Statement on Reproductive Justice by the MCC Council of Elders

Jesus said: “And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right?” (Luke 12:57)

“Following the example of Jesus and empowered by the Spirit, we seek to build leading-edge church communities that demand, proclaim, and do justice in the world.”

(From the MCC Statement of Faith)

Dr. Tlaleng Mofokeng is the United Nations Special Rapporteur on “the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.” In an interview with Public Radio International’s Marco Werman in October, Dr. Mofokeng spoke about Covid’s impact on reproductive health, saying: “We know that in many countries there’s been a regression and a push back on women’s rights and autonomy.” In her role at the UN, Dr. Mofokeng states that “it’s about reinforcing the very important message that women and girls and people capable of becoming pregnant have a right to make informed decisions about their pregnancy outcomes.”

The MCC Elders celebrate that all God’s people are provided with agency – the ability to act independently without coercion from the state, religious bodies or family systems. When MCC gathers in all of its glorious theological diversity, we recognize that while we may have a myriad of spiritualities, we may at the same time encourage one another in seeking God’s truth, justice and salvation. The well-known hymn “They’ll Know We Are Christians By Our Love,” proclaims that “we’ll guard each one’s dignity and save each one’s pride.” MCC is called to protect the dignity of people seeking reproductive justice and resist political manipulation that aims to eliminate self-determination.

Some countries and states have taken drastic steps to reduce access to abortion and this is a matter of both reproductive and economic justice. While on the surface the recent decisions seem to be limited to abortion, they are also about a continuing disdain of poor people (people with financial means have always and will always have access to abortion due to their money and connections). Economic inequality often makes an appearance alongside gender inequality.

Everyone should be empowered to make decisions about their own body: every person is born with sexual and reproductive rights. This means they are entitled to equal access to health services like contraception and safe abortions, to choose if, when, and who they marry, and to decide if they want to have children and if so how many, when and with whom. People are to live without fear of forced marriage, forced pregnancy, forced abortion or forced sterilization.

Dr. Mofokeng says that “It’s important to realize that fundamentally the right to health entitles all of us the right to autonomy, to bodily integrity, to dignity and the practice of medicine in itself should be a protection and a defense for human rights.”

The spiritual support MCC may provide for those pursuing reproductive justice is a ministry of companioning, journeying with people as they reflect on Jesus’s words, “And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right?” The companion walks with the person whatever their decision or choice about their reproductive health. The spiritual companion is present with people (online or in-person) and helps all to accept God’s grace that has already arrived.