Kentucky Baptist minister explains how Texas’ draconian abortion law makes her job 'more difficult'
Although Texas' draconian new anti-abortion is being applauded by many far-right white evangelical Christian nationalists, the law is not universally loved among Christians. The Rev. Lauren Jones Mayfield is one of the law's outspoken critics. In an op-ed published by Time Magazine on September 20, the Louisville, Kentucky-based pastor explains why she is vehemently opposed to Texas Senate Bill 8.
Mayfield, who serves as vice chair of Planned Parenthood's Clergy Advocacy Board, explains, "As a Baptist pastor from a midsize southern city in a conservative red state, I know firsthand who suffers when politicians attempt to limit the right of every person to determine whether, when and how to become parents. I also know how vital it is for people of faith to speak up in these religious spaces and show how strongly we disagree with government officials who would play politics with the health and wellbeing of people from our communities."
Mayfield continues, "That's why, when I was invited to join Vice President Kamala Harris' roundtable of patients and health care providers facing the impact of abortion restrictions in their states this month, I was grateful for the opportunity to represent the tens of thousands of clergy around the country who strongly support access to reproductive health care — including abortion access — as a moral issue and a calling supported by our faith's first teaching to do no harm and love our neighbors. I wanted the vice president to understand how a law like Texas' radical Senate Bill 8 — which bans most abortions after around six weeks and empowers private citizens to sue anyone who helps a pregnant person get an abortion after that period — might make my job more difficult in Kentucky."
The Texas law is so draconian that after about six weeks, it outlaws abortion even in cases of rape or incest.
"Under this extreme Texas law," Mayfield notes, "someone can be sued by a neighbor, an abusive partner or even a complete stranger simply for helping a patient access abortion care. That even includes clergy members who provide counseling to members of our communities who have decided that having an abortion is best for them. In short, my colleagues and I could be sued for supporting our communities and providing counsel."
Mayfield adds, "Furthermore, this vigilante approach may deter someone from confiding in their pastor. When folks cannot seek the care of their pastor, holy ground is jeopardized, and everyone is hurt. The ripple effects of this unconstitutional law extend beyond Texas courthouses and into the sanctums of our most sacred relationships. Essentially, SB 8 cruelly isolates people from their support systems."
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