by Kristen Psaki, Ministerial Resident
These are the words my 3-year-old niece sometimes says on repeat: My Body My Choice! My Body My Choice! Words that my sister once offered to her daughter — still so brand new to this world, to this country, to words — so that she might feel the beginnings of agency over her body and how others interact with her body.
We have a long history — both Unitarians and Universalists — that recognizes the sacredness of choice. A history and a present that celebrates the sacred and powerful gift of sexuality, the inherent worth and dignity of all life, and the freedom of conscience — the freedom to make choices about our lives, our bodies — trusting that our own direct experience of life is one of the primary sources of religious authority.
I support the right of a person to make decisions about their own bodies not in spite of my faith — but because of it.
In 1963, ten years before the Supreme Court legalized abortion in the United States — Roe v. Wade, 1973 — the Unitarian Universalist Association made a public commitment to equal access to abortion care.* And as a tradition, we have been the leading liberal religious voice in the movement for reproductive rights.
Hearing the news about Alabama’s law to criminalize health care providers and to force survivors of rape and incest to bear children as a result of an actual criminal act — almost physically knocked me over. But in this moment, I remember that we are fortified by a liberal religious lineage well practiced in speaking justice loudly and well fueled by an infinite source of Love.
As many of you have read in recent days, we know that an estimated 1 in 3 people who can carry pregnancies will have an abortion in their lifetime, which means that likely 1 in 3 of you reading this who are capable of carrying pregnancies have had an abortion.
Your story is sacred, your choice is sacred. If you have a sacred story of abortion that you want to speak in community and to have witnessed in love, we invite you to join our sharing circle:
Sacred Choice: Our Stories of Abortion
An intimate and informal circle of sharing and witnessing for those that have been touched by abortion.
Wednesday, May 29th
In the sanctuary
*The 1963 social justice statement made at General Assembly — the annual gathering of Unitarian Universalists:
REFORM OF ABORTION STATUTES
WHEREAS, we as Unitarian Universalists are deeply concerned for dignity and rights of human beings; and
WHEREAS, the laws which narrowly circumscribe or completely prohibit termination of pregnancy by qualified medical practitioners are an affront to human life and dignity; and
WHEREAS, these statutes drive many women in the United States and Canada to seek illegal abortions with increased risk of death, while others must travel to distant lands for lawful relief;
BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED: That the Unitarian Universalist Association support enactment of a uniform statute making abortion legal if:
- There would be grave impairment of the physical or mental health of the mother;
- The child would be born with a serious physical or mental defect;
- Pregnancy resulted from rape or incest;
- There exists some other compelling reason — physical, psychological, mental, spiritual, or economic.