Category Archives: Spirituality

Exploring the Intersections of Faith and Reproductive Rights

Recently, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona co-hosted a workshop with Catholics for Choice, where we explored the intersections of faith and reproductive rights. Marissa Valeri, a Senior Associate in CFC’s Domestic Program, gave workshop attendees an overview of Catholic beliefs as they relate to abortion and birth control, and encouraged the audience to think about how their own religious background has influenced their views on abortion.

One of the points that really resonated with me is that Catholics believe that their individual conscience should be the ultimate guide to what is right, and what is wrong. If someone’s conscience tells them that something is morally right, they should follow their intuition, even if it contradicts a teaching from the Vatican.

I grew up in the Mormon Church. Mormons share a similar belief that everyone will be judged for their own lives and not be held accountable for something someone else does. Mormons also believe in personal revelation from God. I personally believe that if a woman prays about the decision to obtain an abortion and she feels that it is the right decision, no one is in a position to call her decision into question – not even her bishop.

Another thing that stood out for me was that even the Pope doesn’t know when life begins, or when the body receives a soul. If the Pope is the right hand of God and he doesn’t even know the answer to this question, I doubt that the debate will ever be settled. Continue reading

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Can You Be Pro-Choice and Catholic?

Have you ever heard or have you been told

  • “You can’t be pro-choice and Catholic.”
  • “Life begins at conception.”
  • “You have excommunicated yourselves.”

The truth is, you can be pro-choice and Catholic – and indeed, most Catholics are. Catholics can, in good conscience, support access to abortion and affirm that abortion can be a moral choice.

Join us for an interactive workshop with staff from Catholics for Choice to learn the truth about Catholics, Catholic teaching, and abortion. Pro-Choice Catholicism 101: Listening to Your Conscience will outline how it is possible to be both pro-choice and Catholic – and how the vast majority of Catholics support comprehensive reproductive healthcare services.  Continue reading

Amanda is Here Because Women Deserve Better Than Forced “Choices”

Canvassing in LD17 with David Schapira

“She heads for the clinic and she gets some static walkin’ through the doors. They call her a killer, and they call her a sinner, and they call her a whore. God forbid you ever had to walk a mile in her shoes. ‘Cause then you really might know what it’s like to have to choose.”

I remember hearing those Everlast lyrics one day when I was a teenager. My thoughts were very different then, but I was at a different stage in my life. I was a devout Baptist.

As a doting follower, I felt that part of my salvation relied upon opposing abortion. What did that mean to me? That there were lost souls in the world “killing babies” and that it was my duty to stop this atrocity. It meant that I was right because I had the Bible and Jesus Christ on my side, and anyone who opposed me was blinded by Satan and obviously wrong. To be frank, I knew absolutely nothing about abortion; not what it truly was or the reasons for women seeking it. I opposed it because my faith told me to, and it wasn’t a big deal to me.

A few years later, I feel that I was given a dose of my own medicine. Continue reading

Marianne is Here Because Sex Ed Matters

Volunteering at the PPAZ office

I believe in Planned Parenthood. I believe in reproductive freedom, the right to choose, medically accurate sexuality education for all people, access to all reproductive medical care options and, especially, freedom from harassment for women who make that choice.

I am here for Planned Parenthood because I remember my high school years. I grew up in Santa Monica, California and I was educated in the Catholic school system. The best part was this was the early to mid-’70s. There was still kind of a ‘hangover’ from the late ’60s to early ’70s with ‘free love’, ‘summer of love’ and Woodstock. The ‘hangover’ was evident in our high school. The school administration was unabashedly liberal. They actually believed that ‘sex ed’ should be more than just some put-upon phys ed instructor, usually the football coach, trying to maintain order amongst a group of giggling teenagers and passing on some hard-won information about reproduction, sexual intercourse, birth and STDs.

The administration set up a balance of courses that the students passed through at each grade level. Freshman usually started with just the regular catechism courses. These taught the church’s position with regard to birth control and the role of sexual intercourse inside and outside marriage. This was required; after all, we were a Catholic high school. Continue reading

Rev. Mike Smith: Progressive Christianity and a History of Pro-Choice Activism

He may no longer have the beard and shoulder-length brown hair that adorned his head in the 1970s, but Reverend Mike Smith hasn’t lost any of his enthusiasm for social justice and reproductive rights. For four decades, Smith has been a stalwart pro-choice advocate, and those in Southern Arizona who have worked with him have been inspired by his indomitable spirit.

Smith’s personal connection to the fight for reproductive rights began when he was a seminary student in California. In 1965, he took part in the march from Selma to Montgomery that is considered by many to be the climactic event of the Civil Rights Movement. This experience opened his eyes to the potential clergy have to make the world a more humane place, and for Smith, the struggle for civil rights encompassed reproductive freedom. “Out of the civil rights movement and the women’s movement, abortion was just an obvious part of that for me,” says Smith. Continue reading