I’m angry about the latest efforts of the Bush Administration to limit women's reproductive rights. This new proposal doesn’t just limit a woman’s choice to have an abortion based on medical professionals’ moral right of refusal, it also extends these limits to birth control and artificial insemination. But supposedly I shouldn’t be angry or be pro-choice since I spent the better part of my teen years at a born-again Christian mega-church.
After all, Christians who profess to live by Biblical truths couldn’t possibly think abortion is a viable choice for women. But some time ago, I was introduced to a concept that I have come to own since my days at my alma mater, Spelman College.
That introduction happened when I opened the clothes closet in my freshman dorm room. There was a huge white bumper sticker with enormous blue letters that read, “Prayerfully Pro-Choice.” I had no idea how one could be prayerful and pro-choice simultaneously, since I had learned as a teenager that pre-marital sex was a sin and that abortion was not the way out of pregnancy.
But at this predominately black, all-women’s college founded by Christians, I was also introduced to female empowerment. This empowerment, drilled into all freshman and sophomores through mandatory convocations, meant we were free to be ambitious, successful, service-oriented women with or without a husband and children. At the time, I was too busy thinking these convocations were a waste of time and straddling the fence about pre-marital sex and Christian principles.
Pre-marital sex won out. After graduation I had an encounter with God and the RU-486 pill. Having engaged in unprotected sex with my long-time boyfriend, I had this eerie feeling that I could be pregnant. I panicked. Then I prayed. And I got the idea to get one of those morning-after pills. And I puked my guts out for hours and promised God that I would not have premarital sex again.
Through my Biblical training as an adult, I was also introduced to a supporting concept: God is pro-choice. He, in his merciful wisdom, allows us to choose what we decide is best. Of course, He also says “Choose Life.” But notice that choice is offered. Even the very concept that makes one a Christian (meaning “like Christ”), accepting His Son Jesus, is based on choice and free will. So a woman who is Prayerfully Pro-Choice is empowered to make her own choices for her reproductive health based on prayer and free will.
As I said, I am angry about this Bush rule because it allows medical professionals to have a choice as to whether they will serve you because of their beliefs about abortion. And the license not to treat you or fill your prescriptions can extend to not offering a referral to someone who will, according to a CNN report. And these medical professionals may be part of your HMO. So you’re paying them NOT to serve you. Worst of all you may be paying them to take the choice of abortion out of your hands. Even God doesn’t do that.
Lexi Jay is a pen name. She is a freelance writer from New York whose work has appeared on in the Dallas Morning News and on several web sites including Women’s eNews. She is currently working on a memoir about the road that led her to an abusive marriage, which involves three familial generations of abuse and an upbringing in the Christian evangelical community.
Originally posted at The Women’s Media Center, a non-profit organization founded by Jane Fonda, Gloria Steinem, and Robin Morgan, dedicated to making women visible and powerful in the media.