I’m a Pro-Life Pastor, but I Support a Woman’s Right to Choose

Oct 25, 2022 · 693 comments
Jim Brokaw (California)
Wow. Just wow. The Rev. captured entirely my personal beliefs. Abortion is a terrible, terrible thing, and a terrible, last alternative. But it should be the woman's choice. With her doctor, and her partner - if *she* chooses... but if there is no partner in the picture, the it is *her* choice, not anyone elses. With a doctor if she is lucky enough to be able to afford a doctor. And it is the height, the very pinnacle of hypocrisy and deceit to claim to be "pro life" and not support adequate prenatal care for pregnant women, regardless of their ability to pay. It is the height of hypocrisy to claim to be "pro life" and be 'pro guns'. It is the height of hypocrisy to claim to be "pro life" and not support adequate food and medical care for poor children. It is the height of hypocrisy to claim to be "pro life" and not support a quality education for poor children, so they can escape the cycle of poverty. It is the height of hypocrisy, the very peak of hypocrisy to claim to be "pro life" and then do nothing to support the born children of poor families. There are a whole lot of "pro life" hypocrites walking and talking about. If someone claims to be "pro life", ask them how they feel about gun control. Ask them how they feel about healthcare for poor children. Ask them how they feel about housing assistance for poor families with children. Ask these "pro life" people what they are doing, what they are supporting, to help the *born* children?
Karen (California)
Everyone should take this attitude. If someone doesn't want an abortion, then don't have one. But don't make these decisions (which should be between a woman, her doctor and family, if she so chooses) for others. Government has no business making medical decisions for women and girls. Contrary to what the far right, forced birth crowd claims to believe, women don't consider abortion as a form of birth control. Women and girls get pregnant because their form of birth control failed, their partner refused to use a condom, teenagers deprived of sex education know any better, etc. In forced birth states, women who need medical intervention (a miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, placenta previa, a non-viable fetus, etc.) are being denied care until they're on death's door. Someone IS going to die. 10 and 12 year old girls are being forced to carry pregnancies that are the result of rape and incest (the average weight of a 10 year old girl is 75 lb., a pregnancy 25 lb., that child will likely die). As Bill Clinton said of abortion, it should be "safe, legal and rare." Abortion is never an easy choice, sometimes the best choice, always a woman's choice.
Cp (Portland)
A powerful sermon which certainly shows he understands the needs and plight of his parishioners. I certainly understand why he focused on the struggles of poor black communities because that is who he speaks for. It of course goes without saying that much of this applies to all poor women, including those who are white, Hispanic, etc. And while I don’t expect him to necessarily state that, I do hope he understands it and also understands that all women, even those with more financial resources, are suffering under laws that don’t allow us to make our own reproductive and medical decisions. When doctors can’t properly treat their patients for fear of being imprisoned and so women must suffer unnecessarily and maybe lose their lives as a result. That isn’t pro-life. He ultimately shows he is pro-choice but calls himself pro-life, a term which I hope he realizes is lie and was created and marketed cleverly to try and show an absolute moral high ground against which who could argue. I mean who is going to say that aren’t pro-life right? But of course as he points out the “pro-life” movement doesn’t care about the lives of people who have already been born, which it should be pointed out for most people and to the Jewish faith, is when life actually starts. By using the term pro-life he feeds into the lie of that terminology.
Nash Reiter (Chicago)
Abortion is a woman’s God Given Right.
ChrisW (DC)
Umm, s Why is a pastors views on the issue more relevant than anyone else’s? Because the author wants to say religion should be a factor? But only a religious view the author agrees with?
Robertp✡️ (Spring Creek Nv.)
I think the pastor’s views are important because he is the only one trying to find common ground the fact that he is a pastor has nothing to do with it. Saying it is a religious view is a cop out. Not everyone trying to do something good religious.
Karen (California)
@ChrisW This article is of interest because it presents a different view of choice. Most Christian churches (especially evangelical) preach forced birth, trying to make it appear to be god's opinion. This pastor makes it clear that forced birth isn't the only choice.
People of the Global Majority (Planet Earth)
Abortion covers services were the fetus is not viable; as such, wholesale outlawing based on just the word "abortion" is illogical and unethical. A miscarriage in medical terms is "spontaneous abortion." Abortion is merely the interruption of a pregnancy in medical terms. It's also important to understand that legality and medical necessity do not always align; thus no legal limit to a medical procedure spanning myriads of situations is necessary. Even in countries with liberal abortion laws like Europe, there are medical ethics boards that evaluate cases where abortion is requested later than the first trimester (see the Wikipedia article on abortion in Europe), so any law allowing abortion inherently has limits imposed on it by virtue of medical ethics considerations (e.g. where fetus is viable, usually 24 weeks in most cases). There is also the issue that we are needlessly criminalizing a procedure that will happen anyway in a more dangerous and unsafe manner, which creates greater risk. And if we truly want to make abortion rarer, we do have to have a more holistic approach to reproductive education and care.
Leslie Weinberg (Stamford CT 06905)
I testified after the Roe v. Wade Decision for the CT Legislature. They were considering whether that decision should be Connecticut Law as well. I never had to address that myself. However, I thought then and now choice should be available for those who need to make it. If our country provided good services for women and children, such as Paid Family Leave and Free Child Care and better income also needed. Some parents work two low wage jobs, part time without benefits. Being able to afford to have a child should be considered.
Summer (Wisconsin)
Moved me to tears!
Houston Transplant (Houston, TX)
Unless you are a man who can say that you have ALWAYS taken responsibility for birth control (and no, that doesn’t mean assuming your partner is on birth control or will bring it up if she wants you to use it), I do not have any interest in hearing your opinion in what a women should or shouldn’t do when it comes to her body and her health.
Michael Browder (Chamonix, France)
@Houston Transplant I do, if you want me to pay child support forever. It's that simple.
Robertp✡️ (Spring Creek Nv.)
You make a good point in the male should take responsibility. I would think there be a way or we could come up with a way that men could make themselves temporary sterile and if they didn’t and got a woman pregnant and the woman didn’t want to take the responsibility of taking care of the baby the man would have to.
@Michael Browder If you are so concerned about having to pay child support, then take the appropriate measures YOURSELF to make sure that you don't create a child.
Bach (Grand Rapids, MI)
Rev. Clinton L. Stancil may seem to be trying to square a circle here, but his position was actually the mainstream religion position until Jerry Falwell and his ilk pushed right wing politics into the god question. If I’m forced to declare the personhood of an embryo determined by religion, I’ll support the orthodox Jewish interpretation as correct… personhood is conferred when half the head emerges from the birth canal. Give me a break. It’s religion. You can hoist the religion flag to justify every time you have a thought that normally is “slap you on the forehead dumb.” Religion is either the ultimate abusive relationship or it’s the longest game of telephone imaginable.
Joan (Providence)
At last, a Christian pastor who cares for the living.
D. Lieberson (MA)
“Life's Work: A Moral Argument for Choice” by Dr. Willie Parker, an African-American OB/Gyn and devout Christian who is one of the few remaining abortion providers in several southern states, is a must read. His memoir is thought-provoking and engaging and examines the many sides of a complex, polarizing issue.
Josie (California)
I appreciate so much that he points out the hypocrisy of the pro life movement; there is no interest whatsoever in long term outcomes. Republican politicians rave about no exceptions but never mention assistance to struggling mothers. Just police state forced parenthood and you’re on your own.
Mawm4 (San Diego, CA)
Simply, yes.
Meredith Priestley (Solana Beach, CA)
I agree with this pastor and this is why: God never prevented people from sinning; he didn't erect a fence around the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil to keep them from eating it. Why then do we feel we should legislate and prevent people from exercising their free choice when God never did?
Many people call themselves pro-life when they are actually just pro-birth. You are not pro-life if you walk away after the birth and don't make efforts to improve the well-being of the mother and her child. You are not pro-life if you are not willing to institute gun control measures to prevent the deaths of innocent people. You are not pro-life if you refuse to advocate for climate control which is destroying people's lives on many levels throught the entire world.
Thomas Zaslavsky (Binghamton, N.Y.)
Good for Mr. Stancil for not imposing his views upon others. Why can't the anti-abortionists follow him? The only understandable reason, to me, is religion and especially religious leaders who whip up their congregants (including the American Catholic bishops) using abortion as a tool. BTW, "faith leader" is a euphemism for "religious leader". Let's be more honest. There are many kinds of faith besides religious belief. (This is not directed particularly at the writer.)
Michael (Barcelona)
When does life begin? Does it begin at viability? No, that can’t be right, the deadliest day in the human life cycle is day one because many people are born unable to survive outside the womb. But there’s no debate that a baby with a defective heart is a life. Does it begin with a heartbeat? Again, no, unless you think the vast majority of life in the world (plants, bacteria, fungus, etc) is not life. So a fetus is a life. To deny that is to deny science. Let’s move on to personhood. When does personhood begin? Does it begin at viability? Again, we run into the same problem as life beginning at viability, a baby that will die on his first day out of the womb is definitely a person. So maybe personhood begins with a baby’s first breath? That’s some magical breath, isn’t it? One could say it’s a spiritual argument. Logic, science and philosophy prove life and personhood begins at conception. Don’t force your pro-choice religion on to me.
Rochelle Goldstein (Barcelona)
I don’t hear anybody forcing their religious views on you Michael. If you were a woman, feeling the way you do, I’d counsel you not to have an abortion. Ever. But it doesn’t look as if that’s going to be a problem for you anytime soon.
lise (california)
I fail to understand how you feel anything is being forced on you, when clearly your position is that we have to agree with you. surely you can see at the very least, that you are not being forced anymore than you are forcing. however, your stance has a number of teal world consequences that do, indeed impose your will on other peoples freedoms, and endangers women's lives. you can have your opinion, but don't play the victim here.
lise (california)
dude, that plants and animals are alive doesn't seem to stop us from killing and eating them. personhood is a construct, not a scientific fact.
Carolyn (California)
This is a powerful and reasonable way to approach the thorny issue of abortion. It gets down to the recognition that you certainly have the right to not have an abortion, but that not allowing others to is a life threatening choice one is making about others who are in different circumstances and who have other beliefs that are just as valid.
CK (Los angeles)
I had the privilege to work with multiple Christian clergy groups recently on how to communicate accross difference. As part of this work, we have them fill out a survey on controversial topics and then use the results to put them into practice groups. When asked to scale " I believe abortion is morally wrong", almost 100% agree. But as to the statement, I believe the decisions around abortion should be made by a woman and her doctor and not the government, there was a wide range of views with some strongly agreeing with this statement. I don't know why the Republican party thinks even the most religious Americans want the absolute bans that so many states are proposing. It really does speak to some other agenda.
sjs (Bridgeport, CT)
People with money never understand what it is like to be without money. They don't understand how hard poverty makes everything. I just hopped in the car and drove up to the supermarket to get something for lunch. I remember when I couldn't do that. Because I was watching every penny. Because I didn't have a car and the bus didn't run very often. Because, honestly, it wouldn't have occurred to me to do it. It just wasn't something poor people did.
B Glavin (California)
This sermon is powerful. I am not black but what stood out to me in his words were the following sentiments: 1) Reverend Stancil's statement that the decision to have an abortion was not his choice, it was the woman's. Because of the impact of an unplanned pregnancy on that person's life, the consequences of which no other person will understand or live with. 2) The statement that white legislators do not understand the plight of black people in poverty and when they pass laws that affect black lives it rarely turns out well. I would say this comment would apply to all people who live in poverty. And I actually think this statement applies to all legislators of on both sides.
magicisnotreal (earth)
Seems appropriate to me to address Alito's recent revelations of the fantasy world he bases his decisions in. Mr Alito, That FEAR of yours is your conscience. Your mind is still honest enough that it is concerned about the consequences of that dishonesty. Magical thinkers would say it is your god punishing you for your dishonesty. This kind of paranoia is the actual reason you should not be dishonest. It destroys you from within. The dishonesty can seem so natural and "right" as long as you can keep dissociating from your conscience. One way this is done is to pretend that these paranoid imaginings are legitimate fears of other people. Either way you suffer and eventually you end up destroying your own ability to trust anything. When you can no longer trust, your inner life becomes very dark indeed. And if you continue to dissociate the paranoid fantasies just get darker and darker.
Johnnie (Florida)
I agree with his pro choice stance…but it’s not a black or any specific person of color position…it’s a woman and a specific situation position…take color out of the equation!
SandyLand (San Francisco Bay Area)
Women vote for their own subjugation. No question.
Bob in NM (Los Alamos, NM)
Don't you think a woman's decision about a pregnancy should involve (1) the woman, (2) those close to her, (3) her doctors, and (4) her faith. BUT NOT POLITICIANS!!
Gina B (North Carolina)
It's why I shared it.
HDH. (Utah)
logical (NYC)
The notion of "i oppose abortion but support others right to get it" is incoherent. Why would he oppose it? Why would he urge anyone not to get one? What is wrong with abortion in any way that would make it something to discourage? People oppose abortion because they consider it murder. And no one in their right mind would say "i oppose murder, but i support your right to kill others." If abortion isnt murder, if its just like any medical procedure, then there is no reason to discourage it. If it is murder, there is no reason for it to be legal.
MJ (Northern California)
@logical The issue is that there is a huge spectrum of opinion on the timeframe of when abortion should be permissible. So it's a matter of recognizing that other people may, in good conscience, sit somewhere else on the spectrum from where you do, and you don't feel that you can impose your conscientious view on them. That's the logic behind that thinking.
Caroline (San Jose)
What I got out of this is that the Reverend opposes abortion on moral grounds. He is pro life. But when it comes to who gets to decide what to do with a pregnancy, he supports the idea of a woman’s right to choose what she does with her own body. I see no conflict in these two stances. Everyone’s morals are different and no one has the right to impose their own morals on others, especially when it comes to what to do with one’s OWN body. People find themselves in moral dilemmas all the time and that’s when they must make their own decisions rather than having others tell them what to do.
wrock76t (Iowa)
very effective sermon, cause it does not mince words to tell it as it is,
mmph (Winter Garden FL)
I’m sorry. This is a very important topic. I totally support a woman’s right to choose. As far as I’m concerned, it definitely isn’t open for discussion. It falls under the category of ‘none of your business’ , and ‘keep your bible off my body’. However, I couldn’t help laugh just a little when I read that the pastor had been, until he was sixtyish ,an IBMer. Having been around for a long time now, and having associations with so many in the ‘computer revolution’ of the last fifty years, it’s not possible to think of the old joke about the IBM salesman, the guy who sits on the edge of the hotel bed, on his wedding night, and tells his bride to be “ how great is going to be”. I know. Old joke. And way past it’s best before date. However, I can’t help but think that the transition from IBMer to religion, (a business based solely on the promise of an afterlife) is apropos.
Tom (San Jose)
It's good that there's a religious person who disagrees with abortion but thinks it should still be legal. I mean that, but here's a problem with this, and with the thinking of all the people who believe this is "the answer." And this problem, by the way, connects with the Time's featured story "Climate Pledges Are Falling Short, and a Chaotic Future Looks More Like Reality." There is science, and there is truth, those things exist, and they matter. So, a fetus is a fertilized egg attached to a woman's body. It is not a human being. Same as climate change - it is real. Trying half-stepping solutions have had real, and very negative, consequences. Promoting some sort of "middle ground" has not done one thing to stop the devastation of climate change. And promoting some sort of "middle-of-the-road legal but rare" nonsense has done nothing to stop the attacks on women (sorry Hillary & Tipper & Barak and all the rest). There is a crying need to come to grips with what the movement against abortion is - a movement to drive women back to the dark-ages enslavement of "barefoot & pregnant." Pretending we can be something other than scientific about reality has gotten us to a very dark, bleak place. Both for women and for the planet.
logical (NYC)
@Tom Biologically that fetus in the womb is a living organism of the homo sapien species. Ignore all religion, all morality, and just go by what is scientific, thats a life.
SA (Massachusetts)
@logical Yeast is also alive, not to mention already living and breathing beef cattle. We make life and death decisions about organisms all day, every day.
Steve (London, UK)
A totally inconsistent position - unborn life is absolutely sacred, but you have the choice to terminate it.
Emily (CT)
@Steve I had the same thought, those two positions cannot logically co-exist.
sjs (Bridgeport, CT)
@Emily Yes, I can understand how complexity is difficult for some people so they prefer to deal only with absolutes. That way they don't have to think but only obey.
B Glavin (California)
@Steve They are not inconsistent when you factor in the life of the mother as well. It is typical to forget that, and to forget the complications, and health risks associated with pregnancy. Being a man, I would dare say you have never lived this reality. Precisely the point of this sermon.
Michael Clark (Philadelphia)
It is all about the separation of Church and State. Abortion has been a winning ticket for those who want to impose their views on society as a whole. In reality, abortion is not a moral issue for them; it is a power issue.
Trying for wisdom (Flyover country)
Just because a person is pro-choice does not mean they think abortion is not wrong. It’s just that we think forcing a woman to bear a child against her will is MORE wrong.
magicisnotreal (earth)
@Trying for wisdom The honest Christian way to prevent abortion is sex education before puberty, universal healthcare for all, free birth control. What goes without saying here is the required maturity of the adults involved. IDK how to fix that problem.
Tina (Austin, TX)
I wish and hope more people find this find and it changes their thoughts as well.
comengedit (san francsico)
Beyond non-consensual sex, and the very rare incidents of properly observed birth control, there is NO debate, because unwanted pregnancies don't exist. Used properly, the myriad effective birth-control choices render unwanted pregnancy a non-issue, yet it has become the single issue that serves our binary political system and dividing us most sharply to serve its need to do that. Abortion is an undesirable, consequential choice of irresponsibility. But that a man and a woman must make responsible choices when having sex is a laughable notion. Hence we remain divided where there should be no argument. I lament the lazy, unconscious behaviors of my species. We could be moving onto much better things just by developing self-responsibility.
Da Bushroo (Earth)
@comengedit Naive, at best.
Susan Pfettscher (california)
@comengedit Your comments are riddled with blaming and shaming. I am sorry to tell you that no medications or devices are 100% effective. This is true with birth control as it is with any other medication used to treat various conditions/diseases. Only celibacy or sterilization can prevent pregnancy in a fertile female so perhaps that is what you should be advocating for. Even vasectomies in the male species have been known to fail. Some pregnancies (including those that are ectopic) will kill a woman--is that acceptable to you also?
Steve Midgley (California)
@comengedit No birth control is 100% effective. And what about ectopic pregnancies and other clinical issues necessitating abortion? So even in your narrow world of perfect personal responsibility, your prescription for limits on abortion don't solve the problem.
Nancy (Canada)
It takes two to get pregnant. Why are men not responsible as well? To further the pastor’s point, the legislators not care about the children after they are born but they don’t care about the men who got these women pregnant. Why is it that the women are totally for these children when they are born - where are the father’s? Why do women have to change their lives, be a single and likely poor parent? Why do women have to solely carry the burden of this abortion decision? Simple - because the legislators don’t really care about or understand the real outcomes. Men should have consequences for their actions, not just women.
Kevin (Saint louis)
What ive always been afraid of is the Dobbs decision represents the leading edge of a conservative retrenchment. Justice Thomas alluded to it in his concurrence. Privacy, govt intervention in values and a reversal of govt in safety net. I hate to say Ruth G made a mistake in not retiring and Repubs are just more ruthless than dems. Progressives and Blue voters are not off the hook either for this.
