Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Lord, Excuse me...
Sometimes at work we talk about religion. Several of the people I work with are quite religious and the balance between their work and spiritual beliefs is complex. One of the medical assistants has made it clear several times that she is only there because it is a job and she knows that "God knows where her heart is." I believe she is right that her God does know where her heart is; I also know that her God is much cooler than she thinks. She is doing God's work, right in the abortion clinic. But not everyone who works in abortion clinics is staunchly pro-choice like the people on this blog.
The nurse at my clinic is Catholic and when asked how she feels about abortion she is unsure. She has verbalized, off the record, that sometimes she is not sure about her personal beliefs around abortion. Her job is separate from her life and most people don't know exactly where she works, they only know that she is a nurse. But -- most importantly -- her internal struggle between her work life and personal life has never been apparent in her patient care. Her ability to provide quality patient care despite contradicting personal beliefs amazes me.
I'm agnostic; I've just figured out that this is the best way to describe my personal beliefs. I believe in a higher power and I believe awesome people existed, like Jesus for example. At the same time I don't claim to know one universal truth. I believe that reproduction is sacred thus Women's bodies are sacred. Abortion is one part of reproduction, it is a sacred decision and only an individual woman can know if it's right for her.
I can't believe in the modern day institution of Christianity or in almost any of the various denominations. I can appreciate some values of Christianity. However, modern-day Christianity as a religious institution contradicts who I am. I'm a lesbian, I'm an abortion provider, I swear, and I'm sure I am full of other sins. When people call abortion provision "baby killing" it's a joke to me because I am 100% confident there is no murdering involved in abortion provision. In fact, I believe abortion it is often life-giving for women and their families. I cannot relate to the shame I have seen some women express due to religious values. I can reassure them. I often ask women who express these kinds of thoughts whether their God is a forgiving God. Although I don't believe they have done anything that warrants being forgiven.
There are several groups that seem to have the complex relationship between religious values and abortion worked out. There is a group called Faith Aloud that offers counseling for women who are pregnant or who have had abortions. This organization also came up with "40 days of prayer to keep abortion care safe and legal" in response to the "40 Days For Life" anti-choice protesters. The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice is another great organization that brings together people of various faiths to advocate and educate about reproductive choice.
*Christianity is the only religion mentioned because this is the primary religion with which I have come in contact in the context of abortion provision.