These days, in Lubbock, TX, you can hardly drive down the city streets without seeing signs for both sides of the election regarding Proposition A. However, what it means to “Vote for Life” is very debatable.
I find myself in an isolated position in West Texas by being a pro-choice Christian faith leader. I am a pro-choice faith leader and I will be voting AGAINST Proposition A, the Sanctuary City for the Unborn Ordinance, on May1st . I am fully supporting the Lubbock Coalition for Healthcare Access and Leave Lubbock Alone campaigns and will be voting to support the rights of women and healthcare providers in Lubbock, TX and our surrounding communities.
Lubbock is known as the Hub City because it is in a unique situation, serving communities all around it, especially for healthcare services. Safe and legal abortion is an essential healthcare service that all women should have access to without fear of punishment or having to drive hundreds of miles and face unfair financial burdens. Movements like this specific proposition undermine safe and private access to healthcare for all people. Our Scriptures in the Christian faith should not be used in ways that justify taking away the rights of any person or actively causing harm to others.
Proposition A would force women to endure harmful situations by carrying out pregnancies with no exceptions. This means that even in cases of rape, incest, or when the woman’s life is in danger, she would have to endure psychological/emotional/and physical abuse and torture by being forced to endure these pregnancies. Doctors could determine that a pregnancy is nonviable in the second month, but this proposition would force the woman to risk her life in an attempt to deliver at term.
This will remove medical options for women who lose babies in utero. It is an act of violence to restrict abortion access when study after study shows that states with the most abortion restrictions also have the highest maternal and infant mortality rates. The last time Texas fought for this in 2016, 100,000women lost access to safe abortions and attempted self-abortions. Texas has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the developed world.
Even more so, Proposition A will create an environment where doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers can be threatened with the potential of lawsuits by providing healthcare that could be needed to save the life of a woman and would actively contradict the common oath taken by healthcare providers of “do no harm.” Propositions and ordinances like Proposition A ultimately deny the sacred worth of women. If this proposition passes, the lives of women in Lubbock will be negatively impacted.
This election alone was estimated, back in December, to cost the city $160,000. This money could have easily been put into our communities elsewhere to better the lives of all members of the Lubbock community. ‘
Just because abortion might not align with your own personal religious views, not all people in our communities are of the same faith, and to force people to follow propositions based on one individual faith is unjustifiable. My faith and beliefs lead me to speak out in favor of a woman’s right to choose, especially in regard to her own healthcare access. As a Christian, we are called by Jesus to love one another as ourselves. To force women to carry unintended or dangerous pregnancies is not an act of love in any circumstance and is instead an intentional act of harm.
As a United Methodist and Christian faith leader, I adamantly advocate for the need for access to safe access to pregnancy and termination services. As a United Methodist, we believe that “creating the personal, environment, and social conditions in which health can thrive is a joint responsibility—public and private” and that “health care is a basic human right.” In this basic human right, we affirm the “right of men and women to have access to comprehensive reproductive health/family planning information and services.” 1 (The Book of Discipline, 2016, ¶162, 129-30.)
Propositions and bans like these only strip people, women in this instance, of their God-given human right to bodily autonomy and would cause unimaginable and irreparable harm. As humans, we should all have the right to choose what happens to our own bodies and have access to safe medical services. To restrict women of their reproductive rights will strip them of their God-given human right and the agency they have regarding their own bodies.
“Voting for Life” means voting for the lives of the women in our community. Voting for life means honoring and protecting our women by providing healthcare and family planning services, including termination of non-viable pregnancies and pregnancies that would threaten the wellbeing of the strong, viable women in our community.
I want to say that the absolute harm that Proposition A would bring to women is unimaginable, but I am seeing this tragedy play out in many communities like ours. These are being blocked by courts almost immediately based on a lack of standing and its inability to be enforced.
By voting against Prop A, I AM voting for life, but I am voting for the lives of the women who live, work, raise families, and build this community.
Associate Pastor of Student Ministries.
St. John’s United Methodist Church, Lubbock, TX
1 United Methodist Church (U.S.), Emory S. Bucke, J. Wesley Hole, and John E. Proctor. The Book of Discipline of theUnited Methodist Church. Nashville, Tenn: United Methodist Pub. House, 2016.