Even More Disgusted (United States Of America 2.1)
It is an absurd and demoralizing position to believe an embryo or fetus has the same right to life as a fully realized human being. The Bible is not silent on this. However, men who want ultimate control over women. Men who want to demote them forever as being 'less than,' cherry-pick or manipulate passages from the good book to support their misogynistic plans. The question of who would you save, a woman or 1 vial of a hundred fertilized eggs the Prolifers would save the vial, and the Pro-choices would save the woman because doing otherwise would show that embryos aren't really the same as a woman.
Steve (Charlotte NC)
@Even More Disgusted Sad, that even in the 21st century there are people who are so jaded as to attempt to force women into subjugation.
@Even More Disgusted — It’s not, and never has been, a male/female issue, and that is a mistake pro-choice organizations have made over the years. It’s evangelical Christian versus the rest of the world. This is not to say that only evangelical Christians oppose abortion, but they were the driving force, with the support of other conservative organizations, to get Roe v. Wade overturned. Everyone has a right to their religious views, but what they don’t have to right to is to shove their point of view down someone else’s throat.
Matthias Turner (Wells, ME)
Apologies if I am repeating any earlier comments. In the '60s, my sister's best friend suffered through multiple miscarriages. After her third or fourth miscarriage, her priest told her to start using birth control (!) as "it was clear that God didn't want her to give birth to a baby." (God is an abortionist?) Fortunately, she didn't listen to her priest, and after her next pregnancy, she gave birth to a healthy baby girl. More recently, a friend's daughter had to undergo an agonizing late term abortion. Her doctor informed her that the fetal abnormalities were so severe, that if the baby survived to be be born, its only few hours of life would likely be a difficult death. I'm not sure what the greatest trauma was for her. Losing the baby that she and her husband wanted, or hearing "Christians" scream "baby murderer" at her?
Mike (Buffalo, NY)
Wow I never thought I'd read an article showcasing that someone's opinion on this matter could be nuanced.
CCC (Reston, Virginia)
@Mike that's stupid. There are multitudes of articles detailing the heartache women suffer when faced with a difficult pregnancy in all its facets--health ramifications and personal circumstances. Maybe read some more of the articles?
Jess (FL)
Like I have said before, there are so few Pro-Life. Most are Pro-Birthers are Christians who don't give a dime after the child is born. THEY ARE THE ONES who will always be complaining about those same b/c they are being a burden to the taxes they pay...
Jim (NY)
It was worth listening to until he made it into a racial issue referring to "white legislators making decisions about black bodies."
juliet (alexandria)
it’s a racial issue though he’s right
San Diegan New Yorker (NYC)
@Jim it's true though
Alyson Lloyd (Philadelphia PA)
@Jim And his statement is true. Please don't ignore it. Most white politicians and citizens aren't ending their prejudices regarding the disrespect of Black women. They scream "You have to have that baby!" and then complain when that same woman needs financial help to raise the same baby. Then their response is, "Those women are just lazy and always having babies to get money from us." And these statements didn't suddenly start. Most white male politicians are against helping women, but especially women of color.
Alyson Lloyd (Philadelphia PA)
Everyone, Please know, Pastor Stancil isn't the only preacher talking about this issue. I've attached the statement from Michael Curry, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. https://www.episcopalchurch.org/publicaffairs/statement-on-supreme-court-dobbs-decision-by-presiding-bishop-michael-curry/
Linda (Livermore, CA)
@Alyson Lloyd Thank you for this. I think that Bishop Michael Curry speaks for millions of people. I am a member of The Episcopal Church and am happy to be in congruence with this deeply considered perspective.
WTig3ner (CA)
Yes, but watch how many people attack him and the terms they use to do so.
Will. (NYCNYC)
As a man I can tell you without the slightest hesitation that if men could become pregnant and some government official dared suggest men had no choice about aborting upon pregnancy there would be an armed revolt. There is no way men would accept having that choice removed from them. The mere suggestion would lead to insurrection. That you can bet your very life on.
SA (Massachusetts)
@Will. Thank you so very much. Moving into my seventies now, I am encouraged to see that young women are adopting the same attitude as yours. In my generation there was way too much gratefulness that we were finally 'being allowed' to do something 'immoral.' Women just need to wise up generally. No more nods to other people's morality. It is not immoral to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. The reality is that most are terminated first trimester, the far fewer that are performed during the second trimester are usually for medical reasons that are nobody's business, and third trimester abortions are essentially nonexistent. Women really need to wise up. We do not need anyone's permission anymore.
Steve (Charlotte NC)
@Will. Yes, it's all about the power play to subjugate women for political ends.
Steve (Charlotte NC)
@Will. Yes, it's all about the power play to subjugate women for political ends... ....
annied3 (baltimore)
The issue is quite simple. There would be no need to have or ban abortion if "you'd" just get a vasectomy OR if we mandate vasectomy. There!
Linda (Livermore, CA)
@annied3 I think this is an oversimplification that assumes every woman who seeks an abortion is in a committed relationship with a man. Not all men in relationships have had or are willing to have a vasectomy. For instance, either the couple or the man may still be considering having a family in the future. Also, you overlook the instances of rape and incest, when the chances of the man having had a vasectomy are pretty low, I very much suspect. This not a "quite simple" issue at all.
Alyson Lloyd (Philadelphia PA)
@annied3 I think all men (any sexual orientation) need to practice Condom Sense.
annied3 (baltimore)
@Alyson Lloyd Great line. Keep at it! Some guys need reminding.
uras (az)
Perhaps the pastor knows as most of us believers know the soul of the fetus will know when there is going to be an abortion. and will choose another mother who will take it to term. There is no loss of life here.
Craig (PA)
To me, abortion should also include the racists trying to abort life's opportunities to POC. What good is it to allow POC to be born but then for the rest of their lives 'abort' total access to the so called American Dream:( Do you allow us to be born to be slaves to the dominant race?
Steve (Greenbrier)
@Craig I agree. Outside of racial quotas and cash payments, how can this be improved? One way I like is for changes in home ownership, so more contact between the races. Thank you for a provocative post. Regards.
Bob Washick (Conyngham Pa)
According to the New York Times Queen Anne donated property by 911. That property is worth $6.4 billion tax free dollars. According to the Washington post 152 million babies are starving to death. Don’t tax the church but the 6 billion would assist these starving babies. The supreme court took allegiance to the constitution where everyone is equal. Biden and Pelosi are Catholics and they recognized the constitution where all people are equal. The Catholic Supreme Court justices forgot the constitution. They recognized the Catholic religion where catholics should not use condoms. Justice Barrett adopted two catholic Haitian children one with disabilities. The one with disabilities will be taken care of by our government. Not her. I remember the separate but equal clauses by the supreme court. And these justices supposedly represent America? They may see the constitution, but they certainly have not interpreted it.
Rocky (Sydney, Australia)
My understanding is that the Christian God believes in free choice. He also provides salvation from sin and the separation from Him resulting. that can’t be accomplished by effort, good works or by atonement. He also believes in hell. For those who believe this, repent and turn. This pastor believes abortion is sin. Those who profess Christian faith, don’t ignore that. No repentance and turning away…… no heaven. Those who don’t believe this can make their own decisions about the implications on eternity of participating in the execution of what will one day be accepted as human. Because we are going to need every human we can get. In the meantime heaven and hell should fall solidly on the shoulders of those who sin or cause others to stumble. Not legislators. If you believe that stuff.
MegWright (Kansas City)
@Rocky - OMG - "we're going to need every human we can get"? The world is about to have 9 million people, which is several million beyond the carrying capacity of the earth. We need FEWER people, not more.
Joni Waunders (Massachusetts)
I once asked a trusted priest, “Is there any sin that is unforgivable?” Without hesitation he answered,”Yes.” Upon seeing the fear and anguish in my eyes he further explained, “The one sin that is unforgivable is believing any sin is beyond God’s grace.”
Andrea (NC)
@MegWright I think you mean "billion."
Martha (Worcester, MA)
Wow, fascinating reading the comments. People as so entrenched in their own spaces. Open up people, you might learn something.
DDrew (USA)
@Martha Maybe because the issue is about some forcing their views on others. Maybe the middle ground is “If you don’t believe in abortion, don’t get one and keep your nose out of other people’s business”. There. Fixed it for you
Radlib (Georgia)
I have to challenge the Pastor's claim of belief in the sanctity...sanctity...of life. And in Deut. 30:19 the children of Israel were given a choice to follow God and his ordinances for life, or to reject them for death. for themselves, not the innocent blood of the unborn. Also, it is a lie to say that we don't care for our needy children after birth. We have spent trillions fighting the poverty fueled by those who have chosen the ways of death. Besides, Jesus said the poor you have with you a;ways. You either protect the innocent or you don't. In our republic, let the states decide.
Mike (Viginia)
@Radlib Yes, states should always decide what freedoms to afford their respective citizens. Unless it has to do with firearms, in which case owning firearms for the use and killing of others is a god given right that no state shall abridge.
D D (SoFlo)
The man with the microphone and the NYT want you to hear the opinions of those whose bodies cannot get pregnant.
Stephanie (Illinois)
This is so inspiring, but I’m still troubled. I reflected on the news that stopped so many in their tracks this past June, that despite all assurances, the supreme court’s conservative justices had unilaterally decided to end Roe v. Wade. I recall the shock, grief, and distinct feeling that I was not, in fact, seen as equally capable, deserving and free as men in this country. There are so many identities we all have. My discomfort here is that Pastor Stancil doesn’t support a woman’s right to choose because he supports all women. He is rightfully supporting women’s right to choose because ending Roe v. Wade disproportionately affects communities of color. It reminds me of Nancy Regan’s ghastly war on drugs, which leveraged public policy to to penalize communities of color. In the end, the result is one that I think many of us respect and want to see more of. I’m just still sad that it’s not trust in and respect for women as a group that is driving his views. It’s concern for a subset of women. I don’t know what it’ll take for this country to trust us and leave our bodies the hell alone.
Steve (Charlotte NC)
@Stephanie The Supreme Court has lost all legitimacy at this point. And I don't see a pathway for it to regain legitimacy. "We have met the Enemy and He is Us."
Eric Shugaar (SgtSugarbear) (San Francisco)
@Steve Give POGO (Walt Kelley) credit please.
Z (Indiana)
Really tired of the NYT continuously shoving Christianity down the throats of the readers. Can we please get some other perspectives from other religions?
Sob (Canada)
Yes this what the USA really needs, another preacher.
Justin (Chicago)
Wow. So powerful, so insightful, and so correct. Please post the transcript, it has so many powerful quotes. "It was not my choice because I did not live in the hell that she had to endure every day." "You cannot tell me that you care about a child before it is born, but you don't give a care about what happens to the child after it is born." Amen.
Lost in (MN)
If you're OK with a woman's right to choose, Pastor, you're not pro-life. By this argument a woman is able to kill her child whenever she damn-well wishes.....unless she knows, of course that her child's DNA differs from hers and is clearly that of another person. Take it from there and what must you conclude, Pastor?
Mike (Viginia)
@Lost in Pro-life is just a catchphrase invented by anti-abortionists hellbent on controlling others lives. By large margins pro-lifers also support USA's various wars, capital punishment, and guns in every household. So really, pro-life is an oxymoron.
Mark Kropf (Long Island)
Christianity, perhaps among other groups, seeks to set an agenda for the cultural norm in the U.S. Most of culture acknowledges the importance of Free Will. Yet religion has a very problematic understanding of the use of that Free Will. Few who hold to an understanding of the Old Testament or its New Testament sequel fail to understand that the Lord gave to humans Free Will to manage their lot. Life was not made robotic to act by predetermined goal, but rather by morals or the lack of those at its own discretion. Eve ate the apple (or perhaps fig) and tempted Adam to do so and then Cain struck down Abel. Free Will led to misdeed and punishment, but not clearly at the hand of other humans. If the Church believes in divine retribution, it is unclear as to the need for human intervention to judge or to set its own beliefs over those set by a creator wise enough to fashion things as they are believed to be. If Free Will is a gift, why do leaders of faith desire to impose their own limits on choice, especially in situations where clarity is imposed in a very arbitrary and often inflexible manner where it does not in fact exist? Perhaps men of faith do not believe that the power to punish transgression is indeed a power of a divine being? Perhaps it is to the purpose of people of faith to choose to define the divine prerogatives with their own limited understanding of the situation? Is government's sway in civil matters real where the Church imposes its will?
CantFixLeftOrRight (US)
A pastor full of paradoxes. No wonder pews are empty even after the pandemic is long gone. First, he quotes God giving choice for life and death. He says he is pro-life, which in the context of the above Bible verse means he chose life. Then he quotes Jesus on the wide and the narrow way and only few choosing the narrow way. All good. I agree God have given the choice to all humans. But alas, there are consequences for those choices, atleast based on what the Bible teaches. So this pastor want others to chose “death” based on what he believes from the Bible. That’s a very awakened position to hold. If I know for sure someone will drown to death, even if they a stranger to me, I will do whatever is possible in my capacity to rescue them. That includes blocking access to the area where they could get drowned. I have more respect for someone who claims there is no God and don’t believe in the sanctity of prenatal life, and who then advocates for no limit abortion.
MegWright (Kansas City)
@CantFixLeftOrRight - NO ONE advocates for "no limit abortion." Stop it with the lies.
Linda (Livermore, CA)
@CantFixLeftOrRight I would just like to point out that the Rev. Stancil, in the words of the NYT article, "deliver[ed] his guest essay in the form of a sermon...a postscript to a Sunday service this month." I may be wrong, but I interpreted this to mean that the Rev. Stancil delivered this postscript *after* the church service was concluded, to the remaining congregants who wished to hear his remarks. Also, the article makes clear that "As it has for many houses of worship in the United States, attendance at Wayman A.M.E. still hasn't rebounded to prepandemic levels... He finds himself these days speaking to a congregation that is mostly tuning in [via] the church's live streams." (I'm not sure that "via" was used; the comments pane covers part of the right-hand side of the article's text.) Most churches' attendance has not "rebounded to prepandemic levels," I would observe. So I believe that your assumption that "No wonder pews are empty even after the pandemic is long gone" is incorrect. I live-stream my church's services. I would err if I did not observe that the pandemic is not over, either...
CantFixLeftOrRight (US)
@Linda You make many assumptions. I can also interpret it to be the actual service, not a show for taping video. Either way in most of the churches, folks are back. Also, in the article I did not see a statement like 100, 500 or 1000 watch his live stream on average every week.
Will (Michigan)
As a Christian who supports a woman's right to choose, I was pleasantly surprised to see this opinion video featured in the Times. Pro-choice evangelicals often have to bite their tongues when the issue of abortion comes up. But Rev. Stancil gave voice to my thoughts on the issue. His story about the young lady who went on to have a full and productive life after having an abortion is just one example of how God has a plan even in life events we might see as negative.
Recall all that this is the Pope’s view as he has stated publicly.
Justin (Chicago)
No one is "pro-abortion". No one ever says "I think I would be fun to have an abortion." When a woman chooses abortion, it is because it is the best choice among a bunch of bad options. It is a wise man who understands that he should not be making these decisions for a woman, regardless of how he feel about the procedure in abstract.
Paul (Canada)
I've long believed that abortion is a grave moral wrong (though not murder), and that making it illegal is an even greater moral wrong. I think many people instinctively feel this, but it is difficult to verbalize because only part of your argument will be heard and respected.
Christine (Virginia)
@Paul a 'grave moral wrong' when it's an ectopic pregnancy, or uncontrollable high blood pressure that may kill the mother, a child impregnated by a relative, etc? Medical abortions are necessary for multiple reasons including miscarriages - it may be a moral dilemma but I argue that it is a moral wrong.
Tamzaa (NoCal)
Calling this fellow, and others, pro-life is labeling the other side ie pro-abortion, as pro-death. The key issue here is for women’s rights; and so these people should rightfully be labeled ‘anti-women’.
thomas (nyc)
I am getting tired of reading things like this: [Religon] supports abortion [Religon] supports gay marriage All this does is to invite the argument. We're done! Gay marriage should be a right. Abortion should be a right. End of story, no more arguments. I am getting tired of these religions (despite how well-intended) boasting of their support; and expecting us to applaud. Instead, they should be grateful we are not taxing them all into oblivion.
Allister Wayne Alwaysright (Backwoods Kaintucke)
Separation of church and state; simple as that. Get God off our money and out of politics. Death penalty for transgressions against society so the rest of society can flourish within the agreed rule set. Abortions between woman and her doctor and her conscience. Gov’t ensures safe licensed medical practitioners. Churches in politics should be taxed.
Greg (Utah)
Republicans believe that an abortion is worse than forcing a woman to carry a dead fetus until birth. They also believe it is worse than forcing parents to give birth to a child who will severely crippled or developmentally disabled for life. They believe it is worse than forcing young women who were raped and victims of sexual violence or incest to carry a fetus to full term. Lastly, they believe abortion is worse than having a child and family live in extreme poverty if that family can’t afford to have another child. Which is more cruel?
Steve (Charlotte NC)
@Greg Well, actually, the Republican Party has degenerated into a Fascist cabal. It's no longer a viable political party.
AF (Westchester)
The headline is profoundly misleading. This is a pro-choice pastor who would not personally get an abortion, the same viewpoint as millions of americans — maybe even the majority of us. “Pro-life” has always meant that you don’t support women’s right to choose. You can’t be pro choice and pro life at the same time.
Christine (Virginia)
@AF Most Americans are 'pro-life' but they believe it's not their decision nor the governments decision to make. It is a personal decision a woman makes with her doctor. What is misleading about that.
Robertp✡️ (Spring Creek Nv.)
Before abortion was legalized, pre Roe v. Wade, wealthy white women always had access to it. They still will. The short-sighted legislation of banning ignores historical precedence that common people, like us, the masses, the poor, the majority born will always come to power usually through hardship and violence that affects all.
jhand (Texas)
I hope Rev. Stancil doesn't run into the same brick wall that I and a few others in my Catholic parish have encountered. To far too many, "pro-life" meant overthrowing Roe v. Wade, period. Even though Texas has made it nearly impossible for pregnant women to make medically sound choices, the state has also continued to make pre-natal, post-natal, and pediatric care as difficult as possible for women, especially single women. When we try to help these women, many so-called "pro-life" people do not see these issues as serious. They are too busy rejoicing over Dobbs.
Stephanie (Texas)
I’ve always believed in a woman’s right to choose but the pseudo-feminist view that men should stay out of it is absurd and unhelpful. The fact is we need men’s support, whether it be in the form of votes, as doctors and nurses performing abortions, raising funds for women who can’t afford it themselves, counseling as religious leaders or therapists, or teaching their daughters (and sons) that they alone have say over their bodies and that no one should take that power from them for any reason, ever. If this reverend can convince more people that abortion is the woman’s right to choose then I commend him for sticking his neck out and saying what’s right when even I myself (a woman) wouldn’t feel comfortable addressing a topic of this magnitude in a public forum. It is an act of heroism.
lu (mn)
@Stephanie Women will just have to leave red states if they want to be medically safe during their childbearing years. Your life in a red state will be reduced to whatever the religious evangelicals want for you.
lhc (silver lode)
The pastor's opinion echoes that of Mario Cuomo decades ago. Cuomo, Governor of New York, was that rare politician who had the modesty to think that he didn't have all the answers and smart enough to hold conlicting ideas in his mind at the same time. An observant Catholic, Cuomo was opposed to abortion on moral and religious grounds, but recognized that he lived in, and guided, a diverse population with numerous other opinions. So he stated clearly that he could not, in conscience, impose his ideas on others in a diverse, secular society.
