where a listening ear from a family member, friend or clergy member can make all the difference,” said Rev. Erika Forbes, Just Texas Outreach and Faith Coordinator. As leaders of faith and as leaders within our communities, we know that now more than ever, having honest and judgement-free conversations about reproductive health is absolutely essential here in Texas.”

With restrictive bills seeking to effectively ban abortion in the state of Texas—bills such as SB 8 and the current special session’s SB 4—people of faith are organizing the best way they know: by building positive dialogue within their communities and congregations.

“We decided that there was no way we could not move forward with the Reproductive Freedom Congregation designation given the stigma and shame around reproductive freedom that is so pervasive in the faith communities in Texas,” said Reverend David Wynn, lead pastor of the Agape Metropolitan Community Church in Fort Worth, Texas, a Reproductive Freedom Congregation. “Being an RFC designated congregation continues to be part of what Agape MCC is about and is another way in which we can say to our community you are welcome, loved, and respected.”

The RFC designation is a first-of-its-kind initiative to organize communities of faith in a mission to speak out in support of reproductive rights, health, and justice—including access to abortion. This designation aims to change a toxic culture surrounding abortion and reproductive healthcare in Texas at a grassroots level; with 25 congregations on board and more than 100 more engaged in a long process of conversation and education with their members, this is a movement that’s truly taking hold across the state—one that may prove successful on a national scale over the coming years.

“We are so proud to be launching the Reproductive Freedom Congregation designation,” said Val Benavidez, executive director of Texas Freedom Network’s project Just Texas. “As a law to ban abortion before most women know they are pregnant will go into effect in less than a week, there’s never been a better time to have these conversations—to remove the fear and stigma surrounding abortion and reproductive health. Communities of faith are the perfect place to start. The Reproductive Freedom Congregation Designation will establish those safe spaces—that positive dialogue—all across our state.”

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The Texas Freedom Network (tfn.org) is a grassroots organization of religious and community leaders and young Texans building an informed and effective movement for equality and social justice.

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