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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Abortion is a Blessing

This isn't the common belief held by many people, including some feminists. I'll admit that I have occassionally used an argument along the lines of "yes, aboriton is a tragedy, but it is the lesser of two evils." I have used this argument to get anti-choicers to recognize a woman's right to choose and that sometimes it is the better option, even if it is "evil." What I was not aware of when I was making this kind of argument was that this argument might actually be deterring the pro-choice movement.

At the 2009 National NOW Conference, I heard Rev. Dr. Katherine Ragsdale talk about reproductive rights as an Episcopal priest. She says that "abortion is a blessing," never a tragedy. What is a tragedy, according to Ragsdale, is the loss of hopes and dreams. Whether an unplanned pregnancy is a resule of rape or just faulty birth control, abortion is blessing to that woman in need. Unplanned pregnancies can severely disrupt the hopes and dreams of women and abortions help to restore these. And when women want children and have a planned pregnancy, but health issues require her to get a late-term abortion to save her life, the loss of the hopes and dreams of having a child is the real tragedy. Not the abortion. Never the abortion.

When we, as feminists, make concessions that abortion is a tragedy but the lesser of two evils, we lose our footing and this will eventually lead to loosing the pro-choice battle. We are still fighting to uphold Roe v. Wade. Abortion providers are being murdered. This is a pro-choice battle. If we say that abortion is a tragedy, anti-choicers can use the argument that even pro-choice feminists believe that abortion is evil so it should be illegal.

As feminists, we need to stand our ground that abortion is a blessing for women who face the fear and stress of an unplanned pregnancy. We need to continue to defend the ruling of Roe v. Wade. We need to support our local or state abortion providers. We need to work for the reproductive rights of all women around the country and around the world.

The speech that Rev. Dr. Katherine Ragsdale gave at the 2009 National NOW Conference was really inspiring and eye-opening. I am so used to hearing the religious argument that abortion is murder, women shouldn't use birth control, and that LGBTQ people are less than human. But it was amazing to hear a pro-choice, reproductive and LGBTQ rights advocate who was a religious person, not to mention an Episcopal prient. Ragsdale was recently elected as the second woman and first openly lesbian or gay president and deal of Episcopal Divinity School. Ragsdale will be responsible for teaching and training a new generation of priests which will make strides (not steps) toward the religious support of reproductive and LGBTQ rights.

Rev. Dr. Katherine Ragsdale's selected sermons

EDS information on Ragsdale


RMJ said...

Right fucking on! I am thankful for the option.

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