Carol E. (NC By Way Of WA State)
Wow. Thank you so much for posting this video. This gentleman eloquently says what I’ve always felt in my heart about abortion.
Marjorie Summons (Greenpoint)
Everyone agrees we would rather not have to perform abortions. That's a given. The reality is scores of young women being tortured because of anti-abortion laws. A woman decides not a legislature full of men.
Andrew (Wichita)
So when he says he is pro-life, what does he mean exactly? Saying you are pro-life and then laying out pro-choice talking positions with a sprinkle of scripture doesn't mean much. The entire pro-life position is staked on this point: human fetuses are human being that deserve the same dignity and respect as any other birthed human. To say "I am pro-life but here is why I don't think murder should be illegal" would be a laughable position to take.
DW (Rhode Island)
@Andrew That's your belief. It is not mine. I draw a distinction between a fetus and full human being. My faith teaches that they both deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, but not the same dignity and respect. In a perfect world and all things being equal, it is easy to defend the sanctity of both. But when there is a situation pitting one against the other, the life of the fully realized human being, to me, is more valuable and worth more consideration. That's my belief, and you don't have to accept it. In our country, neither of us should be allowed to impose our faith-based beliefs on others.
Katie (San Francisco)
@Andrew Yes, it's based on a "point." A point of opinion. It is not fact.
BB (Geneva)
@Andrew He means he believes that abortion is a tragedy, that he counsels against it and that he wouldn't have one himself. It is morally consistent with the fact that he would hope that a father would donate his dying child a kidney to save his life, but can't force him to. Because letting someone die when you have the singular power to save their life is a form of murder, too. Funny how little the pro-life crowd talk about that.
Jonathan (USA)
There is NOTHING 'pro-life' about opposing women's right to choose abortion. We need to see the anti-abortion activists for what they are: people who want to replace our democracy with a religious dictatorship. The United States prides itself on many freedoms, including freedom of religion. But the anti-abortion partisans want to take that away. They make up moralistic and theocratic excuses for their position, but fundamentally they're telling us that freedom of religion means freedom of THEIR religion. Then they accuse people who don't want their behavior to be dictated by THEIR religion of religious intolerance. We cannot have a free country unless we're free of religious tyranny. That includes ending anti-abortion tyranny.
R. David Heileman (Berea, Ohio)
@Jonathan I totally agree. "Freedom of relgion," includes "Freedom from religion," as well.
Kate (Texas)
I am personally against abortion, but politically pro-choice. The Bible itself says don't expect non-believers to behave like believers, but here the Christians are, trying to legislate in a manner that forces non-believers to conform to their moral standards, then going home and patting themselves on the backs because they think they did good, while never actually putting boots on the ground and supporting women and families in need. God says LOVE your neighbor... where are the Christians who are loving the women with unexpected pregnancies and helping them succeed? Until those who claim to be pro-life also become also pro-life beyond birth, I will maintain my stance. Probably even after that.
Melissa (New York City)
Thank you. This has been my position for decades.
MegWright (Kansas City)
@Kate - It's too bad that the loudest voices have managed to give the perception that they speak for all Christians. They don't. There are about 40 mostly mainstream Christian denominations, plus Judaism, that make up the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. They support full reproductive rights, including the right to contraception and abortion.
Emily (CT)
As Pope Benedict said, "The fundamental human right, the presupposition of every other right, is the right to life itself. This is true of life from the moment of conception until its natural end. Abortion, consequently, cannot be a human right -- it is the very opposite. It is a deep wound in society." How can someone claim to be a man of God and yet support the ending of innocent life?
rms (Near Los Angeles)
@Emily You may "believe" that there is an "innocent life" from the point of conception. But while there is certainly a potential for life, pre-viability there is no "life" in the sense that we use it to describe a person - or even an animal. A zygote, an embryo, a pre-viability fetus - none of these are "babies" or "innocent lives" - no matter how many times the pro-forced birthers say otherwise. And we are happy to let you have your retrograde beliefs, but your desire is to force them on everyone else through force of law. I've had an abortion, I've had my life saved with surgery when I had an ectopic pregnancy, and I've given birth. After the abortion (when I was 19), I felt nothing but relief and that has never changed. And the two children I now have would never have been born if I had been forced to carry that pregnancy to term. (If I hadn't received care after the ectopic, my son would have been left motherless, and my daughter would never have been born.)
Barbara (Connecticut)
Pope Benedict has every right to tell Catholics what to believe and do. But here in the US, we have the right to our own--or no--religion. Beliefs about abortion and women's status in society vary widely. It is essential that no religious group be given the right to force their beliefs on the rest of us.
Justine (Boston)
@Emily I, like the reverend, morally object to abortion. However, I don't support throwing people in prison for having or performing abortions.
Pixie (Martin)
This remarkable voice is the one that should be heard instead of the vile political ads we cannot escape. Pastor Stancil speaks logically, with passion and compassion and the world should listen to him. Thank you for offering us this upfront seat so we can hear what so many of us believe to be true.
Bronco Pete (Great Midwest)
Pastor Stancil is a powerful orator. Even if you remove the Bible references, the words stand alone. When he said white politicians making laws that govern black lives, something clicked in my head. I thought of all the forced religion imposed on people throughout history and all the Jim Crow from last century and this new one, and my heart sank because I came to another sad realization. The pro-life movement is not only misogynistic but most likely a mentality specifically directed at brown people. My heart hurts.
JR (charlottesville)
@Bronco Pete It is also s movement to keep all women subjugated to men. As is white nationalism, which is really white MALE nationalism.
AM (Baltimore)
I was eating dinner with friends a couple weeks ago and we were discussing this. I remember referencing the Bible and the beginning of “life” and she said something that I now agree with: it is life in your body but it’s an ethical death just like assisted suicide (not sure what the better term is now). It is life but I have a right to choose an ethical death. And to the pastors point, if they really cared, they would do everything in their power to make sure this child had a good life.
EB (Earth)
I am sick of the media describing people's opposition to women's easy, safe, and legal access to abortion as "pro-life." With regard to abortion, there are only two positions: pro-choice and anti-choice. That's it. It's certainly not about "life." Anti-choice people typically support the death penalty. They typically oppose or are silent about the need for easy access to contraceptives. Some support those absurd "abstinence" programs. Most oppose government policies that provide supports for mothers and born children. Etc. The anti-choice stance is *entirely* about getting women out of the job market, out of financial and social independence and autonomy, and back into the home--dependent on men for food, money, everything. Do you want to know what life was like for most women before they had access to contraceptives and abortion? It was endless pregnancy, childbirth, child-rearing, house-cleaning, laundry, and then yet more pregnancy, childbirth, child-rearing, house-cleaning, and laundry--on and on and on from shortly after puberty until menopause decades later. Physically debilitated, intellectually under-stimulated, and perpetually emotionally drained, they presented no challenge to patriarchal rule. I'm old enough to remember women whose lives were such. And I remember the howls of rage from the patriarchs and their supporters when "the pill" was invented and made available to women. They saw then what it would mean. They and their ilk are still howling.
Snow Day (Michigan)
@EB "It's certainly not about "life." Anti-choice people typically support the death penalty. They typically oppose or are silent about the need for easy access to contraceptives. Some support those absurd "abstinence" programs. Most oppose government policies that provide supports for mothers and born children. Etc." The "Etc." is war. Many people who claim to be all about saving lives vote to end them through war.
Roberta (Seattle WA)
@EB I agree. “Pro-life” people are simply “anti-abortion” and their use of “pro-life” as an identity is simply demonizing their “opponents” as somehow ghoulish “anti-life” or “ pro-death.” And don’t forget how many women died early deaths from all the complications of childbirth for which they had very few resources to attempt to prevent.
Tracy (Wayne, NJ)
Amen to this pastor and Amen to this comment!
kkm (NYC)
Excellent sermon. Regardless of race, living in poverty and telling women they cannot legally get an abortion and at the same time are not lifting people up and out of poverty so they can have equal access to education, housing, etc. is a double standard. However, I think of this in some respects, differently. My core conviction is the separation of Church and State as a basic principle of democracy. In my view, no one has the right to tell any woman what she can and cannot do with her body. That is her choice and her choice alone. And finally, and as an aside, if men had a uterus, abortion would not be an issue. Abortion would be a given. And that is the absolute bottom-line truth.
LM (Massachusetts)
People who actively work to end abortion either had one and cannot cope with the guilt, or couldn't have one, and are angry about the consequences. Any opinion, belief or conviction is acceptable until people try to shove it down other people's throat. This man is absolutely right: it's all about power, who has it, who refuses to let others have it, who benefits from holding on to it.
December (Concord, NH)
@LM Well, your first sentence is a little inaccurate. A lot of people who actively work to end abortion have never even had a uterus, so the whole thing is theory to them.
Allen (Phila)
Just being consistent here, regardless of context: This preacher and the church that allows him to hold forth ought to have its tax-exempt staus revoked. The pulpet is not the place for partisan politics--or any politics. That is the whole point of giving churches tax-exempt status. The fact that the preacher and the congregation is black does not exempt him or them from the laws on this. Plus, the close-ups of the nodding congregants makes me sick.
Karen (FL)
@Allen Actually, that's not how it works. He is not pushing a candidate but a philosophy. You need to read more about tax-exempt status and religious organizations.
Mike (Viginia)
@Allen because advocating for people's rights is a 'partisan' issue.
Ponder (USA)
@allen Encouraging people to vote, and vote for candidates who care about their community, are not grounds for removing tax exempt status. The preacher did not endorse a particular candidate or a party. He spoke from the pulpit about an issue relevant to his community, and his religion. All valid.
Jim (Mill Valley, California)
This surprised me. I thought it was going to be pro life and I was wrong. Rev. Stencil is an impressive man.
Adam (Louisiana)
Then he is not pro-life, simply trying to co-opt the term to villainize those who are. If you are pro-life you care deeply about the unborn and human and wish to care for them not make it someone else decision to end their life. This is the same strategy used to target conservative Christians, by propping up “liberal Christians” who reject whatever teaching is difficult and then pointing at conservatives saying “if they can ignore teaching and still call themselves Christian then why can’t you.” If you are pro-life you are not apathetic about someone else’s abortion.
Elizabeth (Chicago)
@Adam If you are pro-life, you care about people who are living.
Jane (Washington)
If you are pro- life, you are not apathetic about someone else.
rms (Near Los Angeles)
@Adam And we know why you aren't apathetic about someone else's abortion - and it's not because you care about "the unborn." It's because you believe very deeply that women should not be able to make choices about their own lives and that they should be punished for having sex with the "consequences" of doing so. Admitting this to yourself could be the first step to recovering and becoming a decent human being rather than a misogynistic curmudgeon.
From MA (Leominster, MA)
OMG! This opinion is exactly what I try to explain to these horrible pro-life people. And, since the pro-life people are so worried about the babies, they should adopt all and provide a good life to them.
KB (MIdwest Transplant)
Agreed- 25 years ago meeting the pastor of a local kindergarten for our daughter, this working mother was asked about abortion views. I responded it is a personal choice between oneself, her doctor, and her faith. And emphasized l would have more respect for pro-life proponents if they practiced what they preached. As in adopting those children and helping individuals/families navigate having the baby. He was not impressed by my answer nor was l impressed by him or his school. We found a progressive religious school (yes they do exist). Women are equal to men in their right to independence of self. We must vote again and again that way just to hold the line.
rms (Near Los Angeles)
@From MA As a person who cares deeply about (existing, breathing) babies, there is no way that I would ever let a child of mine be adopted by one of these horrible people. Ever.
lu (mn)
@From MA They never helped the moms with kids before, why would that change? It's just another way for the conservative religious men to oppress women. Keep them home with more kids than they can handle and a work load to match. That's the plan. They need a permanent mommy who is home to take care of them when they get home. Move to blue states ladies where their are more men who have your back and encourage your pursuits in life.
Anna (Toronto)
Calling someone “pro life” rather than “anti choice” helps them disguise their oppressive misogyny.
Steve (Charlotte NC)
@Anna Anti-human rights is more accurate
Regret (California)
There you go again, NYT, soft pedaling the oppression of women. No one cares what this guy thinks about abortion. No one should. It's not his place to tell anyone, including a woman who attend his religious services, what to do with her body. Will you ever get it? Will you?
rms (Near Los Angeles)
@Regret My understanding (I didn't listen) is that this pastor is pro-choice. I don't have a problem with someone feeling that having an abortion is wrong (I disagree 100%) as long as they don't try to keep other people from doing what is right for them and their lives.
Blossom (Australia)
@Regret It's almost as if you didn't read the article, or watch the video.
Jennifer Hoult, J.D. (New York City)
The Bible nowhere prohibits abortion. Moreover, it clearly says that life begins at birth, with breath, not earlier. This is the foundation of Judeo-Christian-Muslim belief. Forced-birthing is simply misogynist slavery, as it always has been.
Steve (Providence, RI)
Why should I care what this man thinks? Religion is a delusion.
DJ Shoaf (Denver)
BIBLE. Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. Read it
LoriO (FL)
Thank you for sharing this
Jeff (California)
What a two-faced liar Pastor Stancil is! He claims to be in favor of a women's right to choose while, when he counsels a woman, he pressured her to not get an abortion. Perhaps his attendance figured are way down because his "flock" recognizes his mendacity!
Midroader (New Jersey)
His counseling took place many years ago. The girl chose abortion and pursued her education and had stability to raise and educate her own children, resulting in his more nuanced view on the issue.
Kirsten Lagatree (New Jersey)
@Jeff You apparently missed the point of Rev. Stancil's admission that he counseled the woman wrongly. In his humility, the reverend was admitting he had been wrong in urging her not to have an abortion.
JoeMC (Montgomery Co. MD)
The Rev got it right! Those who want the end of abortion support the unborn, but once the kid is here, they are nowhere to be found!
Mary (Vermont)
RodJo (Blueland, Texas)
The GOP (Grand Ovary Patrol) has succeeded. The country is split between a tenuous commitment to western liberal democracy and a growing zeal for Russian and Taliban values.
Steve (Charlotte NC)
@RodJo Beautifully said, my friend
kw, nurse (rochester ny)
I believe that men have no rights here. This is a matter for women. Now we need a way to get the male power to shut up.
From Illinois (Chicago)
Have you considered that women can’t fight the fight alone? Even as this issue is an issue entirely in the realm of women, you need the support of the other half of the population to protect women’s right and stand with women to ensure it continues to be protected. Though it’s true, men have made decisions on behalf of women for too long, asking “male power to shut up” seems counterproductive to the goal. Without men who are willing to stand up and speak up, sadly, we can’t achieve what is needed to protect all women. Why alienate and silence the men who want to help?
R N (Madison, WI)
Amen, brother.
Christopher Slevin (Michigan)
Religion and politics never mix. What education does this so-called preacher to qualify him on medical issues? None, except to pack his pews and increase his earnings. Fools step in where wise men fear to thread. He will not tolerate intruders into hiythical theology. He is a throwback to male chauvinism and freely encrouchis on specified medicine publicity goals. In doing this he is trying to endear himself with republican politicians. People like this fraud drive me further from the fraud which religious leaders try to intoctrinate lesser educational. As the many propositions of past religious passed as infallible doctrines which were later proved to be nothing but harmful myths. My wife who remains a practicing Catholic and had two miscarriages and suffered a lot from the belief that these innocents were condemned to Limbo for eternity. Overnight a pope eliminated this spurious belief despite the centuries of torment this medical harmful doctrine caused. Another example of religious doctrine cased was the fear of being condemned to hell. As a growing-up Catholic youngster it was firmly installed into us that if we are meat on a Friday and died without repenting, we would be condemned to hell for eternity. Then again, mortal sin was abolished. I pity the poor souls burning in hell prior to the abolition of this mortal sin while I can enjoy my filet mignon without fear of being turned into ashes. If religious practitioners practiced what they preach they might b
Ryan (MN)
Your comments that agree with articles that reinforce your position are boring and mundane. The comment section for this article should include a required agree/disagree answer section to the likes of, 1) The government shouldn't tell a woman what to do with her body regarding abortion (agree, disagree), 2) The government can't mandate a covid vaccine (agree, disagree). I know this will anger many people here, and I believe these aren't identical questions, however. there are fundamental questions about what the government can and can't do. To that end, what I see here in the comments are people who are pro-choice praising this pastor with full agreement. Not a long shot there. But where is the honest dialog? Where is the difference of opinion? People use comments to talk about how this article is making so much sense. Where is the NY Times editorial article on pro-life? I want to see the pro-life person's comments that praise the pastor.
rms (Near Los Angeles)
@Ryan You're right that the two questions you pose "aren't the same." No, the government should not have the right to tell a woman whether or not she can get an abortion. Her decision impacts only her and is no one else's business. And yes, the government should absolutely be able to compel people to get vaccines - which actually save, not only the vaccinated person's life, but also the lives of the people around them. (And if you think this isn't the case, try sending your kid to school unvaccinated.) This really isn't hard.
Ryan (MN)
I disagree, this is hard. And it should be. Believing these are simple issues ignores how complicated the ideal of personal freedom is. Philosophical debates have raged for thousands of years over these fundamental issues. For example, in the case of abortion, when does a fetus get rights? Sounds simple to some, but thinking your position is right and everyone else is wrong ignores the complexity of humans and the way we think, including how our individual morals and values are created. And puts us in our current place in our public discourse, which has been building for years.
rms (Near Los Angeles)
@Ryan Abortion is a huge issue in the US now, not because of philosophical difficulties in how we think of it but because in the 1960's, when it became socially unacceptable to push a platform of "segregation today, segregation forever," the evangelicals (including the Southern Baptist church) and right wingers generally decided to push abortion - and "the babies!" - as the issue they would use to rile up their none-too- bright base. Remember that when he was governor of California, Ronald Reagan signed what was then the most liberal abortion rights bill in the United States.
Menachem Mevashir (Fort Collins, Colorado)
The pastor's correct that the Bible gives us the power to choose. But the Bible also urges us to make the right choice. It says choose life that you may live. And the pastor should also be urging people to make the right choice. And he fails to do this.
DW (Rhode Island)
@Menachem Mevashir The "right decision" is dependent on the specific situation. It seems to me the pastor believes that abortion is the less desirable course of action, in general; but he is committed to helping people make the decision that is right for them. I can't imagine what basis you have for calling that a failure.
DJ Shoaf (Denver)
We choose the gate. God gave us free will. The greatest gift of the Creator.
M Ford (USA)
This is great news. Progressive Republicans successfully convinced the Supreme Court to support a national diversity drive concerning abortions. Free from the chains of national oppression, regionally and locally expressive cultures are asserting their right under the UN charter to self-determination. As a Northern Republican, I voted pro-choice in Michigan. But, I respect the rights of my Republican brethren in other states, and especially the blue hedonists on the coasts, voting in favor of their local culture.
rms (Near Los Angeles)
@M Ford Aaaah, yes, voting their "local culture." Let's bring back the time where doing so meant that people could keep slaves, right? After all, it's their "culture." Just because a woman was unfortunate enough to be born in a place with more than its fair share of yahoos doesn't mean her right to control her own body and life should be given over to the yahoos.
MegWright (Kansas City)
@M Ford - Are you aware that the founders gave us the Bill of Rights, which was to protect people from the whims of voters or legislatures? The problem is that women weren't included in the constitution at all, therefore no women's rights were specifically mentioned. In addition, abortion was legal until "quickening" (about 18-20 weeks) from the time the country was settled until about 1860. So if the founders had considered the issue at all, they'd have assumed that was an agreed-upon right that no government would try to interfere with.
