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Faith Leaders fighting for reproductive freedoms

Posted at 7:20 PM, Apr 17, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-17 19:20:34-04

The fight over Florida's six-week abortion ban is just getting started.

Governor Ron DeSantis signed the Heartbeat Protection Act, which expands pro-life protections and devotes resources to help young mothers and families late last Thursday. Now, faith leaders from across the state are coming together in opposition of the abortion ban.

They're expressing concerns with how this could negatively affect the people in their communities.

"If they say they're pro-life, then they have to be pro-life regarding a person's entire life. Not just while we're in the womb," said Reverend Joe Parramore.

Parramore is the Chief Executive Presbyter of New Journey Ministries in Quincy. He's joining other faith leaders from across the state to oppose the six-week abortion ban that was signed into law last week.

Parramore is upset not only that Governor Ron DeSantis signed the bill privately but also that it's taking away the human right to choose.

"Carrying an infant or a baby to full term when the means might not be there or it might be rape or it might be incest or a number of other co-factors is absolutely reprehensible," said Parramore.

Parramore, along with other Catholic and Jewish faith leaders, agree with 75% of Florida voters that approve the legalization of abortion, according to a University of North Florida poll.

Shannon Russell with Catholics for Choice believes the ban will further disenfranchise communities that are already struggling.

"People who are living on the margins and already face discrimination when trying to access health care and we as Catholics are called to prioritize their needs above everybody elses," said Russell.

Laura Rodriguez is a State Policy Advocate for the National Council of Jewish Women. She said they believe the decision to have a child should not be made by the legislature.

"A choice for a pregnant person with her family, her faith leader, the doctor. It's really a personal choice," said Rodriguez.

Parramore said the church will continue to be a refuge and safe space for people needing help.

"This body may not protect you, the church and spaces of faith are there to protect you," said Parramore.

Parramore said they will continue to mobilize and fight for their voices to be heard by Legislatures and the Florida Supreme Court in an effort to stop the ban from taking effect.

Florida previously restricted abortions after 15 weeks before passing the new legislation. However, that policy is being looked at by the Florida Supreme Court.

The new six-week ban will only go into effect if the court deems the previous 15 week ban-legal. Abortion providers have challenged the policy, saying it violates privacy provisions in the state constitution.