Saving Mothers' Lives: A Call to Do No Harm
Although I am not yet a parent, I understand parenthood to be a sacred undertaking, a covenant relationship that parents enter into. Parents must nurture and care for their children, raising them to love God, love themselves, and love their neighbor.
As a soon-to-be-commissioned Deacon in The United Methodist Church, I am called to bridge the gap between the church and the world through word, service, compassion and justice. I understand this to mean that I am to live out the mission of the church by working to make the Kin-dom of God a reality here on earth. A key part of this is working with and for those in society who are underrepresented and oppressed.
I specifically am called to work for the end of reproductive oppression and towards a future in which every human has the freedom to make their own decisions about if, when, and how they become a parent. This means complete bodily autonomy, access to a full spectrum of reproductive healthcare including contraception, abortion, and pregnancy-related care, and resources to care for one’s family.
Although I am not yet a parent, I understand parenthood to be a sacred undertaking, a covenant relationship that parents enter into. Parents must nurture and care for their children, raising them to love God, love themselves, and love their neighbor. This is a covenant that must be taken seriously. I believe God has given us full moral agency, including the agency to make the decision about if, when and how to enter into such a relationship.
Unfortunately, we live in a society that does not extend full reproductive agency and autonomy for everyone. Comprehensive and accurate sex and sexuality education is rarely taught. Information about and access to birth control and abortions are restricted, especially in communities facing severe systemic oppression. The United States has the highest rate of pregnancy related deaths among similarly developed countries - a rate that disproportionately affects ethnic and racial minorities. Parents are not afforded the resources they need to care for and raise their children.
Countless individuals are denied the opportunity to make the reproductive decisions that are right for them in their particular situation, which I believe goes against God’s desire for the world. This also calls to mind the first of John Wesley’s general rules: “Do no harm.” As a United Methodist, this serves as a guiding ethical value and I believe any effort to control the reproductive autonomy of a fellow human is a harmful act.
Christianity has a legacy of upholding countless oppressions and valuing the life of some groups over others. However, this is a result of human action, not divine intention. My understanding of the Kin-dom of God is one of mutuality and radical love - the restoration of wholeness to the world and to all of God’s people. My persistent belief in this potentiality is what compels me to do this work for reproductive freedom for all.