Moving Beyond Pro-Life and Pro-Choice | Sojourners

Moving Beyond Pro-Life and Pro-Choice

As a Christian clergy who celebrates all the spiritual paths that lead to Love; as a woman who was unable to conceive and who grieved for years; as an aunt and grandmother who thinks children are precious, I resonate with the feelings of those who identify as pro-choice and pro-life.

There is more than one religion practiced in this nation, and no religious point of view — not even my own faith, Christianity — should guide our legal processes. In fact, Jesus, who is the mentor for my faith, healed a woman suffering with a reproductive issue — a hemorrhaging womb of 12 years. His model of compassion and love for those on the margins and those needing healing and health care drives my commitment to health care for all, and my understanding of the pro-choice ideals.

As our nation, once again, debates reproductive freedom and abortion, I know from my experience counseling women and families that the decision to have an abortion is a deeply personal and agonizing one. But I believe this choice should be legally and safely available to those who need to make it.

From my point of view, pro-choice means if pregnant, I can choose to abort a pregnancy that endangers my life. I can terminate a pregnancy that results from rape or incest.

It also means I can take a pregnancy to term and raise a child inside a partnership or as a single parent. I can be a trans man and choose to be the partner who gets pregnant. I can use a donor or a surrogate to have a child. I can give birth and place my child in an open or closed adoption.

I am for people making these choices guided by ethics. I am for the agency of women, who are the majority of those bearing children or deciding not to. I am pro-safe, legal, affordable, and rare abortions.

I also resonate with the convictions of those who identify as pro-life. I am for the lives and agency of women around the globe. I trust they know that abortion is a moral issue and they make this decision in conversation with partners and family and Spirit. I am for the lives of children who should have clean water and enough food and health care and books and supplies for a good education. I am for getting guns off the street so children can live without fear. I am pro-life and anti-guns and anti-mass shootings in movie theaters, mosques, temples, gurdwaras, churches, nightclubs, concert venues, and on urban streets.

I am for the lives of my LGBTQ family, and especially the lives of trans women of color who are brutalized for being brown and trans. I am pro-Black Lives Matter and pro human lives and immigrant lives. I am for the lives of asylum seekers and those who are incarcerated and who should be treated with dignity. I am pro- the life of the earth and the lives of creatures.

In this political climate, as more and more civil rights are under threat, this particular right — the right to choose an abortion — is loaded with political and theological meaning. Still, as a woman who yearned for and adores children, and as a clergy who deeply values human life, I urge us to see beyond the binaries of pro-choice and pro-life and toward a deeper conversation.