Ryan (MN)
I agree. I'm not certain why the founders in developing the Constitution and other founding documents didn't consider the abortion issue. Why did they overlook that issue among the thousand-plus other issues they should have also considered? Lazy. Or maybe they consider it when they stated items not enumerated in the 10th Amendment would be left to states or the people. People, these aren't slam-dunk issues. Anyone who says otherwise is selling you something.
Truth Today (Georgia)
Killing is wrong but we allow war. There are many things that are wrong but we allow people to choose. Abortion is wrong, but we should allow choice given no one is Lord over a woman’s body but God. And even God allows choice. Woman should make the choice and involve whom they desire to involve.
TheProf (Maine)
@Truth Today Why is abortion wrong? Because someone told you it was? Why is it killing (of a human being)? Because someone told you it was? For many of us, that someone's contentions are baffling; they seem irrational, arbitrary, and certainly hurtful despite their purportedly Christian origins. From a modern scientific point of view, calling the destruction of a few cells "wrong" is hard to fathom. If you choose to believe, uncritically, the teachings of that someone (who is unarguably not Jesus Christ), that is your privilege. But the utter lack of a rational basis for such beliefs makes the rest of us very uncomfortable. It is certainly not a good basis for a system of government. Abortion is neither absolutely right nor absolutely wrong. It is an issue which, as you say, should be up to every individual. It is not the business of government.
Bruce B (New Mexico)
“Pro-life” is a Republican frame. A different frame is needed: Forced birth Pro-forced birth Anti-choice Other??? A number of pro-choice people are personally against abortions but don’t want to impose their morality on others. They believe a woman should be free to make decisions about her own health & body.
Alan Singer (HI USA)
There is a long list of reasons why abortion access is good and another list of reasons why it’s bad. No passion needed, just read and balance up, yielding a middle policy around 26weeks. I’d appreciate comments on what’s wrong with that rational method.
Advocate for Justice (NYC)
@Alan Singer How about you share why are you against allowing a woman and her doctor to make the appropriate choice for the woman based on her condition at the time such decision needs to be made? For example, there are cases where something happens in-utero and there must be a forced delivery beyond 26 weeks. Sometimes that’s a still-birth, or some other procedure that doesn’t result in a live baby. Under new restrictions, those procedures could put the woman and the doctor at risk of prosecution. Imagine if you needed an emergency procedure to save your life and the doctor said they couldn’t do it because they feared being prosecuted.
M (Dallas)
@Alan Singer I'd rather not ban it at all. The chances of needing an abortion past 26 weeks are slim but do exist, so why make women who must make that heartbreaking choice jump through legal hoops or potentially risk their lives and health?
MegWright (Kansas City)
@Alan Singer - Why do you assume the state needs to regulate this at all, when the woman and the doctor are the only ones in a position to make an informed decision? You do realize, don't you, that no doctor will perform an abortion on a viable infant. But when the fetus has died in utero after the 26th week and is turning toxic and about to kill the mother, what sense would it make to force the woman to continue the pregnancy for o39-40 weeks? Assume a fetus has been discovered at 27 weeks to be developing with no skull, or no brain, or with brain and internal organs on the outside of the body, etc. What sense would it make to force the mother to carry that doomed fetus for 40 weeks when it will die shortly after birth, or worse, could die before birth and turn toxic and begin poisoning the mother?
Marty M (Dallas, TX)
With all due respect, he's a guy who can never get pregnant, but thanks for standing up for women's autonomy, and others' religion or thoughts or feelings have no place in women's autonomy, healthcare, or other decisions that are hers and hers alone.
Ruth Bonnet (California)
Governor Mario Cuomo had the same position. Personally pro-choice and publicly supported a woman’s right to choose. It’s not hard.
Allegra (New York)
This is one of the most beautiful things I have seen in a while. Thank you reverend for putting your personal views aside and prioritizing women above all else.
sdt (st. johns,mi)
So, he feels the Supreme Court should have done nothing. Hardly magical reasoning, just common sense.
Paula Wade (Curitiba, Brazil.)
What an amazing explanation, one that needs to be shared widely. Thank you, Pastor.
Pierre (Lausanne)
Thank you Reverend
KMW (New York City)
How can one be pro life and support a woman’s right to choose? You are either or. Abortion is the taking of innocent human life in the womb. Reverend Stancil seems like a bright man and he should know this.
Susan (Houston)
If you are going to be "pro-life" you have to be completely pro life. You have to guarantee that that fetus has the best possible chance by ensuring that the pregnant woman has quality prenatal care, including adequate food and a safe environment to live in at this most vulnerable and most critical time. The future of that fetus is not secured by prohibiting abortion. It takes more than that. There are many stages in fetal development where major steps occur that must be protected by the pregnant woman having adequate nutrition and rest. And an adequate amount of movement. Many young mothers need guidance to prepare to care for that fetus once it becomes a baby. And guidance to care for themselves during the postpartum period. NEVER HAVE I READ ANY OF THE PRO-FORCED-BIRTH CROWD ADDRESS ANY OF THESE THINGS. It's always as if they've done their good deed by making it impossible to abort a pregnancy. You people do more harm than good. You can't wait until later to address these needs. YOU CREATED THESE NEEDS IN THE PRESENT. THEY MUST BE ADDRESSED RIGHT NOW. So get off your pedestal, pro lifer, and get to work. Put your time and your money to their best use.
Laura (Chicago)
@KMW You have missed all his talking points.
Armadillo (Virginia)
@KMW There is no innocent human life involved in an abortion. A tiny bit of parasitic tissue is removed. Until the forced birth contingent spends more time and money on Already Born Children (and prevention of pregnancy) all of us see them for the hypocrites they are. Apparently it is more important to have babies than is to take of them properly.
B Sharp (Cincinnati)
This a nonsensical debate, hardly anyone should be pro-abortion. But I strongly believe in a woman`s right to choose. No one knows what a woman has gone through being pregnant. They could have been be raped, or an incest victim. It is only a woman`s right. It is as simple as that !
Regret (California)
@B Sharp I am pro abortion. Abortion saves lives.
That's like saying: I'm anti-murder myself and wouldn't personally murder others, but whether other people murder their children is their business.
Polly (CA)
@WAYNESBOROOBSERVER No, it's like saying: I'm pro- blood, tissue, and organ donation myself, I donate blood and am in the bone marrow registry myself, I've signed up to be an organ donor myself, I myself would donate a kidney to my brother or my child in a heartbeat, and I think the fact that thousands die each year on transplant lists while the organs that could save them rot is tragedy and a disgrace. But I also understand that it would be ethical disaster of unimaginable proportions if the government declared a particular class of the population to be donors and routinely violated their rights and their bodies by forcibly requiring them to use their blood and organs to sustain others against their will. And that's what banning abortion is.
teresa (Eugene, Oregon)
@Polly Oh, Polly. This is perfectly reasoned and perfectly stated. Thank you.
Anne (Australasia)
Abortion is not aborting children. Being Pro Choice is supporting a woman to make a decision that affects her life with her own counsel in private. I’m not pro abortion for me but I’m pro choice. Until you’ve walked in her shoes, bud out!
Frances Lynch (ireland)
Absolutely empowering. Straight, factual and logical. What a superb man and superb speech. Sending him lots of good & warm wishes.
Michael (Barcelona)
I’m personally against murder but I don’t believe i should force my views onto someone else. If you want to murder someone, that’s your choice and you’re free to choose it. Science proves life begins at conception and philosophy proves personhood begins at conception. Life does not begin at viability. It begins at conception. Don’t believe me? Kill a newborn with a bad heart that won’t live to see day two and see what you get charged with. It won’t be “performing an illegal abortion.” Personhood is a philosophical conception. Pro-choicers believe you magically breathe in your personhood at birth. That’s a religious argument. Don’t force your religion onto me.
Richard (Montana)
@Michael "Science proves life begins at conception and philosophy proves personhood begins at conception." "Scientific" citation, please.
Susan (Houston)
Neither science nor philosophy offer the proofs you claim. You have a train of ideas that you like. But you have no proof. Sorry, but you are not God.
Massachusetts Mom (MA)
@Michael Nobody is forcing you to have an abortion...in part because you don't have a uterus. Don't force your philosophy on people who do have them.
Robertp✡️ (Spring Creek Nv.)
IDK is seems pretty pathetic to me that in this day and age we can’t find a way for women not to get pregnant if they don’t want to have a baby. Abortion should only be used as a last option.
Anne (Australasia)
Sadly, even modern forms of contraception are not foolproof- and then their are the pregnancies that result from invest and rape and then their are the defuses that are not viable. My sisters fetus was not being nourished by her placenta and so was slowly starving but not viable outside the womb. These sad scenarios happen.
Alli (Florida)
This is naive, and it fails to consider the circumstances where abortion of a wanted, planned-for pregnancy is necessary. For the life and health of the mother, or in cases of severe fetal abnormalities. Would you have a woman who is 3 months pregnant when she receives a diagnosis of breast cancer die rather than terminate and receive treatment?
vin (Irvine)
Ok man. Let the women make the laws then since being religious one cannot see the suffering caused.
Damon (Arizona)
“And thank god she made that choice because it was based on HER experiences and NOT MINE!” Says it all…
An intelligent, honest, compassionate, and articulate opinion. Too rare. So refreshing. Bless your heart, reverend.
Charley Ross (Santiago, Spain)
If conservative, evangelical, republican voters truly regarded fetuses, zygotes as 'human beings' don't you think they would have expressed concern about the 50% of abortions that occur naturally? According to conservatives, millions of humans are destroyed each year through induced abortion. Don't you think that they would also be concerned about the 'disease' of miscarriages? Why doesn't the 'Miscarriage Society' exist to collect monies to fight this dreaded disease? What's the truth? For republicans in money and power, 'right to life' has nothing to do with life and everything to do with what? MONEY AND POWER!!!
Armadillo (Virginia)
@Charley Ross It would be nice if they cared about Already Born Children as much as they claim they care about a fetus. But I don't see much of that kind of caring.
MegWright (Kansas City)
@Armadillo - Well, TX cares enough about children to hand out DNA kits to the parents so their children's bodies can be identified once they're shredded by an AR-15. /s
Earth: 4 Billion Years Left To Shed Us (NY)
1:07 to 1:23 No one notices his error straight out of the gate~? He says, "I began to see the same people who told black women to have an abortion didn't care that the child had nutrition, didn't care that the child had good schools, didn't care that the child had a good home...didn't care anything about the child after it was born." Of course he meant: "who told Black women NOT to have an abortion." Perhaps most caught it immediately. My guess is that most missed the next few minutes of the lecture trying to figure out the discrepancy. No rewinds in church. This viewpoint has a place when making a dig against the pro-life 'attitude'; but it should have no place in the actual and factual argument regarding choice ~ science and a woman's autonomy. To me, this argument sadly relegates black population growth to the whims of societies' 'desire' to responsibly address inequality in our standard of living. That does not work out well for black people and limits their growth in general.
Bill Cashel (Cleveland)
@Earth: 4 Billion Years Left To Shed Us Nice "catch"!
TBC (Washington)
@Earth: 4 Billion Years Left To Shed Us Actually, I don't think that is what he meant to say. Although I think it would have been more accurate. And I think your point is a very weak one and generally, is a racist dog whistle. That does not mean that was your intent, but just know, the racists do hear it and they do respond. We know that having a child you are not prepared for or do not desire has a lot of deleterious effects for you, your family, the child, and society. We know this. And yes, there has certainly been plenty of racism directed towards our black communities. And there is absolutely devaluing of black lives. And are all of those who are proponents of abortion for black communities doing it to enable bodily autonomy and helping support women? No, I am sure there are racists. But that doesn't change the core value of having access to abortions.
George Livanos (Orange County NC)
Now that’s a real preacher! Keep on preaching that smart and positive message.
Arthur L. Kirkland (United States)
Competent adults neither advance nor accept superstition-based arguments in reasoned debate, particularly with respect to public affairs. People are entitled to believe as they wish; that doesn't mean they should expect others to respect superstition, which is just fairy tales meant solely for children. Gullible adults should know better.
Richard (Montana)
@Arthur L. Kirkland Gullible adults are gullible because their parents took them to church where they could hear silly stories about floods and talking snakes; dress in cute costumes to recreate an event that never occurred; and accept things on authority-- even if they don't make sense.
Timotheos (Phoenix)
“Superstition-based” is a rhetorical cheap shot. Whether you base it in revelation or reason, human life is invaluable. And reasonable minds may differ about how abortion should be regulated. Even Noam Chomsky, hardly superstitious, recognized that rights of fetuses need some consideration.
Enrico (Italy)
I agree with the pastor: the choice is on the women... I don't like the death of a baby but... we have a world where every day a lot of people dies because of bad conditions and almost nobody cares about it
teresa (Eugene, Oregon)
@Enrico No one is talking about the death of a baby. Words matter. Facts matter.
Enrico (Italy)
I agree with the pastor: the choice is on the women... I don't like the death of a baby but... we have a world where every day a lot of people dies because of bad conditions and almost nobody cares about it
David Johnson (San Francisco)
Yes, you can be pro-life and not pro-forced-birth. But most pro-lifers appear to more accurately described as pro-forced-birth.
Adam (Louisiana)
“I am personally anti-murder, but others can kill if they feel like it’s necessary” this is the logic behind being “personally pro-life” you either want to stop killing of the unborn or you don’t. People can disagree on methods such as banning vs subsidizing pregnancy, but pro-life means one thing.
MegWright (Kansas City)
@Adam - Apparently "pro-life" means pro-fetal life, but not pro-life for the woman who hosts that fetus, or pro-life for that cherished fetus once it's born.
Kevin (Chicago)
Abortion is not contraception,i repeat, abortion is not contraception!! Abortion should only be used/needed under certain circumstances,like incest,danger to mother,etc.We all know these circumstances.Again,it is not for contraception.
Paul Nolan (Jessup, MD)
This is absurd. My wife was on the pill and still got pregnant. We chose abortion. Our decision period, end of story. Not Texas or any other state.
Bob (Seattle)
There have been numerous "contraception on demand" programs over the years that have proven to reduce unwanted pregnancies. These are usually state or local programs. Whenever a Republican gets in charge, the program is stopped. The CFPI of 2009 is one of many examples.
teresa (Eugene, Oregon)
@Kevin Abortion is no business of Kevin's. I repeat, abortion is no business of Kevin. We all know who's body gets pregnant. Again, abortion is no business of Kevin's.
Paul Nolan (Jessup, MD)
Abortion affects a family’s future. If my wife didn’t have an abortion when I started law school, I wouldn’t have become a lawyer or been able to send three kids to college and adopt a girl from overseas. I also think I did a lot of good as a government lawyer investigating wrongdoing. I have no regrets and believe it is a fundamental right of family privacy that no government should interfere with.
shar persen (brookline)
@Paul Nolan But this is all about you. What about your wife? What is her take then and now on having had an abortion? (Btw, I am pro-choice and have been for more than 50 years. The erosion of women's rights and the polarization of this country are devastating.)
BB (Geneva)
@shar persen I think it's in-artfully expressed. They had those three kids, paid for college and adopted together.
Kinda Kind (NY, NY)
Some commenters here are disparaging the pastor who acknowledges that his personal opinions may not meet another person's needs and may in fact be harmful to that other person. The pastor has humility. It's something to be honored. It's something to be cultivated in oneself. Your life will be enriched by it, not diminished. Those of you taking pride in your denigrating stance against the pastor have forgotten not only your manners but something far more important: the clear statement "Judge not lest ye be judged."
Sharon (CT)
Reverend Stencil is a powerful and brilliant orator. He speaks in the manner of MLK, Jr. I love his sermon, his passion, and his compassion for his people. I hope he reaches a wide audience with this thoughtful and thought provoking sermon.
Practical Thoughts (East Coast)
I agree with the gist of the Reverend's position that women get to choose. I also agree 100 percent with his statement about how most anti-abortion people care less about the child once born. Just look at how little this country cares about educating the poor or how the state of Mississippi manages its welfare system. Abortion is a health care procedure. We have already seen too many instances of women being unnecessarily put at risk because a medical professional is afraid of breaking the law. All pregnancies don't end with a child and a lot can go medically wrong. 10 year-old children are not physically or emotionally developed enough to safely carry or bear a child. So regardless of ones "moral" position, there are plenty of basic medical care reasons why abortion needs to be made widely available. As for restricting abortion, I see the roll back of Roe vs. Wade as an erosion of the separation of church and state. Restricting abortion before 6 or 7 months is an opinion, not a medical or scientific decision. There is no scientific consensus that sentience begins at conception, or at 15 weeks. Its all faith based, religious or philosophical. The roll-back of Roe v. Wade is just another step towards a future dystopian America where freedom will be curtailed like it is in Russia or China.
Doug Holmes (Chicago)
Everyone's relationship with religion is unique, even within a denomination. So why do we let women make the choice after consulting THEIR religious guidance and THEIR doctor.
Ree Varcoe (Aurora, CO)
@Doug Holmes, am I right to assume you mean why "don't" we?
teresa (Eugene, Oregon)
@Doug Holmes Please. Typo, right?
Ruth Shaver (Providence Area, RI)
I wonder: how many other clergy are out there with the same personal aversion but understanding public stance? I'm certainly closer to this than the extremes, though after a colleague challenged me several years ago about my personal aversion possibly interfering with my ability to provide good pastoral care, I came to realize that if a parishioner decides that abortion is the best choice for her, I will support her 100% including whatever accompaniment or transportation help she may need.
nancy (Seattle)
@Ruth Shaver Great . But perhaps you need to go one step further and explain that publicly?
Kinda Kind (NY, NY)
@nancy I believe Ms. Shaver, in the statement you're responding to, already did what you're asking her to do. Please review her statement right here in the NY Times above your reply.
AR Clayboy (Scottsdale, AZ)
I am Black, a conservative and a non-practicing Christian. I am also a lawyer, such that I understand the precise legal issues at stake in Roe v. Wade, and therefore understand that there is nothing in the Constitution that would support a Constitutional right to an abortion. With all that said, as a social expedient, I support state legislation that would allow a woman the legal right to have an abortion in the first trimester. My reasoning is much like Pastor Waymon's, in the sense that we already have too many children born to parents who are unprepared and ill-equipped to raise them properly. Pastor Wayman, however, goes WAY TO FAR in absolving we, as a Black community, of responsibility for having a substantially disproportionate share of the abortions actually performed. As a community, we have not only developed a culture of casual sexuality, irresponsible family planning and out-of-wedlock birth, we do everything possible to celebrate that culture in our art, our social mores, and our behavior. By and large, we are the people bringing the gangs, drugs and crime into our communities, and we are the ones waging war on each other with the senseless violence. Even more, we as a community are largely sitting by idly while our children fall progressively farther behind in educational achievement. The pastor is a moral man, who for very practical reasons will countenance the murder of the unborn. Our community should not put him in a place where he has to.
Paxguy (Silver Spring, MD)
@AR Clayboy With all due respect, Mr. Clayboy, may I correct one sentence on historical grounds? Could I suggest that instead of saying, "As a community, we have developed a culture of casual sexuality....", you say: "As a community, in centuries of slavery we were subjected to widespread torture and rape, repeated annihilation of family units, and coerced into temporary liaisons. Our experience left us profoundly traumatized and the damage continues to haunt us as individuals and families." I share your commitment to holding human beings responsible to step up to the challenges they face, and not to rest passively and simply blame others. However, I also know from extensive personal experience that humans are more likely to rise to the work ahead when they feel confidence in themselves. Generational trauma deeply undercuts such confidence and the nuances of how we speak about things matter in its recovery. It doesn't help to shake a finger at people for "sitting idly by". We need to ask, understand, and address WHY are they sitting idly by.
