Supporting Texas Women, as a Person of Faith


The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued a ruling in March that may hurt my daughter and many other Texas women as well. The court upheld provisions of an anti-abortion law that have resulted in women’s health centers having to close. The regulations mean that a woman seeking not just an abortion, but preventive health screenings and care—perhaps someone you or I love, maybe even you—will be confronted by a painful reality: Health centers that performed safe and legal abortions and provide life-saving health care in Texas are being forced to shutter their doors.

When a woman sits down with her doctor and decides to have an abortion, the negative consequences of the Fifth Circuit’s decision are the last thing she needs to deal with. The many circumstances a woman might experience when she gets to this point range from medical challenges to issues of rape and more.

The court said the law “on its face does not impose an undue burden on the life and health of a woman,” but I disagree. This ruling means that a woman will bear a great burden.

Unable to turn to the doctor she trusts, women will be left to travel a long way to one of the few remaining health centers in the region at a cost she might not be able to afford. She may need to find and pay for a caregiver for the children she already has, and what’s more, lose time from work. She will be subjected to a kind of scrutiny about decisions she makes regarding her body that no man would ever be asked to consider.

As a pastor to women and families making medical and spiritual decisions, I recognize the importance of protecting the patient. The court, to the contrary, takes us a step backward, to a time when women were merely property and subject to their husbands’ reign.

Pregnancy is one of the most dangerous things a woman’s body can go through. The court’s decision threatens to bring us back to unsafe home remedies and dangerous practices to end pregnancies. The ruling will force women to birth children they can’t care for, those that can’t survive outside the womb, and those that will die because of a lack of access to proper care. Politicians are playing doctor, creating an even more hazardous situation for women, perhaps a woman that you or I love. Or perhaps the woman is you.

When politicians intrude into the private life of a woman, they invade on her sense of sovereignty. As a spiritual leader, I recognize that our state carries a moral responsibility to honor the private, personal freedom to make choices over one’s body. The politicians who bang the drum of “personal freedom,” and in the same breath promote an increased divide between the rich and the poor, need to know that religious people will not stand by and applaud. This quiet decision by our circuit court should concern us all.

Yes, there is a crisis. This is a catastrophe for the women of our state, and Texas politicians are the sole creator and purveyor of it. And it is a blatant political attack on the well-being of Planned Parenthood and all medical professionals who offer a wide range of women’s health care, from cancer screenings to contraception. Women and men who value freedom need to speak up about this.

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To schedule an interview with Daniel Kanter please contact Communications Director Rachel Perrone at rachel@rhrealitycheck.org.

  • Rabbi Dennis S. Ross

    Thanks for these words, Rev. Kanter. So pleased to hear your voice of faith on behalf of women and families of Texas!

  • Dez

    I’m glad there are believers that respect women, but it can not be ignored that religion in this country has been the biggest factor of denial of rights for women throughout U.S. history. There will always be a mistrust as long as this fight for reproductive justice continues. As an LBGT black atheist woman I have studied enough history to know to be cautious with believers in this country who were in the opposition of many of the rights I have now.

  • gwen graves

    Well done. Well done. It is a time of crisis, the court has spoken, now let the people who believe that all women should have access to all healthcare services, speak out be outraged and be silient no more. When oppression begins it can not be contained…..look at history…it follows a pattern that affects us all. These men making these decisions to prey on the vulnerable at first then in a blink of an eye, we wonder how other oppressive behaviors manifested when we thought that was taken care of, ie voting rights act, illegal detainment, preying on public education, refusal to deal with immigration reform and families being torn apart by deportation, men of color being incarcerated at alarming rates with lives being lost b/c they are not allowed to reenter society even if they have paid their debt to society….these families don’t recover well, kids of color with challenges being pipelines to kiddie jails, then adult jails. Geraldine Ferrari said ” I don’t have to be Black to hate racism, I don’t have to be hungry to hate poverty”. I believe that ripping away the rights of women to have choices, access to healthcare is horrendous, but I KNOW IF WE DO NOT BECOME OUTRAGED AND LOUD, AND HAND OUT PINK SLIPS IN NOV. IT WILL CONTINUE TO BE THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG. OPRRESSION SHOULD BE AN UNWANTED
    GUEST IN EVERY HOUSEHOLD, SILENCE IS A DOOR MAT THAT SAYS WELCOME.
    THANK YOU DANIEL FOR YOUR WORK, YOUR VOICE. COMPASSION AND DIGNITY, WE NERD EVERYONE WHO BELIEVES THAT ALL WOMEN HAVE THE RIGHT TO QUALITY HEALTHCARE SERVICES TO COME OUT OF THE SHADOWS AND RAISE YOUR VOICES……IT IS TRULY A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH.

  • http://plumstchili.blogspot.com/ Plum Dumpling

    Thank you so much, Rev. Kanter. Well said.

  • purrtriarchy

    “Pregnancy is one of the most dangerous things a woman’s body can go through.”

    Thank you for acknowledging this. Anti choicers like to pretend that pregnancy is benign because its “natural”. Or they simply argue that the s*ut deserved it for having sex.

  • http://www.ministerofhealth.org relleven

    Very nicely done Rev. Kanter!

  • Suba gunawardana

    Bravo Rev. Kanter! Now if only you could talk some sense into the religious majority of TX….

  • Arekushieru

    Rev Kantor, I am a Christian Unitarian Universalist. There is a First Unitarian Church in my city, as well. Both of them are adamantly opposed to anti-choice positions. Also, have you (or anyone else on here) heard of the Faith Aloud community?