In the upcoming election, contraceptive coverage and our reproductive rights are highlighted as important issues. Debates become polarized and what we choose to do with our bodies seems to be controversial.
While there are many vocal opponents of the mandatory coverage of contraception, there are those whose faith is not in conflict with contraception or abortion. In fact, there are those who are pro-choice because of their faith, not in spite of it. Who are they? The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC).
The RCRC, formally known as the Religious Coalition for Abortion Rights (RCAR) was founded in 1973 to safeguard the once newly won constitutional right to privacy in decisions about abortion.
Today, the Religious Coalition has expanded forming a nationwide community of religious people of all denominations and faith traditions. While members are religiously and theologically diverse, they are unified in the commitment to achieving reproductive justice.
The RCRC don’t argue the fact that life is sacred-in fact they feel the same way about it those who are anti choice. The difference is related to how they then go about protecting that sacred life. They believe that sexuality is intertwined with health and wholeness and they work for policies to ensure reproductive health services are available to all, regardless of income.
With regard to the Affordable Care Act, RCRC President and CEO Rev. Harry Knox has praised the new health care provisions as a blessing.
He states “Millions of women will now have access to contraception and other healthcare services that will help them and their families to live a whole, healthy life as God intends.”…
“I believe sexuality is a gift from God. It is a gift that is given to us to use with reverence and responsibility. Our government policies and laws should protect each person’s ability to access and use birth control according to their own conscience and religious beliefs.”
These statements reflect the belief that each person has the right to be the moral decision maker for themselves. It entrusts that each individual will use rightful prayer to come to the correct decision about themselves, lives and their souls.
Rabbi Bonnie Margulis, also a member of RCR, states “Women are moral decision makers. They have a conscience, guided by their moral values and the moral teachings that they follow.”
For many these statements feel relieving. Numerous men and women do believe in God and do use contraception. There are those who have felt deterred to practice their faith because of their congregation’s stance on these issues. But a glance at the list (as well as the RCRC’s website) of those who firmly believe that religion can be compatible with reproductive choice leaves one with a sense that there is room at the table.
Neither shame nor guilt need be present in the bedroom when these decisions are made.
Fenella Das Gupta is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist ( #47275) working in Northern California,specializing in fertility counseling. She works with individuals and couples as they make their way through the fertility maze.