Pay any attention to the conservative right on the issue of abortion and you would think that supporting abortion rights is anathema to religious faith. But at least one Washington advocacy group would like to change that perception.
The Faith Initiative at the Center for American Progress launched its Faith and Reproductive Justice Leadership Institute on Tuesday. The Institute “will provide new and seasoned leaders with the resources they need to be effective faith advocates for women’s reproductive health”.
This will include helping left-leaning clergy speak out effectively for abortion rights. The Institute is hosting an initial training session over two days this week and has scheduled another for September. This year the Institute expects to train 20 faith leaders from across the country, including clergy, activists and staff from mainline denominations.
“Religion does support a woman’s personal decision-making about whether she is ready to become a parent,” said Sally Steenland, director of the Faith Initiative at the Center for American Progress. “Too often conventional wisdom pits religion against reproductive rights,” Steenland said. “But for most women there is no conflict between their faith and their commitment to reproductive freedom.”
According to Steenland the Institute has been in the works for two years, but once the Catholic Church and other religious institutions stepped up their attacks on women’s rights the program gained a new timeliness.
“Attacks on women’s health have been especially strong in the past several months – sometimes disguised as a religious liberty issue – which makes the Leadership Institute more important than ever,” Steenland said.
Photo from suvodeb via flickr.