Although conservative religious voices have long dominated the national conversation on abortion, progressive clergy have been part of the movement to advance reproductive rights since before Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in 1973.
Over the past few weeks, progressive faith leaders have been speaking out against a slate of bills that dramatically curtail women’s access to safe, legal abortions.
On Tuesday, Alabama’s Republican-controlled Senate passed a controversial bill that makes performing abortions at any stage of pregnancy a felony offense. The legislation would essentially create a near-total ban on the procedure, except in cases where the life of the pregnant person is at risk.
The Senate rejected an amendment that would have allowed abortions for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest. All 25 of the state senators who voted in favor of the bill were white men.
If Gov. Kay Ivey (R) signs the bill, it would go into effect within six months and become the country’s strictest abortion ban.
Earlier this year, Ohio, Kentucky, Georgia and Mississippi passed laws banning abortion after six weeks of pregnancy ― long before many women realize they are pregnant.
Members of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, an interfaith group that advocates for abortion rights and is based in Washington, D.C., said that Alabama’s “uncommonly harsh” bill was an affront to their religious convictions.
“These laws are designed and supported by elected officials who speak of their conservative Christianity as though it were the only authentic religious point of view. It isn’t,” the coalition said in a statement.
“We are Christians, Jews, people of other faiths and of no faith, and we demand accountability from our elected officials in protecting religious liberty, which requires ensuring that no one set of religious beliefs is ever imposed on us all. That’s our right as Americans.”
On Twitter, progressive women of faith chimed in.