Disbelief. Anger. Grief. These are the emotions that have been plaguing me since the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
In the wake of yet another brutal and numbing round of mass shootings and still no actions made to regulate gun control.
In the wake of a pandemic that still a shocking percentage of our population refuses to acknowledge as fact.
In the wake of what seemed to be finally some momentum in holding perpetrators of police brutality and racism accountable just to be met with the frustrating stagnant nature of our country failing to address the atrocities committed.
Just merely a year and a half after an insurrection attempt on our democracy, pro-life supporters are celebrating a decision that fails to recognize the importance of the life of women — especially Black, Indigenous and other women of color.
I can’t help but to stop and ask, “What about all these lives being overlooked? Where is the church in all of this?”
In the weeks following the decision, my newsfeed, social media feed and the conversations of those around me were littered with Christians – especially white male Christians – celebrating this “win for God.”
As a Christian woman, I cannot help but sit in disbelief, anger and grief. How could we reduce God such that God “needs” a win like this? What happened to our call to love one another?
What shocks me more, when did the church forget that Christ gave us the gift of choice — the gift to choose him and to invite others to do the same?
When Christ walked this earth, he did not teach us that we must gain influence and control through the government and by force. He did not teach us to reject those who were lost.
Instead, Christ ate with the tax collector. He sat with the marginalized and outcasts of society. He loved them and he gave them the option to choose him. Why is that not the goal of the church now?
We are called to be advocates for those marginalized and oppressed. So, why would we take away the legal right to abortion?
I am a committed Christian woman, and I am a firm believer in the separation of church and state. I am also pro-choice.
The reality is that Black, Indigenous and other women of color are staggeringly overrepresented in our low-income communities. These women have less of a chance to have quality access to health care and education, and they often have less means to care for an unplanned pregnancy.
Black, Indigenous and other women of color also account for the highest percentage of pregnancy-related deaths.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study, “Maternal Mortality Rates in the United States, 2020,” states, “In 2020, the maternal mortality rate for non-Hispanic Black women was 55.3 deaths per 100,000 live births, 2.9 times the rate for non-Hispanic White women (19.1).”
Why has this horrible reality not been the focus of our advocacy? Why are these women’s lives not being prioritized?
Where is the accountability in the medical field? Where are the movements for greater social welfare policies to help these populations have access to better living conditions, treatment and health care?
Even worse, there are efforts underway in several states to restrict access to contraceptives. Why is our country moving to a place where it forces women to be birthing machines?
I fear that we are already deep in the trenches of an environment that welcomes and encourages white Christian nationalism. The rights of so many are being stripped away, and our nation is gripped by white supremacy.
I fear that, as a woman, I am close to losing all my rights, and I am not the only one. It is terrifying that the same logic used to overturn Roe v. Wade could, and most likely will be, used to attack the LGBTQIA+ community if we don’t do something to stop it.
When does this reign of oppression end? Once Loving v. Virginia is overturned? Once white men are the only recognized citizens in our nation again?
While reflecting on these terrifying possibilities, I had to force myself to stop and think about what Christ’s church can and should be doing in these vital moments of history.
First, we should be checking in on one another.
Second, we should be using our voices to advocate for women to have access to the health care and rights that they are owed.
We should be writing to our politicians, marching and moving to a place of learner and seeker. We need to spend time in our communities, listening to those most affected by these decisions to hear what they need and how we can serve.
Third, we should be actively calling out white supremacy in our churches and communities.
Finally, we should be praying.
Now is not the time to stay silent. We have been silent for too long. If we don’t act against these signs of oppression, then we will find that we have lost the ability to stop it.
Editor’s note: This article is part of an ongoing series focused on engaging the emerging generations of faith leaders. If you know anyone who might be interested, encourage them to submit an article for consideration to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A MDiv/MSW student in the George W. Truett Theological Seminary and Diana R. Garland School of Social Work at Baylor University, is entering her last year of the joint-degree program. She is passionate about social justice and hopes to work as a licensed social worker with a nonprofit after she finishes graduate school. Ortiz-Lovince looks forward to living out her faith by being an advocate in her community.