It’s Not About Who Pays. It’s About Respect

Rev. Dr. Carlton W. Veazey

Clergy and people of faith are speaking up in a new campaign about the outrageous "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act." It's deceptive and reveals a profound lack of respect for the sacredness of women's lives.

Pro-choice clergy in the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice network are outraged at the lack of respect for women’s lives implicit in HR 3 – the deceptively named “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” introduced by Rep. Chris Smith. The injustice of this bill is appalling. Simply, it fails to acknowledge the worth – in religious terms, the sacredness – of women’s lives. In that respect, it is immoral.

RCRC’s new Insure Women, Ensure Our Future campaign is dedicated to exposing the true purpose of this and other bills that purport to prevent taxpayer money from being spent on abortion. These bills are being introduced as states are beginning to develop insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act. It’s obvious that opponents of women’s comprehensive health care are using the insurance exchanges as opportunities to further restrict access to abortion for all women.

Regarding HR 3, the message that pro-choice clergy and people of faith want Congress to hear is that “this deceptively named bill is not about who pays for an abortion. It is about a lack of respect for the sacredness of women’s lives and a lack of trust for women who are in the difficult situation of considering abortion.”

Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Unitarian Universalist clergy and others have endorsed the powerful statement that RCRC is delivering to Congress. These clergy and leaders of faith communities – who hold diverse views about abortion – find this bill to be an affront to the reverence for human dignity that is at the core of so many of our faith traditions.

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Compassion is a sacred value in our religious traditions. Women who have survived rape or incest deserve health care services, including abortion, even if they don’t have the means to pay for them. Women whose lives are threatened deserve appropriate health care and to not be turned away from a hospital. Vulnerable women who cannot afford health insurance deserve comprehensive care.

In school and in our religious traditions we learn about the hallowed promise of our nation to respect diverse religious views. This includes religious views on the appropriateness of abortion. Those who want to impose their views should know that they violate the trust that women and men have placed in the law to protect their access to health services.

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