As you undoubtedly know, reproductive health, rights, and justice have been under vigorous attack in recent years. In fact, according to the Guttmacher Institute, 92 anti-abortion measures were passed at the state level in 2011—nearly three times the previous record of 35 set in 2005!
However, as you might not know, Unitarian Universalists are mobilizing to be a force for reproductive justice—and we’re hoping you’ll be part of it. Specifically, please join us for a conference call on April 5th at 4:00pm (call info is below).
In this first gathering of reproductive justice activists from around the country, we’re trying to do two things:
First, we’re working closely with Jessica Halperin, UUA Program Associate for Women’s Issues, to build a network of UU individuals and congregations dedicated to reproductive justice.
Second, the 2012 UUA General Assembly in Phoenix will select a new Congregational Study/Action Issues (CSAI) for 2012-2016, and Reproductive Justice is one of the five contenders! It was proposed by the Unitarian Society of Ridgewood, NJ, through Mandy Restivo and Carol Loscalzo, co-chairs of the Reproductive Justice Committee (and 2 of the 3 people writing you this letter). Notably, they had strong support from their minister, the Rev. Kathleen Green, who will be on the April 5th call! Click here for the titles and text of all five options: http://uua.org/statements/current/index.shtml.
Since the UUA General Assembly hasn’t issued a major statement on the issue since 1993, and has never discussed the concept of reproductive justice, we think it’s time! Imagine how much we could accomplish if the whole UUA was studying and action on the issue for FOUR years! Currently we have 3 congregations who have endorsed the proposed CSAI: the Unitarian Universalist Church of Ft. Myers, FL, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Montclair, NJ, and the First Unitarian Society of Denver, CO. We would love to add to the endorsement list! Click here for a definition and short history of reproductive justice: http://reproductivejustice.org/what-is-reproductive-justice.
Although we intend to work closely with Jessica Halperin on building a network for reproductive justice, we must respect that as a UUA staffperson she cannot take a position on any CSAI proposal.
We are joined in this effort by the third writer, Rev. Rob Keithan. Rob is currently a Consulting Minister at the Unitarian Society of Germantown in Philadelphia, which recently launched a reproductive justice task force. In late February, he also started a new job—as Director of Public Policy at the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, a national interfaith organization dedicated to reproductive justice.
We decided that our best approach would be to reach out to as many individuals, congregations and groups who might be interested in joining the network and/or working to get Reproductive Justice selected as the 2012-2016 Congregational Study/Action Issue. We invite you to join us! We are planning a conference call on Thursday, April 5 at 4:00 p.m. Eastern. The call in number is (218) 632-0550, access code: 679579#.
If you would like to join our effort, and/or RSVP for the April 5th call, please visit http://bit.ly/GM7Em5 and share your contact information with us! And, of course, please pass this letter around to any other UUs who might be interested.
We look forward to some energizing—and hopefully successful!—collaboration in the service of promoting Reproductive Justice,
Signed, Carol Loscalzo, Mandy Restivo, and Rob Keithan