Marie S (Portland, OR)
@AR Clayboy You say that, as a lawyer, you "understand that there is nothing in the Constitution that would support a Constitutional right to an abortion." I, as a lawyer, disagree with you. And the U.S. Supreme Court also disagreed with you from 1973 until this year when a politically motivated SCOTUS wiggled its way around stare decisis rules to decide that women should be punished.
NYT Reader (USA)
@AR Clayboy Murder? Really? A pregnant woman is a one person who deserves bodily autonomy, plus a fetus, which is a potential life. The pregant woman deserves the right to decide what happens inside her body. She deserves the right to decide whether she wants to go through childbirth. She deserves the right to decide whether she wants to use her body to bring a new person into the world. What's inside her body belongs to her and only her. If that's not the case, if there are really two persons, then let's start giving all women a pregnancy test at the border, and let's start naming and granting citizenship to "unborn people" as soon as a woman tests positive for pregnancy on U.S. soil.
Edward Allen (Spokane Valley)
No. I am sure he is brilliant, and makes the traditional Christian ethical arguments for tolerance, and for the right to choose (because if you can't choose, your choice is meaningless). I am sure he has a great deal to say. But I won't listen, any more than anyone should listen to me. No man, or more precisely, no non-womb holding individual, who is not an obstetrician has anything worthwhile to say on the issue, INCLUDING ME.
Emma (Oklahoma)
@Edward Allen We need men's voices. There are PLENTY of women who oppose abortion rights.
Paxguy (Silver Spring, MD)
@Edward Allen. Your goal, quite rightly, seems to be to empower woman. But on what basis would such a goal mean that no man has anything worthwhile to say? Empowerment need not, should not be an either/or. Let's have empowered women and engaged, supportive men.
Jipangu (Melbourne)
In my opinion it seems as though the main voices in both left and right leaning media in the USA conflate the argument about abortion leaving no room for nuance. I and millions of people appose abortion on personal and moral grounds but support/champion woman's right to choose. The gulf in the divide between people will only get worse if profit drives both opinion and politics in both the media and government. Of course most people are generally good, so how do people come to compromise and or unity over major issues?
TBC (Washington)
@Jipangu The problem is though, there isn't the gap you are claiming. One side here is pro-choice, which is literally your stated position. The other side is anti-abortion. So I ask you, what is this other supposed side across from anti-abortion that has no nuance? Are you on that side? Because again, you literally outlined your belief which is the pro-choice position.
Tom (Florida)
Bingo. Nailed it. White men, of whom I am one, either don't have a clue about others, or are too interested in maintaining power to undertake broad brush legislation or judicial decisions that make PERSONAL decisions for those with whom we cannot relate.
moderate (Midwest)
The optics: a man at the podium telling women what to think. The men at least partially responsible for the problem absent/not listening. It is sad to imagine that church once was full of families and babies.
KMR (San Francisco)
@moderate - I heard a man at the podium telling a congregation that he couldn’t tell women how to think…that he could not judge their lived experience.
Hugues (Paris)
@moderate He didn't tell the audience what to think. He told him precisely that his own pro-life perpective was flawed and that those people in the audience, who happen to be women, should make their choice for themselves. Listen to the sermon again.
R M N (Madison, WI)
@moderate I'd suggest turning on the volume because nothing in his sermon was about a man telling women what to think.
firlfriend (usa)
What a great sermon. Glad I listened to it. No one can live in someone else's shoes.
Todd (Los Angeles, CA)
This seems like the obvious position to take if you believe abortion is wrong (or any other behavior one believes religiously immoral). The freedom of speech is the mechanism in a free society to encourage moral behavior, not legislative action.
Mike (Watsonville)
Real people are nuanced in their views, for the most part. Politicians take sides and adopt extreme public positions for political reasons they themselves likely don't hold privately.
NBE (06840)
I am pro-choice and always have been. What that means is that I support a woman's right to choose what is best for her. It is not up to me to try to control the life or the decisions of any other person.
Yes, she has a right to chose. But her choice (of abortion) would be wrong. Let’s stay on that part a little longer and not simply pass it over.
vin (Irvine)
Because your religion said so? I disagree.
teresa (Eugene, Oregon)
@QQ No. You stay on that if you want to. I disagree with your premise, so I'm not "on that part" at all.
LB (California)
He's right
e (scottsdale)
In every respect.
Mackin (Colorado)
Never heard a Man of God make more sense
Al Byers (Orem, UT)
But we don't have power - don't we see? In the end, none of us do. Along the way some of us have the power to control others, but any discussion about abortion or any matter concerning life that does not acknowledge our dependence on a higher power for a positive outcome is just as a bunch of jackals quarreling over a carcass.
Zoey Grey (E. Lansing, MI)
I have no idea what you mean by that. Are you trying to say, “Let Go and Let God”? But not everyone believes in God, and even if we did, we’d still have free will, wouldn’t we? So do individuals have the right to choose, or is that right only bestowed upon the legislature?
NYT Reader (USA)
@Al Byers But we very much do have the power. Every single one of us has the power to mind our own business and let women decide for themselves whether they want to give birth or not. If the higher power has an issue with a woman's choices, the higher power is more than able to handle the situation without our interference.
teresa (Eugene, Oregon)
@Al Byers Well, call me jackal, Al. Call me jackal, or call me woman, either way, it is not not the business of Your higher power to make rules for My body. Sincerely, Jackal
Lorraine Drouin (Greenlawn NY)
the heart wrenching decision a woman must make to have an abortion is between her and God.
rms (Near Los Angeles)
@Lorraine Drouin Good grief. I assure you that my decision when I was a struggling college student (who was using birth control, BTW) to get an abortion was not "heart wrenching." Indeed it was a foregone conclusion and the most upsetting part of it was having to spend $700, which I could ill-afford. When it was done, I felt only relief. (Oh, and it allowed me to finish school, get a graduate degree, have a career , get married and have two wonderful children (neither of whom would be here if it hadn't been for my right to choose).
Melissa (NYC)
Don’t believe in abortions….don’t get one! Simple as that.
D D (SoFlo)
The man with the microphone and the NYT want you to hear the opinions of those whose bodies cannot get pregnant.
D D (SoFlo)
The man with the microphone and the NYT want you to hear the opinions of those whose bodies cannot get pregnant.
David (Short Hills, NJ)
Pope Francis, are you listening?
John Barron (Found In Seattle)
@David He's busy with his tweets and prayers.
Hla3452 (Tulsa)
@David Abortion is legal in Italy and the rest of the EU.
teresa (Eugene, Oregon)
@Hla3452 No thanks to the pope!
JRF (Palm Beach)
The Paradox of being both Pro-(before birth)-Life and still support the death penalty, is only one of the philosophical inconsistencies of the Republican platform. Less compassionate people would try to make us believe they care about the unborn - in the abstract, and yet ignore the tangible needs of the living, all throughout their lifecycle. "Choice" is at the heart of the American experiment, just as it is in life we make choices left and right between good and evil. And yet the same party that brought us the Laissez-faire style of Capitalism, that opposes government intervention, is the same party that wants to govern women's vaginas. Republican politicians and their SCOTUS judges are selectively forcing their hypocritical and inconsistent values on rest of Society. VOTE.
Free Ralo (TX)
@JRF Were you so principled about the American value of "choice" when certain folks chose not to wear masks? Democrats pushed very hard to make that medical choice a crime. Hypocrisy abounds. The fact is neither of our political parties respects individual liberty all that much. I hope one day we can get past that tendency, because in a hopelessly divided society, it will be our undoing.
Zoey Grey (E. Lansing, MI)
Evangelicals believe only zygotes/embryos/fetuses are “pure” enough to deserve life. The rest of us (LGBTQ children and adults, pregnant women, the poor) can just skedaddle off this mortal coil any time, in their opinion.
Groucho Marxist (Canada)
Clearly you do not understand the basic idea of public health. An abortion does not affect the well-being of a community, nation, or even your place of work. Wearing a mask is only partly for your benefit because not doing so can have effects, potentially deadly especially if vaccination refusal is widespread, on your family, your workplace, and on society. It's however not clear to me that you believe in the well-being of society - - after all, a famous Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher said that there was no such thing as society, but science has a way of catching up. "Nature will not be fooled. " It seems that your opinion is widely shared in the US though. Defeat all Republicans everywhere!
ellie k. (michigan)
He makes so much sense. I’m glad I watched. Now how can I get this out so more people can hear this? He is very eloquent and brings up a point crucial to the discussion: where is all that concern for the child after the birth?
TBC (Washington)
This is a pro choice position...it isn't novel and it is the fricking norm on the pro choice side. The stigma applied to abortions is a problem - but no one is arguing that we want abortions for the sake of abortions. Kudos to Mr Stancil for advocating for what many others already do.
Karen Iwrey (Jacksonville,Fl)
Pro-life isn’t what they are. If they are really for life they would be concerned about the woman’s life. They are anti-choice, anti-women, and they have no idea what it means to be “christian”
Bruce (Denver CO)
The question is, of course, why don't soooooo many poor and lower middle class income folks vote? Are they afraid? I doubt. Are they ignorant? I suspect that is true of many who are ignorant because they are too lazy to determine the positions of those seeking their vote. But, I very strongly suspect, the #1 reason not to vote is they are simply lazy. And, being lazy, they don't desire the right to vote. It is those who are not afraid, not ignorant and not lazy who suffer right along with the non-voters. This is how America got stuck with Trump and how America is now stuck with Trumpers. A sad, sad, sad state of affairs.
Lissa (Virginia)
Well, Republicans have been bloviating for years the unfounded claims that voter fraud exists, of which after years of investigations - zero evidence exists that fraud exists to the extent they claim, or to impact outcomes. But guess what there is evidence for? Year after year and with evidence to alter outcomes? Voter suppression. So is laziness an issue? Yes, but not with the group you accuse. But, rather yourself and others who cannot be bothered to learn the facts.
Jay D (Westchester NY)
@Bruce I don't think people don't vote because they are lazy. As we speak, Republicans are making it more difficult to vote by removing polling areas thereby making lines longer in black communities. They are removing voting drop off boxes in black areas. Black people are the poorest and most often work hourly jobs in these areas. Do you think it makes sense for them to spend 5 hours in line trying to vote instead of making that $50 if you are paid $10 per hour. We need to make it easier for people to vote but Republicans (Trump said this himself in 2020) will never win another national election.
MegWright (Kansas City)
@Bruce - Apparently you've never had to work two or three jobs to keep body and soul together. Sometimes people don't have TIME to vote, and are so overwhelmed they can't concern themselves with things besides sheer survival.
Thomas (Kiel, Germany)
From the perspective of a Northern European, the debate is very antiquated and typically American. Because of the defacto two-party system, you constantly tend to have to decide between two extremes. I wish you more pluralism, it would be good for your whole society.
Chris (Honolulu)
@Thomas "I wish you more pluralism" - this is a fantastic way to say it. I wish us more pluralism too.
Tim P (Miami, Fla)
@Thomas it sure works for Europe. Or not.
Free Ralo (TX)
@Thomas Totally agree. May the new year bring us more pluralism!
MadronaBlack (Seattle)
Interesting. Those listening to his sermon are primarily women and seniors. Where are the Black men? I can tell you where they are. At home. The Black church has long ago lost Black men, because the church is ruled by 501 (c) 3.
Zoey Grey (E. Lansing, MI)
The church is ruled by 503(c) so black men don’t go any more? What?
BB (Geneva)
@MadronaBlack That's a nice thought, but white men attend church services at far lower rates than white women, too.
Imansvu (CA)
Thank you sir!
Barbara (Myrtle Beach)
Truly pro-life people (and politicians) would work to provide for children after they are born, not simply insist that no woman can have an abortion under almost all circumstances. Is it not pro-life for a woman to have autonomy over her own body? Anything less is a type of servitude or slavery that no man is subjected to and therefore is not equal under the law. That said, abortion should generally be a last choice, not the first one. But there are exceptions. A friend experienced one. She had 4 children, ages 2-12. During the last pregnancy, she had pre-eclampsia. Her life was threatened. While she and her husband were deciding whether to have a vasectomy or a tubal ligation, she became pregnant again. To save her life (and be a mother for her existing children), this couple chose abortion--and a vasectomy.
nerdrage (SF)
@Barbara That reminds me. Why aren't the pro-lifers working to make vasectomy illegal? Think of all the babies that were never born because of every vasectomy! Oh right, only men have vasectomies, that's why they oddly don't seem to care.
Vivek36 (New York)
"I’m a Pro-Life Pastor but I Support a Woman’s Right to Choose" In other words he is not pro-life but merely a hypocrite.
Peter Pickle (New York City)
Thank you finally someone tells the truth.
E (S)
I think the hypocrisy comes from gun toting, war mongering right wingers who refuse to support things like adequate nutrition, medical care, clean water etc. for everyone, especially pregnant women. Check out the infant mortality stats in red states.
MegWright (Kansas City)
@Vivek36 - From Sister Joan Chittister: ""I do not believe that just because you are opposed to abortion, that that makes you pro-life. In fact, I think in many cases, your morality is deeply lacking if all you want is a child born but not a child fed, a child educated, a child housed. And why would I think that you don't? Because you don't want any tax money to go there. That's not pro-life. That's pro-birth. We need a much broader conversation on what the morality of pro-life is."
Lorenzo Jones (Bronx, NY)
I agree with the reverend. However, not mentioned is the reason we black Americans have more abortions. They are rampant in our community because responsibility is absent. In the urban community where most abortions take place, we have an extreme shortage of fathers, fathers to give security and love and responsibility. Instead of simple precautions, there is only momentary passion as escape from the dreary existence in urban areas wrought by dependence on handouts. Fathers leave because if they stay are penalized with support they can't earn or help with, and become further slaves to the machine. Instead of helping families, the government is the main cause of abortion, as existence and hope seems lost in that environment.
nerdrage (SF)
@Lorenzo Jones The underlying cause of most abortions is economic. If the pro-lifers really want to save babies, they can start being taxed to care for each baby to age 18. That's about $250K. Gonna be a hefty bill but it's all about morality and you can't put a price tag on that, right? No complaining when your taxes skyrocket to care for all the non-aborted babies.
Drew (Austin)
@nerdrage Lorenzo says we need dads. If you're disagreeing to say we just need cash, I'm going with Lorenzo on this one.
BB (Geneva)
@Lorenzo Jones Honestly, having a man around won't make much of a difference if he is unemployed and has no trade. White, single mothers, have more wealth than black married parents. Getting black men to be better dads can't hurt, but it won't do much for the household's finances.
polymath (British Columbia)
I wonder why the church he is speaking in appears to be about 99% empty.
Jamie (St. Louis, MO)
@polymath The article itself states that much of the church's traffic is online now. In addition, it is entirely possible that people were at the church that day but did not consent to be filmed.
Peter Pickle (New York City)
Because no attends a church for very long where the truth isn’t spoken.
Mark (OC CA)
Having read the Bible more than a couple times, I could use it support any possible stance you can have on any issue, ever.
NYT Reader (USA)
@Mark And maybe that is the point. What each person chooses to take away from it is a reflection of who they are.
Peter B (Toronto)
The whole point of the pro-life movement is that no one has the right to end the life of a fetus who, at a certain point, attains consciousness in the womb, regardless of how inconvenient that is to the mother and society. Unless you are going to specifically argue that the right of a babies life less than that of the mothers and can be terminated, or that the baby does not exist as a conscious person, then you are not convincing opponents. The problem with those who do accept the first variant of the above argument, is that in principle parents who find raising a 1-year old to be too much of a hassle would legally be allowed to execute their child at any point if it is too much of a burden. In a civil society that is simply outrageous. Resources should be allocated for child care. Its not an easy choice but this sermon, and the usual pro-choice advocacy arguments being trotted out in the comments, COMPLETELY ignore the actual issue pro-lifers are talking about. I don't understand how you guys continually expect to impact the debate by ignoring the arguments of your opponents. You aren't going to accomplish anything by strawmanning the opposition
ellie k. (michigan)
@Peter B The opponents fail to make a good argument and aren’t talking about actual issues. They rely on their extreme religious beliefs and fail very short of actually caring about children once their born.
nerdrage (SF)
@Peter B "Resources should be allocated for child care." That's only the start. Each new baby that wasn't aborted needs to be raised to age 18. The cost of that child is about $250K. If the parents (or single parent) can't handle it, and they often can't, then it's society's burden. I'm not willing to be taxed to pay for babies other people don't want. If you are, good for you. The tax burden should fall on you alone and those of your opinions. $250K x every non-aborted baby, wow. Prepare to be taxed up the wazoo. Pro-lifers will be changing their tune fast when they see the price tag, meaning those who remain will see their tax burdens skyrocket even further. But if you truly believe in your stance, that shouldn't be a problem, right? Either you pay, or we all pay, when those unwanted babies grow up to be criminals.
Litany (Arlington)
@Peter B The position held by most "pro life" ideologues has even greater contradictions. Why do so many of them oppose universal healthcare and aid to children in poor families? Why were so many of them willing to let a million immunocompromised and elderly people die to protect the economy? Why did so many of them support the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan which killed (by conservative estimates) half a million civilians to no clear purpose? I don't understand how you guys continually expect us to believe you value the lives of the unborn when you constantly demonstrate your disregard for the lives of everyone else.
Lissa (Virginia)
Every abortion is NOT a tragedy! It may be to you, but that doesn’t mean you can vouch it in absolute terms. Some abortions may be a tragedy (and to be very clear: A miscarriage is clinically called a ‘spontaneous abortion’); but some abortions may be a blessing. The challenge with humans, and increasingly humans in America, is to hold two different ideas: Abortion as a necessary tragedy or a necessary blessing and understand that both can be true. Abortion is necessary.
nerdrage (SF)
@Lissa With 8 billion people destroying this planet, abortion is far from a tragedy. It's a benefit to our struggling planet. Either we get our population under control or the planet will do it for us, by killing us in great swathes. Notice how the planet is throwing drought, floods, hurricanes etc at us, exactly like a body trying to obliteration an infection? Humans are an infection.
jay (oakland)
I haven't been pro-life or pro-choice for decades. My belief is a person has the right to bodily autonomy full stop. It's not about abortion, it's not about zygotes, it's about the right to control your body, up to and including all life-saving treatment for yourself.
The Queen of Feral Cats (Virginia)
@jay - Sure sounds to me like you're pro-choice. Please own it. We need more people like you who can distill the argument simply and succinctly.
Nobody (Nowhere)
Hillary Clinton said it best: "Abortion should be safe, legal and rare." Every abortion is a tragedy. The underlying reasons are never frivilous. I think all of us would like to avoid these situations. The debate is over how. The cheap way out is to make abortion illegal. Then anybody who gets one is a criminal and we have an excuse to judge rather than help. The better way is to address the underlying causes. Teach kids about reproductive health and affirmative consent. Prosecute rapists and predators. Prosecute drug cartels, not just the dealers on the street. Realize that ensuring all kids have a good education and food security is not a handout, it is an investment in their future and in society's future. That is the right way to reduce the abortion rate.
