In May of 2022, the Dobbs decision of the Supreme Court was leaked. Around the country, states, communities, women, and medical practitioners braced for an immediate removal of reproductive rights from about half the country.
At First Unitarian, we were contacted by a national nonprofit organization called Just the Pill, which has created innovative service models like telehealth, mobile, and pop-up clinics while also maintaining connections with colleagues in brick-and-mortar abortion clinics. They aim not only to mitigate the harm of state abortion bans and restrictions but also address barriers to access, including geographic distance (travel and logistical issues), language and financial barriers, limited clinic options, state restrictions, and clinic policies not fully centered on patients and their well-being.
Just the Pill asked First Unitarian to become a site for them. Anticipating people heading to Colorado to access safe abortions, we wanted to help them. However, there was no Faith in Action – a social justice committee to house the project. A small group of church members, led by Minister Mike Morran, put together the application, which was approved at the June 2022 congregational meeting.
From the Faith in Action Application:
“Anticipating the overturning of Roe v. Wade, and up to 26 states poised to enact more restrictive laws around abortion, First Unitarian Society of Denver seeks to establish a Women's Reproductive Rights and Justice congregational project that will advocate for the rights of women and their self-determination when it comes to reproductive health and access to safe abortions.”
- Goal 1: Facilitate or assist agencies or mobile clinics that provide direct services to women seeking abortions, health, birth control, or other reproductive health services.
- Goal 2: Educate the congregation and others about reproductive rights and justice.
- Goal 3: Advocacy - support legislation and policies supportive of reproductive health and justice for women at the local, state, and national levels.
- Goal 4: Witnessing - Explore the formation of ongoing groups or one-time events for women to share their stories (anonymous or identified). Participate in any relevant marches or protests (which we later decided would go with Advocacy).
After our first year, a small group took some time and revisited our structure, our focus, and the reality that we cannot do everything around this topic. And we do not want to duplicate the efforts of local organizations. We landed on the following Vision Statement: As a result of the work of the Reproductive Justice Initiative, members of First Unitarian will create and contribute to systems of community support that empower people to make their own choices.
This means that:
- Interested members of First Unitarian know how they could get involved in supporting the Reproductive Justice Initiative at FUSD.
- Interested members of FUSD find ways to contribute based on their skills/interests.
- First Unitarian consistently gives financially as well as time (volunteers) to Reproductive Justice organizations that provide access, education, & advocacy.
- The organizations we work with have a positive experience working with us, and our relationships deepen.
- Members of First Unitarian know how to support reproductive justice in their everyday lives and interactions.
- Attendees at Reproductive Justice Events we host feel cared for and understood, learn something new, and/or make a connection.
- First Unitarian members involved in with the initiative have positive and/or meaningful experiences.
How you can become involved:
We welcome all who want to support our efforts by attending one event or joining us for monthly meetings on Zoom and taking on leadership roles within the committee. We meet on the 3rd Monday of the month via Zoom. All who are interested in helping are welcome. Please email email@example.com.