Faith and abortion


MSNBC highlights the faith of those who work for abortion providers. The Rev. Matthew Westfox, a guest on Saturday’s Melissa Harris Perry Show, says:

As both a person of faith and an advocate for reproductive freedoms, I often find myself talking about the connection between religion, spirituality, and reproductive justice. We talk about religious questions raised by patients and clients, and we talk about how to use religious language in reproductive justice activism. Yet one group seems to be left almost completely out of these conversations—abortion providers: The doctors, nurses, office managers, custodians, counselors and all the others who keep clinics open in the face of harassment and violence.

Many times in my ministry, a conversation with abortion clinic staffers that began with talking about the spiritual needs of patients ends on a far more personal note. We talk about the spirituality they find in their work, the religious questions they have about abortion and their role in it, or simply their sadness over feeling that their work means they cannot join a faith community if they want to.

One doctor started his career as a minister, and sees his work in the clinic today as a way of serving God’s people, but he rarely talks about it in those terms. A nurse I spoke to says a prayer for her safety and that of her coworkers every day before leaving for work. An office manager told a colleague of mine that she braces herself every time she checks the mail, wondering how many hate letters she’ll come across, and wants a sacred community to turn to for support. One clinic counselor said she misses the rituals and music of her faith community, and often thinks about trying to find a church, but worries about being judged or shunned when small talk leads to questions about where she works.

Westfox has served a ministry of reproductive justice for more then six years as a preacher, activist, organizer and pastoral care giver. He is ordained in the United Church of Christ, and serves as a consultant to the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice along with other justice organizations. He also serves Associate Pastor of All Souls Bethlehem Church in Brooklyn, NY

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3 Responses to "Faith and abortion"
  1. God bless and protect Rev. Westfox in his ministry, and protect those he ministers to. (And yes, God bless those who oppose Rev. Westfox's ministry, too. God grant us ALL More Light!)

    JC Fisher

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  2. Matthew has been working in the gospel vineyards of reproductive justice most of his whole life - teaching, equipping, and empowering others to continue to spread the Word of Truth in the midst of the hard soil of ignorance, myth, lies, prejudice and oppression.

    God Bless you, Matthew! And, thank you for the work you do.

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  3. It breaks your heart to read about the courageous clinic workers who want to be part of a religious community but who fear they will be shunned. I can only hope they find the Episcopal Church where they will be welcomed. Thank God for Rev. Westfox who demonstrates with his ministry that Christianity need not be trivialized and dumbed down to the level of an anti-choice cult. As the old saying goes, Christians should not be burning clinics, we should be building them.

    Bob Button

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