Susan (Arizona)
@Nobody Exactly what I think. If we addressed the inequality of education, of opportunity, of living conditions, of food security, we would go a long way toward ending the grinding poverty that causes many women to chose unprotected sex and abortion as birth control. And be on the moral high ground.
MegWright (Kansas City)
@Nobody - Nevertheless, about 8% of pregnancies go very wrong and many of them would kill the mother if the doomed fetus isn't removed by a medical procedure called abortion. Blanket abortion bans mean even in states that claim to have an exception for the woman's life, doctors are afraid to intervene in a timely manner for fear someone will take them to court and claim the mother's life wasn't in THAT much danger. So the woman is left to bleed for two weeks, or to turn septic and be on the verge of death, before the doctor will intervene.
E (S)
Yep and Democrats are the ones whose policies help people avoid unwanted pregnancies. One of many reasons why I began voting for them.
Lewis Sternberg (Ottawa, ON.)
I’m pro-life too but that does not mean that I’ve the right to dictate my values on others.
MM (New York)
What a breath of fresh air. The discourse in this country has to change but politicians want the division. The reverend’s view is a good example of how it could change; not just on this issue, but practically all issues. We need a new breed of democrats.
Heidi (Seattle, WA)
Wonderful sermon by Rev. Stancil. He struck a home run by emphasizing the complexity of the pro life/ right to choose debate. I believe humans in general believe in the sanctity of life, yet ultimately women still should be able to choose whether to bring a child into this world. For it is the woman who ultimately is responsible for her child. Until our world supports all children regardless of race, class and opportunity I will continue to support a woman's right to choose. Rev. Stancil realized that despite his personal pro life stance, woman have the right to make their own decisions about child bearing. No religion, no man, no political rhetoric should exercise power over our right to choose. Thank you Rev Stancil.
Mike Seltzer (Monterey County)
In a Conservative society, children born to poor women are treated as disposable as are their mothers. This is the glaring hypocrisy of the anti-choice movement. By their presumed standard, children born or unborn are worthy of compassion and care, yet in practice, this is not the case.
Peter Pickle (New York City)
False. People of faith give double to charity. And in far greater numbers.
MegWright (Kansas City)
@Peter Pickle - Wrong. You're counting donations so the church can build a new sanctuary or buy the pastor a new plane as charitable donations. Those aren't the kinds of donations that will help anyone.
E (S)
Yeah, and those charities are often mega churches who don’t do squat when it comes to helping people. Have you tried raising a family solely on charity?
Barbara (Iowa)
Couldn't have said it better myself. Really makes you realize this new "law" is about control, and nothing else.
SridharC (New York)
Brilliant! Absolutely Brilliant!
John Williams (Petrolia, CA)
Isn't this Biden's position? What's the big deal.
King Michael (Toronto)
Can we stop hearing from MEN on this issue once and for all?
Houston Transplant (Houston, TX)
You know what would be refreshing? To hear men get vocal about men taking responsibility for birth control every time they have sex with a woman. THAT would be a welcome contribution to the conversation.
Grace (Albany, NY)
@King Michael Men are half of the equation.
Cromulence (Springfield)
@King Michael Men are the cause of every single abortion and unwanted pregnancy. They're always able to father children and could father herds of children over a lifetime. Women, who are fertile only a few days a month, can have maximum one pregnancy a year. Women can have sexual pleasure without risking pregnancy. Men? We know how that goes. They cause the problem. They can talk about pregnancy and abortion so long as they take responsibility for the consequences of their actions.
CWaterous (Belleville IL)
If you thought his piece deserved a wider audience, you could have produced a written transcript for those who cannot listen to it.
bicyclist (Boston, MA)
@CWaterous I'm hearing-impaired so I'm right with you, but I have to say, watching him and reading the closed captions was great, and probably worth taking the time.
ellie k. (michigan)
@CWaterous It is close captioned is it not?
NYT Reader (USA)
@CWaterous The speech has closed captions.
Truthiness (New York)
What gets me is so many “pro life” individuals would support a Civil War and guns guns guns. Life is sacred in the womb, but not so much outside.
robert conger (mi)
In 5 minutes the Pastor Summed it up. If everyone lived with the moral clarity this man expressed society would be a lot healthier.
SixplusFour (Dallas)
The idea that an array of cells with no brain activity is a "person" is a purely religious idea.
Steve Bolger (New York City)
@SixplusFour: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion" explicitly prohibits making laws of religious beliefs.
Mooße (Philadelphia)
@Steve Bolger No, it explicitly prohibits congress from making any law establishing a religion. Plenty of legislation is inspired by religious beliefs. There is a difference between legislation based on moral/religious foundations and establishing a state church.
A.R.S. (NJ)
@Mooße Agree with SB. "It is a fair inference from the First Amendment’s ban on “establishment of religion” that the Constitution should not be hijacked by any primarily religious movement or by a political movement that exploits religion as a Trojan Horse. Yet Dobbs followed—and embodies the approach of—a series of Supreme Court decisions systematically eroding the sometimes-maligned “wall” of separation between church and state. " Laurence Tribe in Deconstructing Dobbs.
dank (midwest)
Definitely not pro-life. This is just following the message and stylings of Warnock. Always immediately a red flag when someone says " I am pro-life, but..." Supporting the choice to abort a baby because that child might have a hard upbringing is such a horrible argument, yet it keeps getting used. Since your life might be harder than someone else's, you don't get a shot at that life? How many children have overcome hard upbringings to find out that they to can at least survive or maybe even become successful? Her birthed child when on to become successful, what about the aborted child?- How do we know that child wouldn't be successful? We don't. It's a ridiculous argument to make and a horrible example. Also concerning when someone measures the validity of opinion based only on race. Not much new in this rant that we haven't already heard from "pro-life" pastors. Just a lot of yelling and appealing to emotion while using completely illogical arguments. To be clear, there is nothing wrong with being pro-life or pro-choice, its just when someone says they are something when they are not to convince the other side that is sinister.
Zoey Grey (E. Lansing, MI)
Do you not understand how you can be “pro-life” for yourself, yet not want to impose that position on others? That’s not hypocrisy. That’s the very essence of a secular society. You don’t get to impose your religious beliefs on others in a secular society. And despite all of the noise from the right to the contrary, the healthiest governments are secular. Whenever religion becomes entangled in government, people of other faiths (or of no faith) will suffer. Ultimately, people of faith will also suffer, as the society becomes autocratic and doctrinaire.
NYT Reader (USA)
@dank We are entitled to life once we are born, but no one is entitled to be born. There is no such right. At least not without the right to force a woman to give birth against her will. Do you support that right? That woman might never have had a shot at the life she had had she not chosen abortion. Or she might have. We just don't know. And it's not our place to force her to use her body to give birth against her will.
Barbara (NC)
If sancitity of life is important than why don't pro lifers spend more of their money on *keeping the children amd adults we already have in this world housed in affordable housing, given adequate healthcare, education, and food* than they do on getting their tax cutting representatives elected?
Sandra Wise (San Diego)
@Barbara People need to watch George Carlin's view on the GOP's view of abortion and their policy on childrn who are in need of basic care.
MFW (Tampa)
He opposes abortion "on moral grounds" but is "vehemently supportive" of a woman getting an abortion. Yep, that sounds like something everyone needs to hear to me. Name another issues where people are opposed to something on moral grounds but thinks everyone should go right ahead if they want. Yeah, I can't think of one either.
Sandra Wise (San Diego)
@MFW I think he's supportive of a woman to has body autonomy. What is wrong with that? You want control of my body, then support me financially.
DM (Colorado)
@MFW Moral absolutes are often a sign of moral immaturity. Ectopic pregnancies, miscarriages, septic uteri, pregnancies gone tragically wrong often require abortion to save life of mother. Pastors, priests, and ministers who serve their congregations have seen suffering pre-Roe and understand that abortion is best decided by a woman in consultation with her doctor and, depending on religion, God-- not legislated by politicians, esp men who have no understanding of medical reality. It has nothing to do with go right ahead-- Too many Republicans are quite cavalier about the life of women. Incest and rape are other realities that prevent moral absolutism except by those cavalier about causing suffering. There are other issues. Thou Shalt Not Kill... yet we have wars and death penalty.
HT (Ohio)
@MFW Drinking, gambling, premarital sex, divorce -- it's very easy to think of other issues that some people oppose on moral grounds but accept that others may make different choices.
I’m what society considers a white evangelical and I completely agree with you, Reverend. God bless you and your church family.
Liza Blusky (North Central MT)
Rev. Stancil is a wonderful speaker and he makes his points well, with passion and impact. This video made my day. Thank you Rev. Stancil and NYTimes
Livonian (Los Angeles)
Whether based in scripture or otherwise, I don't think Mr. Stancil's position on abortion that is far at all from the mainstream. It's generally considered a tragedy, a deeply morally fraught decision - but one which the woman herself and not the government must be allowed to make. (In fact, because it is so fraught, because women do not seek abortions lightly, is why we need to allow women their own choice in this matter). "Safe, legal and rare" is the position Bill Clinton staked out. That's where Americans and probably most people in the world are. The problem in our "debate" is that to try to explain why one would want it to "rare" while also legal sets you up for being accused of being a Bible-thumping misogynist, an anti-scientific dork who can't differentiate between a "mere blob" and a "human," etc. The partisan pro-choicers and partisan pro-lifers' control of this "debate" squeeze out nuance compassion and intellectual honesty.
Zoey Grey (E. Lansing, MI)
The nuance is getting squeezed out of just about every issue imaginable, because that’s what brings the money rolling in…
NYT Reader (USA)
@Livonian He should have stopped at safe and legal. Rare can be left out, as it is the byproduct of entirely different laws and policies that ensure people have broad access to sex education, contraception, and child services.
Sharon (USA)
Outside of commenting on the sermon, can anyone who is a member of the GOP please explain what you really mean when you say "keep the government out of our lives?" I find it so very confusing.
Newt Baker (Tennessee)
I want to chime in again to try for clarity. When the rhetorical dust settles, there is one issue and that is personhood. Science is concerned with how things work. Philosophy and religion are concerned with what things are. As far as science is concerned, there is no such thing as a person, but very few would argue that any particular scientist is not a person! Since persons are not the subject of science, science cannot establish when personhood arises from human tissue. A person is not tissue. And certainly science cannot establish if or when some spiritual soul begins inhabiting tissue. Indeed, scientism holds that there is nothing other than tissue, so persons are ephemeral phenomena which don’t actually exist. If persons are mere ghosts in the human machine, they are of no real value. And yet, we value human persons above all else! One person commented that religion equals fairy tales and should therefore have no bearing on the discussion. And yet, why do fairy tales persist? Or any stories about humans and good and evil? It is the limits of science that make other ways of knowing necessary, else we must say goodbye to persons and personhood altogether, in which case all acts of violence against persons are acceptable. When and if personhood arises is a belief. Our government has a fraught history of declaring what a person is. Best to leave it up to individual persons to decide.
Hal C (San Diego)
@Newt Baker Personhood is a red herring. Under no other circumstance would we ever consider legally mandating the use of one person's organs to act as life support for another person. We can't compel a single drop of blood from a parent to save a living child. We can't even use to organs of corpses without prior consent. It's only the pregnant person whose bodily autonomy is not considered inviolate.
Zoey Grey (E. Lansing, MI)
@Hal C Hear, hear! It is why individual choice is the only conceivable policy. The rest needs to be worked out between the parents and their God, if they believe in one.
Piotr Ogorek (New York Warsaw)
Then you aren't pro-life. This is called cat fishing.
Actually, it is entirely possible to have a personal moral compass that you feel no need to impose on other people because you recognize their personhood and autonomy.
Chris (NYC)
@Piotr Ogorek Hello piotr, you seem to be a pot calling the kettle black. I have always been a pro-life person, I am pro MY LIFE, MY CHOICE. There are just too many populations in this world, especially in big cities like NYC, how would you like it if the government demands you get a discectomy??
Emily (USA)
Pro-choice is the true “pro-life” stance, because it’s the mother choosing the life that she believes will provide the best outcome. Pro-life is really forced birth, which neither supports life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness.
Swoop (Midwest)
So not pro life then. This isn't an issue where you can walk a line. If you recognize that abortion is the violent killing of another human being without justification, it must be illegal. Some choices are simply not acceptable.
Susan in Maine (now New Hampshire) (NH)
@Swoop Define human being. Is the woman carrying the fetus not a human being with right to life and protection from a dead or non-viable fetus which may cause her death? And if she bleeds to death due to a pregnancy gone wrong, is that not a violent killing?
Nicola (UK)
@Swoop luckily no one would suggest terminating a nine-week pregnancy was anything like a violent killing.
Zoey Grey (E. Lansing, MI)
@Swoop Actually, this is one of the positions where intelligent people all agree you MUST walk the line. You cannot just say “no abortions, ever.” No civilized (modern) society has ever decided thusly. Therefore, there are nuances which must be defined. When is it acceptable? Why? For whom? Who decides? Etc. The evangelical movement in this country, of which I suspect you are a member, likes everything to be black and white. You’re either good or bad, male or female, gay or straight, etc. But life isn’t so simple, I’m afraid. People are often both good and bad, most people have both masculine and feminine traits, etc. To live in this world is to accept that most situations are a shade of grey. To not want to accept that is to live in a fantasyland.
VD (New York)
It's pretty simple. If the government cannot force a baker to decorate a cake for a same sex marriage, it cannot force a woman to carry a pregnancy to term.
Josh (Seattle)
Abortion should be widely available, affordable/free, safe, and rare. These are attributes do not stand in opposition to one another, as they can ideally be applied to practically any other medical procedure.
Ramesh (Texas)
Thanks for the video. Most people accept it as self-evident that it is not a YES or NO issue but one filled with many details that cannot be generalized. We therefore need all the help we can get in this subject matter
BSD (America)
Amen! So well said, with conviction rooted in experience, not in theories or ideologies.
Maggie (Chicago)
annienwonderland (Houston, TX)
@Maggie could you elaborate?
Tom (Omaha)
Moral relativism from an evangelical? What is the world coming to? He's a great speaker and seems genuinely moved by his past experience. Now, he should now make the next logical step and leave the church behind.
Rhporter (Virginia)
@Tom the ame church is centuries old and old enough to avoid simplistic answers. The reverend has his opinion, but respects the right to choose differently. That is an appropriate response from a black church who knows the importance to black people of the right to choose.
Not all evangelicals agree with your particular brand of religion.
Tom (Omaha)
@Rhporter It's not an appropriate response from any church, regardless of the congregations' demographic. He's delivering his "opinion" from the pulpit of a church. What is it Reverend, moral or not? Clearly the answer does not lie in a "centuries old" church, and the Reverend just proved it.
Karen (Minneapolis)
Thank you for publishing this article and video. This, I believe, presents us with the crux of the issues surrounding all abortions. Although this pastor couches it largely in terms of race and poverty, both of which are huge considerations for question of choice, the key is that none of us is able to stand on the ground of the human being faced with the choice of what to do in the face of a tragic pregnancy. No legislature, lawmaker, court, judge, doctor, hospital, or officeholder of any kind stands in the shoes of the pregnant human being and knows the circumstances that person and the fetus face. No one is equipped to decide or is privileged to decide except that person. This truth cannot be legitimately challenged either in political or religious terms, as much as it is argued that it can be. Any power that grants to itself the authority to take the decision away from the pregnant person or that person’s legally-appointed representative is power that has overreached its legitimate boundaries and is, in that instance, not morally legitimate.
Futbolistaviva (SF, CA)
As far I am concerned the day I wake up and have a uterus is the day I will have a valid opinion on a women's right to choose. For the record, I am white middle aged male.
James (Texas)
@Futbolistaviva When is it your choice and when it is murder? What does the bible actually tell you? I also have a problem giving tax breaks to people who profess religion. I don't question others beliefs, but you can claim a belief and profit from it? There needs to be greater scrutiny. Perhaps whatever religion you claim needs to be sanctioned and then the religious organization sanction you. Otherwise, I could just make up some belief and file for a tax exemption. Which may be the case when many of these "pastors". In which case, it isn't religion, But theft
Barbara (NC)
@James Was even a single woman historically involved in writing the bible? because much as the churches et al say it is god's word it has been handed down for thousands of years and rewritten and re"translated" and reinterepreted by men.
The Queen of Feral Cats (Virginia)
@James - "What does the bible actually tell you?" Who cares, and why is that remotely relevant?
Why (Now?)
As a Safe House Manager and a single mom, I can tell you that raising kids is hard, even with the best intentions. Watching women as they came into the Safe House after being beaten while pregnant, with no money, and nowhere to turn is heartbreaking. Women have to choose! No one is telling men what they can and cannot do. We, women, have to decide to vote. It's up to us!
Piotr Ogorek (New York Warsaw)
@Why Really there are thousands of laws telling men what they can and cannot do.
E (S)
Um yeah, those same laws apply to women. Please don’t have sex until you learn the basics.
BB (Geneva)
@E No they don't. There is no law that forces a man to risk his life to stay pregnant against his will. Because pregnancy kills and maims. If that is the law, then women should be compensated for the risk.
Betsy Meredith (Schoharie, NY)
I wish we didn’t have to choose between politicians who only care about babies before they are born, and those that (maybe) only care after they are born. Why can’t we envision a society that encourages carrying the pregnancy to term with real support during every stage of a child’s life?
Thomas Riddle (Greensboro, NC)
That being said, allowing for the legitimacy of Pastor Stancil's point concerning the importance of attending to quality of life and not just life itself, his emphasis on choice strikes me as almost entirely misguided. Yes, the Bible stipulates that we have choice, that we have free will, but its entire focus is on making virtuous choices of the sort pleasing to God. Pastor Stancil seems to equate the fact of having a choice with an imperative to support the the free exercise of choice, almost regardless of any relevant circumstances. Surely we can acknowledge that, yes, people have choices--but only certain choices should be morally and legally acceptable in a virtuous or even merely civilized society. Our laws not only reflect the moral ethos of our society; they help shape that ethos, promoting norms of virtue conducive to the common good. Pastor Stancil tellingly refers to a young woman who, in his words, found herself pregnant. The passive voice is significant here. A more honest description would characterize her as having gotten pregnant, due to engaging in irresponsible sexual conduct--as we have all very likely engaged in, to be clear. His phrasing robs this mother of moral agency. Such dishonesty undermines the more compelling aspects of his overall argument. Unfortunately, his racializing of the issue is even less reasoned and palatable. On the whole, his position is incoherent and highly questionable, though he does raise noteworthy considerations.
Response (Chicago)
@Thomas Riddle I think the passive voice is entirely appropriate in describing the girl's condition. The pastor mentions that he suspects that she was impregnated by a family member and that she "went on to high school," meaning that she was very likely under the age of 14 when she became pregnant. A middle-school aged child can hardly consent to "irresponsible sexual conduct."
Agatha (Pnw)
@Thomas Riddle Did you not hear the part where the pastor said that he suspected the woman had gotten pregnant by a family member? Incestuous rape is worlds apart from "engaging in irresponsible sexual conduct." Or any rape for that matter. Whether or not that was the case in this specific instance, unfortunately that kind of thing is horrifically common. Unless you have really put yourself in the shoes of a raped woman, a woman who has suffered incest, or even simply a person who has the ability to get pregnant, your perspective of the matter is limited. A civilized society, in my opinion, would acknowledge these unfortunate truths and allow for dealing with them in a civilized way: giving the woman who has been robbed of agency in one regard agency to take care of herself in the best way she can. Not only acknowledge these horrific truths, but allow actions to stop the cycle of abuse. Not forcing her to give birth to potentially the child of incestuous rape and exposing the born child to these hellish circumstances as well. It's unfortunate that you found his racializing of the issue unpalatable, sounds like your palate is quite delicate. It seems your perspective in this matter is limited as well.
