Choice: Let the People Say, “Amen”

Rev. Madison Shockley

We consider that a miscarriage has no moral content because we attribute it to God. But if women are partners with God then do they not also have moral authority to interrupt the process of human gestation?

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of posts reporting from the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice’s National Black Religious Summit on Sexuality.

“And God made them in God’s
image. Male and Female God created them.”

“And Adam knew Eve and she
bore a son saying, ‘I have born a man with the help of
God.’”

I believe that God is
Pro-Faith, Pro-Family and Pro-Choice. That is the good news I am bringing
Friday to clergy and laity at the National Black Religious Summit on Sexuality,
the conference convened by the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.
Given that God had created both men and women, when one considers the
reproductive process from a biblical/theological perspective one has to conclude
that God, in fact, made the first choice. God chose, between these two humans,
to hide the mystery of reproduction inside the woman.

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Eve proclaims that what she
has done was with the “help of God.” Thus, God and women are partners in the
reproductive process and the woman is not a silent partner but a partner with
voice and vote!

When one considers
reproduction from a biological perspective it is understood that this
partnership often does not succeed. Miscarriage
(often
with the woman unaware) is the fate of the overwhelming number of pregnancies.

We consider that a
miscarriage has no moral content because we attribute it to God/nature. We say,
“God/nature knew that the fetus would not survive.” Thus we accept that the
process of human gestation was interrupted by natural forces. But if women are
partners with God then do they not also have moral authority to interrupt the
process of human gestation? Do they not have the moral authority to act when
they know that the fetus will not survive? Oh, but when she does it we don’t
call it a miscarriage we call it an abortion.

We the 15 denominations and
faith traditions who comprise the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
have come together to support women who face this very difficult decision. To
empower women with the moral authority they inherently possess and to confer
upon them the moral support of their faith communities.

If human beings took
anything out of the Garden of Eden it was free will. Many submit that it is the
free will of human beings that most reflects the image of God. We certainly
don’t look like God.

When a woman is faced with a
medical complication so severe that the choice is between the life of the fetus
and her own life, she not only has the moral authority to choose her own life
but in regard to her other children who depend on her, her husband who loves
her, her family who need her and her God who created her, she has a moral
obligation to choose life.

When a woman has been robbed
of her God-given free will by the violence of rape, she not only has the moral
authority to reclaim her will by choosing her own life but a moral obligation to
determine for herself whether, when, and how many children to bear.

And when a government seeks
to deprive a woman of the free will of her conscience, given to her by God, and
legislates that, should she not bring every pregnancy to full term delivery, she
has committed a crime and shall be punished by a levy against her resources and
the imprisonment of her body, she and we have a spiritual, moral and civic duty
to resist, defy, and deny that government’s attempts to convert her womanhood
into a means of production for its political economy. We the people of the
United States of
America must repel those among us who would
diminish the humanity of any of our citizens by the coercion of their very
persons for purposes alien to their conscience, dangerous to their health and in
contradiction to their faith. Let the people say, “Amen.”

This sermon on reproductive
choice was originally delivered at the First Freedom First national
teleconference.

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