Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Abortion is a Blessing

Unfortunately, it's uncommon to hear religious leaders in the US speak frankly about abortion from a supportive standpoint; however, Reverend Katherine Ragsdale, an Episcopalian priest of 17 years and now the President and Dean of the Episcopal Divinity School, has done so for years. She has sat on the board of NARAL, The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, and The White House Project. Though I am personally non-religious, I am grateful for her wisdom and her support, especially after Dr. Tiller's murder.

I, too, believe abortion is a blessing for those who choose to have one. My abortion several years ago was a blessing. I don't know what I would've done, or who I would be, if I had continued that pregnancy. I may very well still be in a terrible relationship overrun by emotional and verbal abuse, quickly heading towards physical abuse. I would never had met my husband or had my beautiful child, who was planned, wanted, and is very much a blessing. So, I just want to thank Rev. Katherine Ragsdale and other religious leaders who support and understand a woman's private decision to have an abortion. Below is an excerpt from a powerful sermon.

Sermon by Rev. Katherine Ragsdale,President and Dean of Episcopal Divinity School

Let's be very clear about this: when a woman finds herself pregnant due to violence and chooses an abortion, it is the violence that is the tragedy; the abortion is a blessing.

When a woman finds that the fetus she is carrying has anomalies incompatible with life, that it will not live and that she requires an abortion — often a late-term abortion — to protect her life, her health, or her fertility, it is the shattering of her hopes and dreams for that pregnancy that is the tragedy; the abortion is a blessing.

When a woman wants a child but can't afford one because she hasn't the education necessary for a sustainable job, or access to health care, or day care, or adequate food, it is the abysmal priorities of our nation, the lack of social supports, the absence of justice that are the tragedies; the abortion is a blessing.

And when a woman becomes pregnant within a loving, supportive, respectful relationship; has every option open to her; decides she does not wish to bear a child; and has access to a safe, affordable abortion — there is not a tragedy in sight — only blessing. The ability to enjoy God's good gift of sexuality without compromising one's education, life's work, or ability to put to use God's gifts and call is simply blessing.

These are the two things I want you, please, to remember — abortion is a blessing and our work is not done. Let me hear you say it: abortion is a blessing and our work is not done. Abortion is a blessing and our work is not done. Abortion is a blessing and our work is not done.


  1. hey, thank you for sharing this. i think it's a wonderful sermon, for one thing, totally right on, and for another thing your experience (not that you had to share that with us) reaffirms so many other women's experiences. we hear a lot about the tragic situations that lead to so many abortions -- and certainly those exist in droves -- but it's unfair that that muffles the many women for whom abortion itself is a blessing. well anyway...thanks again.

  2. This made me cry. Thank you.

  3. There are more prochoice clergy than one may think (particularly Protestant and Jewish). It was clergy who set up the first legal abortion clinic in the U.S. (in NYC--had the office space not come through, it was going to be housed in a church!) Unfortunately, after Roe, clergy have not been nearly as outspoken as they once dared to be before Roe. I hope this is a-changing....

  4. D. Colson - sorry I am late, but thanks for your comment. That bit about the first legal clinic is some fascinating info!


This is not a debate forum -- there are hundreds of other sites for that. This is a safe space for abortion care providers and one that respects the full spectrum of reproductive choices; comments that are not in that spirit will either wind up in the spam filter or languish in the moderation queue.