HandsomeMrToad (USA)
@Thomas Riddle You're right: only some choices should be acceptable in a virtuous or even merely civilized society. Specifically, your choice to keep your money rather than sending it to me should be considered unacceptable, and banned. You should be legally required to send me all your money, and you should be thrown in jail if you refuse to send it to me.
Luke (Yonkers, NY)
Wonderful sermon, and let us not forget that both in traditional Judaism and Christianity, it was only at the time of "quickening" (when movement of the fetus is first detected by the woman, usually at around 18-20 weeks) that the fetus was considered to have been "ensouled." Proscriptions against abortion, where they existed, applied after quickening. Both St. Augustine (4th century) and Thomas Aquinas (13th century) subscribed to this view. So modern Republicans who would ban abortion entirely are taking a view that is more extreme than that of the medieval church.
Steve Bolger (New York City)
@Luke: In modern terms, the body is hardware, and the soul is software procedures it learns to execute from the experience of life after birth. The ethics of having babies who will be seriously impaired while living in pain is not secure.
MegWright (Kansas City)
@Luke - When the first pilgrims landed on this soil, they brought with them their English Common Law, which allowed abortion until "quickening," about 18-20 weeks, as stated above. That common law was still in effect when the constitution was written, and it remained in effect for almost another 100 years. The last state didn't outlaw abortion until 1860. And abortion wasn't outlawed for any moral reason, but because male doctors decided that midwives, who had previously delivered babies and performed abortions, were cutting into their profits.
JCT (Albany NY)
Why do the anti-abortion people get to call themselves pro-life? Most are not and the press should not allow the use of a biased term to describe what people say or do. This individual may truly act in ways that are pro-life but many do not.
lynne (new jersey)
@JCT Agree! Those people are not "pro" anyone's life. The only thing they are "pro" is their own controlling agenda. Even The Associated Press Style Guide says to use the modifiers "abortion-rights" and "anti-abortion" (unless quoting), not the inflammatory "pro-life" moniker. I wish my fellow journalists would abide by this for Just. One. Day.
leastharm (California)
@lynne it’s really pro-choice and anti-choice. Or pro-choice and pro-forced-birth.
Steve Bolger (New York City)
@JCT: Distortion of language is the stock in trade of these dissimulators.
Not Pierre (Houston, TX)
Absolutely the best speaker on this subject (who is a man). He admits how wrong he was in counseling that woman, which is a courageous admittance. He sums it up wonderfully: whenever white legislatures decide about black bodies, things have always turned out bad. That is so true. Very powerful speech, a must watch.
Maani Rantel (New York)
I, too, am a minister who supports women's bodily autonomy, including abortion. For me, it is rooted in some of the very same Scriptures (and others) that pro-lifers point to to support their hopelessly narrow-minded and cherry-picked position. Ultimately, I believe that, if abortion is, in fact, a "sin," then that is between a woman and the God she believes in (or doesn't). It is NOT for us as fellow human beings to judge. Scripturally, Jesus is the only person who ever lived who had a (literal) God-given right to judge ANYONE. Yet He chose not to. WE do NOT have that right, no matter how many Scriptural passages pro-lifers point to about the sanctity of life, etc. The misguidedness of the right on this issue is, indeed, a tragedy, and one that has infected the body politic.
Susie (New Jersey)
His sermon was excellent. More leaders in black communities need to tell people to get out and vote and why it is so important.
caramba (NY)
Why is this a surprise? I f the GOP was to take on the same position it wouldn't be a political issue and a way to drive a wedge between the so call evil Democrats and the Pro-life angels.
Tim (NYC)
Sorry but this pastor is not pro-life. He’s making the same arguments as Stacy Abrams.
rms (Near Los Angeles)
@Tim And Stacey Abrams is definitely pro-life. Unlike the pro-forced birthers such as (I presume) yourself.
Rick (indy)
Haven't men said enough about abortion at this point. Think we've seen the results of that.
MegWright (Kansas City)
@Rick - From Sister Joan Chittister: ""I do not believe that just because you are opposed to abortion, that that makes you pro-life. In fact, I think in many cases, your morality is deeply lacking if all you want is a child born but not a child fed, a child educated, a child housed. And why would I think that you don't? Because you don't want any tax money to go there. That's not pro-life. That's pro-birth. We need a much broader conversation on what the morality of pro-life is."
Thomas Riddle (Greensboro, NC)
Pastor Stancil's sermon makes a very salient point in its emphasis on the shortsightedness (or hypocrisy) of those who argue against abortion, but show no concern for the situation of the children born to mothers who resist the temptation to abort an unwanted pregnancy. You cannot call yourself pro-life if you are not concerned about children's access to housing, education, medical care and so forth. Some anti-abortion activists have taken this insight to heart and advocate for what has been called the whole-life movement , which emphasizes what it calls a consistent life ethic that compels support for living wages, socialized medicine and investments in affordable housing and public education (see Trish Warren's piece on this topic from March 20, 2022). Such views remain in the minority among evangelicals and Republicans, but there are signs of hope--for instance, Senator Romney's proposed Family Security Act, which would provide monthly cash benefits to families with children as well as financial assistance to expectant mothers. It has not met with success, but it is nonetheless the first time a major Republican figure has argued in favor of a family policy that implicitly acknowledges the need to follow through on a commitment to life with actual monetary support for families and children. So Pastor Stancil identifies an important point worth factoring into our debates about abortion. That being said...
Deb (Portland, OR)
This should be mandatory viewing for all politicians. Whether they heed his words would be a different story.
x (y)
The introductory paragraph: "In the debate over abortion, it often seems there’s not much room for nuance: You’re either for it or against it" is just WRONG WRONG WRONG. I have never in my life come across a single person who is "for abortion". That is such a misrepresentation. I have, however, come across a significant majority who supports a woman's right to CHOOSE whether or not she wants an abortion.
ChicagoGirl (Chicago)
Powerful. Just Powerful. Love people who can love who people were, are and may be.
"concerned that the new restrictions on abortion access will disproportionately harm Black communities, spurring poverty and crime". Having children increases crime?
Paulus Peter (San Francisco)
@BB having children when you can't afford to feed them, raising children in dilapidated neighborhoods with gangs and guns as the only viable means of survival, forced to have a child that either you can't or don't want to raise, all these stresses people and breaks down what few anchors often poor women have in their lives.
Francesca (Livermore)
Yes, if there are no jobs or jobs don’t pay enough to live on, more mouths to feed certainly can cause people to turn to crime.
Claudecat (Berkeley, CA)
It does when you can’t afford to feed them. Wouldn’t you be tempted to start stealing if your kids were suffering? And what about if you’re working three jobs and can’t give them the attention they need? That’s one reason the kids themselves might start getting into criminal activity; in some cases, they have to join up with the criminals to avoid being victimized by them.
Lois S (Michigan)
He’s absolutely right. God gives us the right to choose what we do with our lives. Religious zealots like Samuel Alito and Amy Bryant are the ones who have decided God is wrong.
Ampleforth (Airstrip One)
I would ask him if he is okay with abortion for sex selection. It is a common practice in China, for example.
Deb (Portland, OR)
@Ampleforth HE is not OK with abortion. He is all for a woman's right to choose. There is a difference.
MegWright (Kansas City)
@Ampleforth - There are all kinds of customs in other countries that aren't practiced here. And they don't do that in China anymore either, since the one-child policy was repealed.
PC (Aurora, CO)
Amen Reverend Stancil. Through the narrow gate you are. Enlarge your capacity. Lay down than Bible. Pick up The Urantia Book.
Neil Israel (Santa Barbara)
pro "life" = No masks, improperly worn masks...which, ta dah! save lives
Diva (Jackson Heights, NY)
While I am bone tired of hearing men’s opinions on this topic, I have to say I appreciated this sermon and the pastor’s words about community, disparity and white politicians making decisions about Black bodies. Amen.
jcs (nj)
@Diva How about men making those decisions about women's bodies? That's nonsense. Women should make all decisions about their bodies. Keep the fairy tales of religions out of it.
Diva (Jackson Heights, NY)
@jcs Agreed!
Newt Baker (Tennessee)
The argument this pastor makes is for the lesser evil. He believes that the object in the womb is a person, but that this person’s right to life is to be weighed against the mother’s wellbeing. Whether the object is a human being or not is not a medical question. Medical science restricts itself to how things work. It does not address what thing are. That is the task of philosophers and theologians. And so we are left with differences in beliefs, not facts. One person believes a fertilized egg is a person and has all the rights of personhood. Another person believes personhood emerges at a later stage of development. These beliefs are usually deeply held. One persons abortion is murder while the others is disposal of tissue. Both are highly problematic. The pro-life person must be confronted with all the realities their belief would foist upon the poor and the unprepared parent (often single parent). The pro-choice person must struggle with what second in its development the object attains personhood. Most arguments are simply one side trying to prove their belief. But beliefs are not provable, else they would be facts. THIS is why the choice must be left with the parent(s). A government should not decide which belief is to hold sway and then punish the other belief. The pastor is wrong. Difficult circumstances do not outweigh the right to life IF the object is a person. He is also right. The choice is not up to any government.
Not Pierre (Houston, TX)
Except medical science has determined that the object inside the womb is not a person in the first twelve weeks. That was what Roe was based on, fetal viability. It had to be based on science, not on belief, because, well, there is that whole separation of church and state thing. So that “object” has to be classified with science, not belief. You obviously believe that a zygote is human person, but that is not science. Of course if you don’t believe in science….
MegWright (Kansas City)
@Newt Baker - Roe and Casey limited abortion to the stage prior to viability at about 22-24 weeks. That's a reasonable compromise.
MN Mom (St. Paul, MN)
Reverend Stancil should run for office. He'd get my vote!
NHMamma (Up North)
@George S. How sad that you think that taking away women's fundamental constitutionally guaranteed rights doesn't matter. I am voting in Nov for all pro-choice candidates. Women cannot be free without choice. Without choice, economics does not matter. But make no mistake, abortion and choice are tied to women's economic lives - women's ability to work, to go to school, to get out of poverty. As far as general economics though, Democrats lowered prescription drug prices for seniors (every Republican voted against this in Congress); Democrats reduced health care costs for millions and gave millions access to healthcare; Democrats are giving students' debt relief; Democrats passed an infrastructure bill to fix our nations roads, bridges, etc.; Democrats created jobs (record job growth) and record unemployment; Democrats enacted climate reforms that will help the environment and save families money on energy; Democrats enacted the CHIPS act to bring manufacturing jobs back to the US; Democrats support the Affordable Care Act; Democrats support Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security; Democrats passed the American Rescue Plan that supported families and businesses thru the pandemic; Democrats support democracy and the Constitution, and they gave America back its standing in the international community. VOTE BLUE in Nov up and down the ballot
Seeker (Only planet we've got)
@NHMamma Brava! Another NH Mamma here planning to do the same.
Mooße (Philadelphia)
@NHMamma Funny thing is that abortion is not a fundamental right protected by the constitution. What the Court can create out of thin air (or the penumbrae formed by emanations of the Justices' imaginations), it can take away based on the history, text and tradition of the constitution.
Michael (Boston, MA)
I'm all in favor of the right to choose to destroy one's fetus, if carrying it to term brings with it all kinds of hardships. But calling it a "right to choose" without saying what it is that's being chosen is a euphemism. It sweeps under the rug the moral weight of destroying a fetus, by not even mentioning it. Let's at least be honest about it. Let's not commit "euphemasia".
Marya (Oregon)
@Michael Oh, please. Let's be honest. I'm guessing not a single woman denies that she is terminating a zygote or a fetus. We are not as deluded as the men (and women) who claim a fertilized egg is a person, with all the constitutional rights of a human being.
Michael (Boston, MA)
@Marya Correct, you are not as deluded as those who grant constitutional rights to a fertilized egg. But if you don't deny that you're destroying a fetus, why not acknowledge that that's what you have the right to choose? Why frame it as the right to choose what to do with your own body, rather than the right to choose to destroy the fetus, which at some point is in fact someone ELSE's body? Isn't that the real issue? No one contests a woman's right to choose what to do with her own body. The disagreement is about when the fetus becomes another human being, and it's no longer her own body. "Right to choose" is pure euphemism.
ld (seattle)
@Michael Can you only imagine what the conservatives would do if pro-choice people said they were destroying some thing? They would have a heyday. Unfortunately pro-choice people cannot be completely direct on specific because the other side doesn’t play fair
American in London (London, UK)
I don't see why being a pastor has anything to do with anything. He has no more moral authority than anyone else so why should I listen? I agree with him that having an abortion should be a woman's choice and no one else's.
Vance Voetberg (Seattle WA)
Would love for the NYT to feature a pastor who isn't a moral relativist.
Groucho Marxist (Canada)
It's not clear to me why "We thought his message deserved a wider audience." Counselling his parishioners not to have abortions adds his weight as pastor to his "mansplaining." That's the injection of religion, historically not the best thing for women. About his belief that a woman should have the right to choose -- well that choice seems operative only after she has completed his course on what he thinks. Much as I agree with his opinion on abortion laws, and think he should campaign for their speedy demise, when it comes to individual women - and all women are individual women - he should just butt out. It would be more useful to these women and to all his parishioners if he counselled them to vote and to defeat all Republicans everywhere.
Claudecat (Berkeley, CA)
Churches are legally barred from recommending political candidates, to maintain their tax-exempt status.
2manyhorsez (DC area)
@Claudecat Certainly doesn’t stop them. That’s why we need to tax them…just imagine, we could pay off the national debt.
John Adams (Midwest)
M (Asheville)
The pro-life movement might as well be rebranded as the "grim reaper of women and children" movement. Unless someone supports expanded pre-k, free healthcare for at least women and children, actual maternity leave on the level of other first world countries (6 months at least), expanded rights for female workers so they can return to the workforce, expanded programs that fight child poverty and malnutritian like child tax credits and food programs, etc etc etc... you cannot call yourself "pro-life" and are actually "pro-poverty" and "anti-woman" and definitely "anti-children".
lynne (new jersey)
@M Yes! What M said!
doug (tomkins cove, ny)
What a moving and powerful presentation. That’s a pastor, and I’m at best agnostic, if not an atheist after surviving Roman Catholicism.
Barb (Wisconsin)
As a mother who lost her first child to cancer at age 3 1/2, I never, ever want to go through that pain again of seeing my child suffer and die. When, after much deliberation and looking at adoptions, etc, my husband and I decided to try and become pregnant again, we were so happy when, at age 39 for me, it happened. I asked for amniocentesis due to my age. While that test showed a healthy, developing baby, I struggled with....what would I do if the baby was unlikely to live past infancy? Could I handle that pain again? Could I birth another child knowing that I might loose them? I would NEVER deny a woman the right to choose. The decision is NEVER easy, but it might be the right one for that woman at that time. Those who talk ill of abortion have likely never gone through one, or never lost a child to illness, disease, etc. It is unfeeling and selfish for the voting public to deny this right to women.
lynne (new jersey)
@Jonathan Woman's body. Woman's choice. Period. Any wordplay, particularly from men who can impregnate at will with no consequences, is tiresome.
Barb (Wisconsin)
@Jonathan Since you did not live through my experience, I do not think that you have a right to comment. If you are implying that, as a mother, I neglected my duty, you are completely wrong. I would have done ANYTHING to save my first child for a full and healthy life. Your comment is unfeeling and thoughtless and shows that you do not understand.
Marya (Oregon)
@Jonathan The woman is centered because without her there would be no fetus. As a parasitic life form, the fetus is totally dependent on the will of the mother until the point of viability. Like it, or not, some women are unwilling, or unable, for multiple reasons, to carry that fetus to term. Your moral opinion shouldn't infringe on another individual's decision as you are only responsible for your actions.
Elizabeth (New York)
This guy is not pro life and shouldn’t be presented that way. He’s pro life…. unless a child wouldn’t be welcome at a particular time for a host of reasons and he says he supports choice. Let’s call a spade a spade - this pastor is pro choice.
Teed Rockwell (Berkeley CA)
@Elizabeth he's both pro choice and pro life. When we have separation of church and state, we have to recognize that there is a difference between what is immoral and what ought to be illegal. He thinks abortion is immoral, but shouldn't be illegal.
Elizabeth (New York)
@Teed Rockwell Yes, that’s pro choice. It’s rare to find someone who is anti unborn baby, that just doesn’t happen. When someone is ok with abortion for the variety of reasons, such as economic ones, that he is they are a pro choice person. It’s not a sometimes one, sometimes the other or both at once thing.
Larry B. (St. Louis)
I share the Pastor’s view. It’s often difficult to explain. A bit like the separation of church and state. My views are mine and should not be imposed by government on others. Just as we should not have a government sponsored religion, so too should the government keeps its mitts off women’s bodies.
L M Weber (Rosalia)
This preacher’s position is the only sensible one.
Todd Ferrell (Virginia Beach Va)
I could not have expressed it better myself. In fact I have expressed it many times for many years just the way he said it.
Entera (Santa Barbara)
Our country's First Amendment guarantees citizens the right to Privacy in their personal lives, and there is no more profoundly private decision in a woman's life than the decision to bring another life into this world. If you went into a restaurant and ordered fried chicken and the waiter brought you two fried eggs, you'd send that meal back instantly and demand to be brought chicken. Even if the waiter explains that these eggs come from a farm with plenty of roosters on hand for each hen, and these eggs are fertilized, you'd send them back. I've given birth to three children, and even though I was Catholic, my experience made me realize that it's not a baby until it's a baby, not a POTENTIAL baby. Big difference. Nobody but the woman and her doctor should be involved in a woman's most intimate condition and decision, period.
Acme Joe”” (Connecticut)
Great sermon! I wouldn't however use it for a model for talking about the issue around the dinner table. Every time I raise my voice like that and get "preachy", my wife yells at me to lower my voice...LOL. I think the kids call it "mansplaining" when it involves something they disagree with. I get it...it's a style of public speaking.
Louise Cavanaugh (Midwest)
The man is preaching, not talking at the dinner table. If he spoke like that at home during mealtimes, his wife would undoubtedly have a word with him too.
scott (north carolina)
Can we "choose" murder and rape and enslavement too? I am less offended religiously, than by the simple-minded illogic of the argument. This is really an argument against laws. Our most fundamental laws protect human beings most basic rights. Some rights in some situations are in contention with one another. An unborn baby's right to life is in contention with a woman's right to control her own body and life. Intellectually and morally honest people will begin (and end) there. They may disagree, but they will gravitate around those two truths. This sermon does none of that. It undermined the whole idea of the law, and turns everything into a just a personal choice . . . like your diet. Intellectually vacuous and obtuse.
Joe (Chicago)
@scott You erroneously assert that a fetus has a "right to life." It has no such right. A fetus is biologically dependent on someone else's body - it is even less independent than a comatose person or a person in a persistent vegetative state. Just as a person, once born, has no right to demand a kidney or a blood transfusion from another person (not even its parents), a fetus has no right to use another person's body to sustain itself.
Koeksister (UK)
@scott Surely most legal systems recognise that the law does not need to govern every aspect of life. I'd go further and say - as a foreigner - that the US Constitution makes that distinction very very clear and leans towards individual choice. In fact I'd go further than that and say that by separating church from state the USA triple underscores that morality and legality are different. Your reluctance to accept a distinction seems to speak more to your conviction than your conscience.
