A coalition of Texas churches is speaking out in opposition to the state's recently passed six-week abortion ban.
Just Texas is a progressive advocacy group run by several church leaders that campaigns for reproductive healthcare, LGBTQ rights and protecting human dignity through social justice.
In late August, the group announced plans to allow churches to designate themselves "Reproductive Freedom Congregations" - churches that were "working to hold conversations on reproductive health, build trust and respect for women, and remove the stigma on reproductive health decisions - including abortion."
Erica Forbes, Just Texas' faith and outreach manager, announced the project one week before the six-week abortion ban went into effect.
If a church wanted to receive the designation as a Reproductive Freedom Congregation, they must affirm three principles:
- "We trust and respect women."
- "We promise that people who attend our congregation will be free from stigma, shame, or judgment for their reproductive decisions, including abortion."
- "We believe access to comprehensive and affordable reproductive health services is a moral and social good."
The intent of the movement appears to be one of hosting conversations about abortion and removing the stigma around the decision. "At our best, congregations are a much better place than the public square for conversations about the personal, nuanced, life-and-death issues that come up for people in their reproductive lives," Rev Amelia Fulbright told the Washington Post.
Fulbright also argues that the designation of Reproductive Freedom Congregation would also allow faith leaders and clergy members to be part of people's decisions, whether that be abortion or having a child.
Just Texas has received some criticism from conservative Christian leaders. Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, argues that Just Texas' designation of abortion as a "moral and social good" rejects Christian teachings.
To date, only 25 Texas churches have received such a designation, with the majority identifying as Unitarian Universalist, while a select few were either Presbyterian or Baptist.