Religious leaders from several groups gathered at an abortion clinic in McAllen, Texas, Wednesday to express their support and “bless” it, although the event received plenty of criticism on social media.
The gathering at Whole Woman’s Health in McAllen was organized by the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC), Just Texas and Catholics for Choice, and was similar to “blessings” previously held in Austin and Forth Worth.
Rev. Cari Jackson, clergy in residence with the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, told supporters that pro-life laws restricting abortion are “ungodly, unconstitutional and unacceptable.”
“We have come to Texas with a serious and yet also joyous focus: to affirm the staff and patients at Whole Woman’s Health as being blessed in their role of providing compassionate care,” she said.
“We want to show them a different vision of faith than they may have experienced before – one that upholds reproductive health, advocates for reproductive justice, and celebrates the beauty and power of supporting the bodily autonomy of each and every person that comes through their doors,” Jackson added.
Clergy leaders sang and prayed outside the clinic and held candles, KGBT reported. Supporters held signs reading “God Bless Safe Abortion Access” and “Blessing Heart, Body & Mind.” Nearby, pro-lifers offered a different message with a sign reading, “Abortion Stops a Beating Heart.”
Gaby Garcia-Vera of Catholics for Choice said, “faith is not copyrighted by the small band of antiabortion protestors outside a clinic” but “alive and well in the passion and commitment of so many abortion providers inside the clinic.”
“Abortion in good faith is about compassion for all and respect for each one exercising conscience,” Garcia-Vera said.
A press release said the leaders gathered at the clinic to “bless the only Texas abortion clinic south of San Antonio.”
But on KGBT’s Facebook page, most of the reaction was negative.
“‘Faith leaders’ you have blood on your hands because you have been seduced by evil to allow for murder and call it reproductive rights,” one person wrote.
“I dont (sic) know what god they pray to but it is not God,” another wrote.
Still another person wrote, “I love how they put cool names [like] Reproductive Rights … lets (sic)call it by its real name ‘killing babies’”
Michael Foust is a freelance writer. Visit his blog, MichaelFoust.com.
Photo courtesy: Getty Images/Cecilie Arcurs
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, The Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.