June 24, 2022
Dear Church Family and Friends,
I know many of you are deeply concerned about the supreme court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade that guaranteed abortion rights.
Kentucky is one of 12 states that passed a so-called “trigger law” meaning that as of this moment, there is no legal access to abortion in the state except if the mother will suffer death or “damage to a life-sustaining organ.” Here are the particulars of our law:
- There is no exception for women who have been raped.
- There is no exception for women carrying children who cannot survive once born.
- There can now be no medical aid during a miscarriage unless and until a doctor decides the woman may die.
- The sending or receiving of pills that would end a pregnancy are banned.
- A woman seeking an abortion or a woman who is deemed to have had an abortion is guilty of breaking the law, but there is no penalty attached.
- Roe v. Wade and the right to privacy also undergirds several other important human rights, including who can legally marry (both same gender marriages and interacial marriages are now at risk).
- Illinois and Virginia are the only two neighboring states that still permit relatively unrestricted abortion access.
I share this with you because regardless on your faith position reproductive choice, women in our community, our families, and our church will be deeply affected by this reversal, and some will be in very real danger due to a lack of medical care.
As a follower of Christ the Healer I am now focused on the unnecessary suffering that will be imposed on these women, as well as the unintended consequences of this ruling, such as horrible self-inflicted or “back-alley” abortion attempts, the lack of clarity in the law about a doctor’s role, personal prosecution, among others. The question for us as family is “How can we get everyone the safe, certified, trusted care they need and deserve?” Access to abortion services is a health care necessity.
It’s important that we ALL think about this, because now that the KY law criminalizes the only two remaining abortion providers in the state, friends will turn to friends for advice. There are several networks, in place and organizing, to help women get to states where they can receive care. In addition, emergency contraception is (for the moment) still legal and available. (PlanB, Ella, etc).
Poorer families, and anyone who cannot take weeks off work to travel and wait out of state will be the hardest hit, and the most vulnerable.
Here are several resources for those who come to you and might need help:
- Planned Parenthood has also been preparing for this decision in the last weeks. They continue to provide advocacy, contraception, and other essential services. Their website in Lexington is https://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-center/kentucky/lexington/40503/bluegrass-health-center-3291-91810
- The A Fund: helps financially needy women to gain access to abortion and contraceptive services. Website: https://kyafund.org/
- The Kentucky Health Justice Network provides support and assistance making arrangements. To request an advocate, fill out the confidential form at this link, call them at (502) 694-2227, or email email@example.com Get more information about this program here.
- ThreeForFreedom is a website to assist in contraception, emergency contraception, and abortion medications. https://www.threeforfreedom.com/
- The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice is a faith-based organization founded by clergy. They have many resources, including thoughts on abortion from many faiths. https://rcrc.org/prayers/
Because the KY trigger law was not crafted with enough clarity, there are many unknowns, and thus many of you may be very afraid for the future. In the midst of this turmoil let us live and love like Jesus as best we know. Compassion must be our method and our sacred task. People all around us will need our faithful, loving support more than ever, including more help getting the resources they need to retain their rights, receive care, and stay safe. All of the above agencies and more besides, are going to need money and volunteers in order to expand services. From adoption needs to transportation, from contraception to access to safe abortions, the stakes have risen dramatically.
I call on us all to be the church to those in need, my friends. Safety and care must be our first priority for those who are or will be in physical or mental distress. May God help all those who are in need and goad all of the rest of us to loving service. For my part I am available to speak or meet with anyone about these issues and I will help in any way if I can.
The work of living the gospel has seldom been easy. If it seems hard now with the world in turmoil, it is nonetheless more needed than ever. We must live our faith “out loud.” If we are to love all and participate in such measures as guarantee them for everyone under the law we must care in every way for every one.