Religious Coalition for Abortion Rights

From:    Coeta Mills
Msg #137, 19-Sep-90  04:28pm

Are you aware that there is a moderating Christian voice in regard
to abortion rights?  It is: The Religious Coalition for Abortion
Rights, and is a coalition of 34 Protestant, Jewish and other faith
groups. It, in fact, speaks out as the united voice of mainstream
religious thought on abortion as a personal issue...and a religious
freedom issue.

I quote a few things from their literature which I received this
week:  "Each RCAR faith group examines the abortion issue from the
unique perspective of its own theology. Views may vary as to when
abortion is morally justified. But ALL RCAR faith groups support
women as full moral decision makers -- and ALL agree there is no way
abortion can be regulated by the government without robbing women of
the fundamental right to make this most important decision according
to their own conscience and personal religious beliefs. If we pass
laws that restrict abortion, then we impose a religious view held by
*some* people and, in effect, prevent *all other people* from freely
practicing their OWN religions."

"Fundamentalist and Roman Catholic leaders have been so successful
in manipulating the media to portray as "religious" only those who
want to outlaw abortion that many Americans are surprised to learn
of the existence of a strong pro-choice religious community. They
are even more surprised to learn that the pro-choice religious
community played a crucial role in winning Roe v Wade.  In the
decades before Roe, thousands of courageous clergymen and women had
been paving the way, often at great personal risk, for safe, legal
abortion. Touched by the desperation of women facing problem
pregnancies, they believed that those laws which FORCED women to
suffer the fear, degradation and physical dangers of criminal
abortions were *immoral* laws. They shared a deep conviction that
women must have the right to make moral decisions regarding their
own reproductivity according to conscience--WITHOUT GOVERNMENT
INTRUSION.  And their faith called them to act."

"Why have the religious organizations joined together to speak out?
Because the anti-choice point-of-view is not the ONLY religious
point-of-view in the abortion debate. Many religious denominations
have a strong tradition of advocating individual conscience in
matters of family and sexuality. Within the religious community,
faith groups recognize the need to balance their reverence for
potential life with the realities and responsibilities of full
personhood and to affirm women as moral decision makers."

"If abortion is a religious issue...and religious theologies
differ...and each denomination councels its members according it its
own theology...wouldn't a law prohibiting abortion violate religious
freedom?  Yes, RCAR thinks so. A law which *mandated* abortion would
violate the religious freedom of those people who believe that
abortion is *never* an acceptable alternative. And a law which
*prohibited* abortion would violate the religious freedom of those
people who believe that abortion *may be a moral alternative* to a
problem or dangerous pregnancy."

If interested in getting this group's literature, there address is:
 Religious Coalition for Abortion Rights
 100 Maryland Avenue, NE
 Washington, DC 2002