Op-Ed: What is Christ-like when it comes to reproductive health? NC pastor shares story

Op-Ed: What is Christ-like when it comes to reproductive health? NC pastor shares story

FILE - Abortion rights protesters are removed after becoming vocal, Tuesday, May 16, 2023, in Raleigh, N.C. North Carolina abortion service providers prepare for a potential influx of people from Florida after the state's six-week abortion ban was enacted Wednesday, May 1, 2024. (AP Photo/Chris Seward, File)

By Rev. Beth Kennett

June 24, 2024

In August 1993, I discovered I was pregnant with our first child. My husband and I began incorporating more healthy practices in our lives as we were excited and wanting to have a healthy pregnancy as a healthy beginning for our child.  

At our 12-week checkup, we were excited to hear the heartbeat of the baby. The doctor put the cold jelly on the ultrasound device and began to press into my belly. We could hear some swishing and something that sounded like a heartbeat, the doctor listened carefully, a perplexed look on her face.  She asked me some questions; we had some conversation. 

She said, “You are very early in your pregnancy, I expect that everything is ok, I want you to go over to radiology and let’s get an internal ultrasound. I want to be sure that everything is fine.”  

We walked across the parking lot into the hospital’s radiology clinic and the image from that machine was very clear, our little, tiny baby/fetus was not moving. We numbly walked back across the parking lot to the OB/GYN office, and our doctor sat with us and shared that we needed to make a decision about what would happen next. She recommended that we schedule to have a D & C (Dilation and Curettage) as soon as possible, to maintain my health and because the fetus was not alive.

If this had happened after July 1, 2023, in North Carolina, the doctor would have to determine the woman’s life was at risk. If candidates like Mark Robinson are elected, women and doctors will not have a choice concerning reproductive health.

Radical right-wing Republicans in the state of North Carolina want to limit women’s reproductive healthcare even more than they already have. The Republican candidate for Governor, Mark Robinson, consistently shows a complete disregard and disrespect for women and for women’s healthcare. He has made it clear that if he is elected, he will push for a total abortion ban in the state of North Carolina.  

As a pastor and hospital chaplain, I have worked with women of all ages and in many different circumstances who have struggled and wrestled with choices in their own reproductive health. For almost 50 years, 1973 – 2022, women had choices for their reproductive health. Since the Dobbs decision in 2022, women have lost rights and choice in their own healthcare.  

In the Christian Scriptures, we find many stories of Jesus meeting the people that society pushed to the edges, many women, and accepting them as whole, beloved, worthy creations of God. Many faith traditions acknowledge that all are moral agents of our own bodies; it is compassionate and faithful, even Christ-like, to affirm all women in the decisions they make regarding their bodies and their reproductive health. 

When people use Christianity to demoralize others or limit the rights of other people, we have a responsibility to raise the question, Is this like Jesus? Is this Christ-like?


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