Wednesday, April 18, 2012

More Planned Parenthood = Less Abortion

"A Religious Attack on Women" is what the Pasadena Star-News entitled my Letter to the Editor ... which they printed on Sunday, April 8. (Yes ... that would be EASTER Sunday ... so it kind of got lost in the shuffle.)

Anyway ... better late than never ... and because the War on Women continues unabated, here it is:
Pasadena Star-News [April 8, 2012]

As a priest and pastor, I have reason to be grateful that the 40 Days for Life group has been out drawing attention to the Planned Parenthood health center in our community. The scripture that comes to my mind is John 8:32 - "The truth will set you free" - because while these protesters pray to end abortion, the truth is that Planned Parenthood is answering their prayers with action.

Planned Parenthood does more than any other organization in the country to prevent unintended pregnancies by providing preventive services like birth control and accurate information to everyone who needs it, regardless of their personal or financial circumstances.

I've been appalled that leaders of the religious right have been fighting so hard to restrict women's access to birth control. They've gone down a dangerous road that does nothing to reduce abortion or address the needs of the women and families. In fact, they've put their energies toward judging and shaming women.

I find this attack on women absolutely unacceptable. And I urge my fellow clergy to lead with compassion and focus on real solutions, like supporting organizations that provide women with the tools and information they need to reduce the need for abortion services. My faith calls us to focus on God's work and help people obtain life-saving preventive health care like cancer-screenings and contraception.

As 40 Days for Life comes to a close, I'd like to thank Planned Parenthood for doing so much to end the need for abortion, and for being there for everyone who needs them, every time.

Rev. Susan Russell
All Saints Episcopal Church
Seriously -- I was a history major because there was no math requirement and even I can "do the math" that tells me the more access women have to comprehensive health care the fewer unplanned pregnancies there will be and the fewer unplanned pregnancies there are the fewer abortions there will be.

We are now looking forward here at All Saints Church to Sunday, April 29th and the chance to welcome Planned Parenthood's Cecile Richards to the Rector's Forum for a presentation entitled "Turning the War on Women to Advantage"

Cecile Richards is President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. Here's the description of the upcoming Forum:
Women’s health care has the best of all possible advocates in Cecile Richards. Even before the panel of four conservative Republican men held their press conference explaining what women could and could not do with their bodies, Richards had taken Planned Parenthood to a new level, adding advocacy for the needs of women and families to its service component.

On the tails of the Susan B. Komen Foundation’s withdrawal of financial support from Planned Parenthood, Richards used social media to rally energy across the nation against the conservatives’ growing attack on women. The result was a huge increase in dedicated donors and supporters for Planned Parenthood, as well as a reversal from the Komen Foundation.

A life-long organizer, Richards knows how to turn bodies into voters and activists. She has been especially successful in attracting young people to the organization, persuading peer educators to become spokespeople and essential activists. About a third of these young leaders are now young men. The daughter of former Texas Governor, Ann Richards, she was raised in a family committed to social justice and public service. She founded and served as president of American Votes, a coalition of 42 national grassroots organizations working to maximize registration, education, and voter participation nationwide. Before taking the helm of Planned Parenthood, she served as deputy chief of staff for House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.

All Saints is especially delighted to have this opportunity to speak with Cecile Richards in keeping with our long-standing tradition of supporting women’s right to access comprehensive medical care and accurate information. In 1989, then rector George Regas convened a task force of 25 women to reflect on the Supreme Court’s decision to narrow the access to abortion, with a resulting resolution by the Vestry declaring All Saints a Prayerfully Pro-Choice Church, advocating for more and better types of birth control, making abortion less and less a necessary option.
Come by, if you can. "Stream in" if you can't!

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