A group of 44 Religious Left officials has released a statement calling for continued federal funding for Planned Parenthood, the largest provider of abortions in the United States.
The statement, which is signed by several denominational heads and liberal caucus groups within the oldline Protestant churches, coincides with the appearance of Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards on Capitol Hill today. Richards will be testifying before a U.S. House of Representatives committee as part of the on-going investigations into Planned Parenthood’s alleged harvesting and sale of organs from the bodies of aborted children.
The statement reads:
“As religious leaders, we urge Congress to resist efforts to deny federal funds to Planned Parenthood’s non-profit health centers, and other organizations that provide crucial reproductive health care. We ask for an end to politically motivated attacks on women’s sexual and reproductive health. We know that Planned Parenthood provides essential lifesaving services to almost three million people each year, including the most vulnerable families in the U.S. As religious leaders, we support family planning as a means of saving lives, improving reproductive and public health, enhancing sexuality, and encouraging intentional parenthood. We stand with people of faith who have supported Planned Parenthood for nearly one hundred years.”
The statement notably avoids direct mention of abortion and only indirectly refers to the Center for Medical Progress undercover videos that went viral this summer. The videos show Planned Parenthood officials negotiating the sale of organs and include graphic footage of children’s bodies harvested for tissue.
Among the more prominent signatories calling for continued federal funding of Planned Parenthood are United Church of Christ General Minister and President John C. Dorhauer, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) General Minister and President Sharon E. Watkins, Unitarian Universalist Association President Peter Morales and Metropolitan Community Churches Moderator Nancy Wilson.
Dissident Roman Catholic officials also signed the statement, including Catholics for Choice President Jon O’Brien, Call To Action Executive Director Jim FitzGerald and Sister Jeannine Gramick, National Coordinator of the National Coalition of American Nuns.
Officials from several oldine Protestant-affiliated institutions and caucuses are also represented, including Dr. Miguel A. De La Torre of United Methodist-affiliated Iliff School of Theology, Methodist Federation for Social Action Executive Director Chett Pritchett, Episcopal Women’s Caucus Co-Convener Pamela Kandt and More Light Presbyterians Executive Director Alex Patchin McNeill.
The full list of signatories can be viewed here.
In July, a group of clergy forming Planned Parenthood’s Clergy Advocacy Board praised the organization for “doing God’s work.” Read that story here. To learn more about the Clergy Advocacy Board click here.
Nationwide protests against the selling of aborted children for profit took place in August. Read IRD’s coverage here.