Memes (Chicago)
@scott We make laws about stuff on which there is sufficient agreement. This exists for murder, rape and enslavement, so we outlaw them. There is no such agreement on abortion. So it is only left to the individual. There is no empirical source about what should be outlawed or not - at least not in the secular nation that we claim to be. You include a bunch of assumptions that are better characterized as beliefs, and belong to you alone.
First, the arrogance of both the author of this article and this pastor is breathtaking since neither will ever be forced to gestate and give birth. I don’t see how either are entitled to an opinion. It would be refreshing to hear male opinionators on both the left and the right acknowledge this fact before they commence opining. Second, nobody should be legally required to donate any part of their body whatsoever to keep someone else alive. Ever. Not a kidney, not bone marrow, not blood, not a uterus. Not if they are alive or even after they are dead. Living women should have the same right to physical autonomy as a cadaver.
Joe (Chicago)
@MJ Anyone can have an opinion. What this man shouldn't have is the power to make a decision for anyone else.
Koeksister (UK)
@MJ If a person cannot have an opinion on a lw without being directly affected by that law then the entire notion of democracy would have to rebuilt from the ground up. I agree that women are disproportionately affected by this issue, and their arguments should carry great weight, but that doesn't lock everyone else out. By gatekeeping the issue you convince literally no-one at a time when people need to be convinced.
The Queen of Feral Cats (Virginia)
@Koeksister - "I agree that women are disproportionately affected by this issue" Women aren't "disproportionately affected" by "this issue." We are THE ONLY ONES affected by it since it only happens to US.
jaygee (philly)
A white Evangelical woman we know lectured us about the evils of abortion and, in an exasperated tone, said of those who get one, "What can they be thinking?" I said, "If you want to know, why don't you ask one of them?"
Louise Cavanaugh (Midwest)
She doesn’t want to know, she wants to judge. Asking might interfere with the judging.
Anna (Bellingham, WA)
Please provide a transcript. I prefer to read the news, not watch it.
George S. (NYC)
What is it about the NYT and Pro-Choice Democrats that they fail to comprehend that no matter how supportive many are of this "cause" it's the economy that's driving the mid-terms? All of these articles are irrelevant to what is going to occur in November.
Debra (Illinois)
@George S. The economy is not the only important thing. Once we lose rights, getting them back can take decades or centuries. The right to privacy is a fundamental right. The Dobbs decision is wrong because it contradicts the FIRST Amendment, the Fourth Amendment, the Fourteenth Amendment. It was a partisan decision, it needs to go the way of the Dredd Scott decision.
CJANE (Midwest Suburbia)
Your thoughts about what is important in this election cycle should also consider how choice affects women in the economy. Since there is no guaranteed maternity leave, more women will be out of work with no income for the time they need to spend with that baby that was not their choice. More women will need to forgo finishing school, maybe I even high school due to needs of their baby. More women will not meet their career goals due to childcare needs. The cost of raising a child is enormous. The majority of women seeking abortions already have a child. There is no support for women. This, by a large margin is an economic outcome of removing choice. Of course the economy is at issue.
NHMamma (Up North)
@George S. How sad that you think that taking away women's fundamental constitutionally guaranteed rights doesn't matter. I am voting in Nov for all pro-choice candidates. Women cannot be free without choice. Without choice, economics does not matter. As far as economics though, Democrats lowered prescription drug prices for seniors (every Republican voted against this in Congress); Democrats reduced health care costs for millions and gave millions access to healthcare; Democrats are giving students' debt relief; Democrats passed an infrastructure bill to fix our nations roads, bridges, etc.; Democrats created jobs (record job growth) and record unemployment; Democrats enacted climate reforms that will help the environment and save families money on energy; Democrats enacted the CHIPS act to bring manufacturing jobs back to the US; Democrats support the Affordable Care Act; Democrats support Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security; Democrats passed the American Rescue Plan that supported families and businesses thru the pandemic; Democrats support democracy and the Constitution, and they gave America back its standing in the international community. VOTE BLUE.
Randy Freeman (Kinnelon , New Jersey)
Here is my nuanced reaction. I'm not against someone getting an abortion very early in the pregnancy. But, he's also focusing on the ability of the mother to take care of the baby. He is not focusing on making decisions about birth control or even abstinence if you can't afford a baby. People can enjoy sex without intercourse and can prevent a baby that way. Please folks, let's look at some personal responsibility. And call me old fashioned, but having sex when married or seriously coupled is a way of then affording the baby when the baby comes. I hope it is not politically incorrect to talk about personal responsibility.
Joe (Chicago)
@Randy Freeman This may shock you, but being married does not make one financially able to support a child, nor does it inoculate a couple against unwanted pregnancy.
Louise Cavanaugh (Midwest)
Most pro choice folks agree that women should have sex education to understand how to not get pregnant and that women and their partners should have access to birth control, and wholeheartedly support your concepts about that. Indeed, states have shown that making both education on this topic and birth control readily available is one of the best ways, if not the best way, to lower the number of abortions. Your discussion about personal responsibility would be more apropos to the discussion if the so many of the folks who are anti-abortion didn’t also wish to limit both birth control and sex education.
Memes (Chicago)
@Randy Freeman It's not appropriate to use a baby as punishment for having sex, no matter how irresponsible. Babies are humans, not the equivalent of a fine or other "consequence".
Lisa (NYC)
The only point where this pastor messed up was...when he made this a white legislator vs black women/bodies thing. Once again, it's really about rich vs poor, regardless of race. No matter your skintone, having babies when you have no money, live in a dangerous area, or an area that is severely depressed and rural, or where there is domestic abuse, alcohol and drug abuse, a lack of education, etc. ....this is never good for children, or their families. It puts stress on all of them, whether they are black or white.
Louise Cavanaugh (Midwest)
This pastor is speaking to his black congregation, and helping them to understand how abortion affects their black community. His arguments using scripture supporting a woman’s right to choose did not address abortion with regard to race.
MinimumWake (Fl)
@Lisa The maternal mortality rate for Black American mothers is almost 3 times the rate of White, non-Hispanic Americans. This Pastor is correct, and the problem, as with so many, is deeply rooted in Race and Racism.
Elizabeth Siler (Pullman, Wa)
Yes! Preach it! This man said everything I feel about the matter of abortion. Excellent sermon!
Patrick Talley (San Antonio, Texas)
The reverend argues that God is ok with abortion – after all, God gave us a choice. But the full quote from Deuteronomy 30:19 doesn’t come close to saying that. It contrasts the two choices as “blessings or curses” and issues a command from God that life is the only correct choice. This is the only choice consistent with God’s love, “so that you and your children may live.” The point of this scripture is not that all choices are morally equal, but that some cooperate with God and others do not. Choices that reject God lead to moral and spiritual death. The reverend’s political point about Pro Life advocates not caring for the poor, is an outright lie. Examples, such as the Catholic Church’s long record of providing charitable services and support to the poorest communities, especially to pregnant women in crisis, gives clear evidence of this lie. Of course, the reverend doesn’t mention Catholics, nor that nearly 1 in 3 Black Protestants are Pro Life, according to Pew Research. Instead, he just rails against “White legislators making decisions about Black bodies.” When it comes to poverty and abortion, I’d ask the reverend to explain why poor Black children should be denied the same basic right to live as the rest of us. Among the clearest messages in the Bible the reverend thumps on is that only God makes life and death decisions. To preach from the pulpit that He grants us the freedom to kill people because they may be poor or Black is simply evil.
@Patrick Talley I would counter with Numbers 5:11-31 where the practice of terminating a pregnancy was used as a punishment for adultery. I would also point out that in Genesis, life begins with breath. So abortion doesn't take a "life". The practice of terminating pregnancies has been around as long as there have been humans. In fact, legal codes of the time do not ban it they just require consent of the husband/man. The argument about the "rights" of a bunch of cells that may or may not result in a child is just a way to control women. It's okay for men to have sex, but women who have sex need to be punished. It's like living in Victorian times. What I find reprehensible is that the rights of a woman will depend on what state she lives in. How can rights depend on where you live? That's just wrong. We are the "United" States even though it doesn't feel like it anymore.
April (Florida)
@Patrick Talley What does scripture have to do with law making? I'm not Christian and I don't care what the magic book says.
Groucho Marxist (Canada)
@Patrick Talley You are conflating blastocysts, embryos and fetuses with babies. They aren't, and no amount of preaching will make them so. Your belief is a religious one, even if you did not literally cite chapter and verse, and so doesn't belong in the law. Read the Constitution instead of the Bible.
Paul (Arlington, VA)
1) The pastor left out the context of that Deuteronomy quote. It's Moses telling Israel to obey the commandments, so that they and their descendants may live. What's that sixth commandment again? Oh yeah: "you shall not kill". 2) Does the baby get any "choice" in its own destruction? 3) Regarding the anecdote about the mom whose second pregnancy resulted in a child growing up to "work on Wall Street": tough luck for the aborted child, huh?
ld (seattle)
@Paul An embryo and a fetus are not a baby. Wow it gets tiring repeating that so often
Robertp✡️ (Spring Creek Nv.)
I don’t see how killing or denying a fetus the right to life is a good thing. I don’t see how forcing a woman to have a baby is a good thing. There has to be some common ground here. I agree with the pastor, finding that common ground is essential. I think it exists. I am not a religious person just trying to be a good one.
Sandy A (Indiana)
@Robertp✡️ There was a common ground for 50 years--let the INDIVIDUAL make the decision of what is right for their situation. Keep religion out of it!!! Many people (including me) do not want religion involved in any aspect of government. People should educate themselves on Christian Nationalism and their goals. Now THAT is frightening! While I'm here, allow me to get this off my chest too: so many of the same people who insist a girl or woman must carry a pregnancy to term, refuse and are outraged at the suggestion that they get a vaccination that could save lives!
Robertp✡️ (Spring Creek Nv.)
@Sandy A I respect that you want religion out of your life. One cannot expect to live in a country where we have no morals or ethics and expect to live in peace. Morals and ethics do not come from religion. Religion comes from morals and ethics.
Joe (USA)
The common ground is that all abortions later in pregnancy (ie surgical abortion) need to be approved by all physicians and clinicians involved and by hospital ethics committees. My wife had an abortion because the baby was found to have a severe and lethal deformities at the 21 week ultrasound, including small Lungs and rib cage that would have prevented her from breathing. The abortion needed to be approved by the hospitals ethics committee. They would not have allowed it for a lesser reason. There is no reason for politicians to dictate medical care. Physicians do not perform surgical abortions unless there is a good medical reason to perform one.
KRichardson (Palm Desert, Ca)
Oh that all pastors would support women's freedom...and not the religious right.
lance (texas)
What page of the bible talks about abortion? Or birth control? Or guns?
Jumank (Port Townsend)
Relying on your invisible friend to make an argument isn't really a good way to help people decide what is right.
SteerableDad (Colts Neck, NJ)
In an interview with Opinion Video, he called the Supreme Court decision that eliminated the constitutional right to abortion “a tragedy.” Err, no it didn't. It sent the matter back to the states where it rightly belongs. Of course, the NYT doesn't mention this. But I guess the truth doesn't fit the progressive narrative.
A.R.S. (NJ)
@SteerableDad Basic human rights should not be at the whims of state votes, or what's a constitution for? The argument could be turned around - - is the so-called "pro-life" movement okay with states determining the issue ? Isn't that moral inconsistency? No. Females aren't to be used every two years there's an election for salivating politicians to garner votes. It's disgusting. Roe allowed for choice. The SC justices lied. And they knew of the draconian laws on the books in some of these states and were fine to relegate females to them.
Kara (South Kingstown, RI)
@SteerableDad So......., you think a woman's right to choose depends on her zip code?
CJANE (Midwest Suburbia)
Why is it better to send it to the States? Because state legislators know how to pass laws that will resolve this issue? No, the fact that 50 states will have 50 different laws about how women’s bodies should be regulated? No legislator can or should know the best decision for a woman that discovers she is pregnant. With the laws being enacted in Texas as well as other states, no doctor could uphold their Hippocratic oath. No reasonable legislature criminalizes those who perform abortions. No reasonable legislature allows the public to make $10,000 reward for turning in suspected women having abortion or those that give her a rise to the clinic or help pay for an abortion. No reasonable legislature enacts laws that do not allow an abortion when the life of the mother is at risk. Those are the same states that conveniently forget that men made them pregnant but no laws are enacted to penalizing the fathers.
Bram (NY)
This sermon shows the silliness of using the labels 'Pro Life' and 'Pro Choice'. The pastor is pro life and pro choice ... and so is everyone else in the world! The debate about abortion is typically and rhetorically set up as if we have to choose viewpoint one at the exclusion of the other, and that is what is so damaging to this debate. As the pastor himself realized, this is a false dilemma: you can care for life *and* give women a choice. Issues like abortion suggest to people that we have fundamental disagreements about morals and ethics, but that is simply not true. We agree on many, many things: Life, liberty, happiness are all good things. Pain, suffering, and death are not. Sure: when we bring to bear one perspective to a debate, things look different as when we use a different perspective. But the same is true for matters of fact: a topographical map of the United States will look different from a highway map ... but it is not as if they can't both be valid maps. Likewise, in abortion, from the perspective of valuing autonomy and liberty, abortion is a good thing. From the perspective of valuing life (vs death), it's a negative. And the pastor points out that we can and should consider many other factors yet: the circumstances of the mother, the expected quality of life for the child, etc. Just because we get contrary answers as to what each perspective says as to what we should do doesn't mean that one or more of those perspectives are wrong
R (Evanston)
Maybe someday Republicans will actually get around to being pro-life. Proposing legislation that helps workers, average people, even the climate.
KristenB (Oklahoma City)
@R Maybe. And maybe someday pigs will fly, too.
NHMamma (Up North)
replying to @W.B. While focusing on "personhood" definitions can be a winning legal argument, winning hearts and votes requires focusing on choice, autonomy, and freedom from governmental intrusion into deeply personal decisions and healthcare decisions. Anti-choice (aka "Pro-Life") movements are about controlling women, making women less than, and about keeping women in poverty. Choice gives women autonomy, dignity, health, freedom, opportunity, and a future. Vote for candidates who are actively pro-choice.
LoisGH (Sunnyside, NY)
This man is SPOT ON. I cheered during this sermon. My only bone to pick is that a person who does not think that abortion is a good idea but supports a woman's right to choose is still pro-choice. But at this point labels don't matter. Actions do,
KS (Tucson)
The pastor makes the important point that it is the woman's right to choose not only because it is her body, but also because she is in a better position than anyone else to know what kind of resources and opportunities a child will or won't have once it is born and what kind of life path will be available to the child as it grows. If you want less abortions to happen, then give women the resources that they need to prevent unexpected pregnancies and to raise a child when they are ready, rather than making abortion against the law and telling them to figure out the rest for themselves.
TV (Cold Spring)
Wonderful sermon, thank you to Reverend Stancil and to the NY Times for having it here.
Doug Fairbanks (Santa Ana, CA)
I’m in favor of the right to choose, but this is a bizarre argument. Sterilizing women who have babies while on welfare would also reduce poverty and crime in the black community. Executing thieves might also. I could go on. Is the pastor in favor of anything that reduces poverty and crime in the black community? If not, he needs to explain why abortion is different, especially since it involves an innocent third party (in his mind).
Andrea (NC)
@Doug Fairbanks That's a breath of sanity. Thank you for examining the actual arguments being brought forward!
John Mardinly (Chandler, AZ)
SCOTUS member Lewis Powell was a strict conservative before Richard Nixon appointed him to the Court, but he voted for Roe because a pregnant young girl who was close to him was so desperate to be unpregnant and could not get an abortion from a doctor, she performed a self induced abortion and bled to death. For every anti-choice fanatic, ask yourself: if this was your daughter, would this be OK?
Paula Callaghan (Lansdale PA)
Why does the national media and the New York Times continue to focus on what religious people think and say about any political issue? We were founded as a secular nation. On purpose. The fastest growing "religion" in the US in "none." 25% of Americans are not religious at all. 31% of young Americans raised in "religious" households no longer consider themselves religious. How about the Times and the rest of the media report more on the violations of IRS rules about preaching politics from the pulpit? How about they discuss the violations of separation of church and state perpetuated by SCOTUS and gerrymandered state houses across the country? How about talking to voters who represent the majority of Americans who are passively affiliated or unaffiliated with religion?
Patrick Talley (San Antonio, Texas)
@Paula Callaghan Separation of church and state is not the same as separation of morality from politics.
JoAnne (Georgia)
I am “pro-life” - the life and future of the girl/woman with an unplanned or dangerous pregnancy.
Jen (Maryland)
@JoAnne absolutely- let’s take back that presumptive phrase- I am pro life like you.
JAH (Seattle)
As a white female evangelical I have argued this point endlessly with friends and family that support “Forced Pregnancy.” Thank you for articulating exactly what needs to be said. Amen Amen Amen
rackjite (texas)
The Reverend touches upon the issue that the white pro life gang rejects out of hand. "We" had a dangerous expensive illegal abortion as collage students in 1970. Had "we" not we would have dropped out of school and gone to work. We went on to graduate and our separate lives blossomed with good jobs, success and new families. The real kicker in this , that pro lifers cannot or will not get their heads around is that had it not been for that abortion, neither of us would have the friends, the kids and the grandkids we now enjoy so much.
Cathy (CA)
@rackjite And, had the female one of you died from a botched illegal abortion in 1970, she would have taken not just the embryo but all potential future generations with her. Another thing forced birthers cannot or will not get their heads around.
james golden (Alexandria, VA)
As a pro-life, male, white , liberal I am so proud of this pastor who laid out quite plainly all my own reasoning for being in favor of a woman's right to choose. I am always hurt when white career women I know get on my case being pro-life as if there are not arguments in it's favor. But even under these attacks I put first an foremost that it is a woman's choice and not mine. And I also am very much against being pro-life for the unborn but totally unresponsive to the born child.
A.R.S. (NJ)
Thank you Rev. Our rights to basic human autonomy. But the situation is worse than even he preaches about. Not only are women (and girls) subjugated now in many states, but the fetal personhood laws (take a look in GA) relegate us legally to mere vessels, third-class citizens. Fetal personhood amps this situation up to a dangerous level, and if the GOP gets rewarded in November, this will be the law in more states. Remember what Trump said on live national TV with Chris Matthews-- as if he'd just thought of it on the spot --that the woman (and not the man, he said, by the way...) should be punished for an abortion. Now add fetal personhood into it as well. Is it a miscarriage? Did she really fall? Did she drink too much? Did she take a medication she shouldn't have? This is where we are headed. All the talk around it--- the campaigns, the tinkering with bans and weeks and allowances or not -- is sickening.
Crewsin (Near Ky)
Your either "fur it or agin" it. There can be no middle ground and for a pastor to say he supports choice is a cop-out. I'd rather have a Weisel in the pulpit.
L.R. (New Orleans)
@Crewsin Maybe you need to listen to his sermon. And your "no middle ground" is exactly why this country is so divided.
Crewsin (Near Ky)
@L.R. There is no middle ground between good and evil. As the great late Pastor W.A. Criswell of FBC Dallas said "The only things in the middle of the road are yellow lines and dead skunks".
bde (iowa)
I'm struck by how use of 'Pro-Lxxx' (instead of forced birth) in the headline destroys (for me) any credibility in what follows. You are right there is not much room for debate about fundamental rights for half the population of the US. (personally, while probably cis-hetero male (white), I am less then enthusiastic about clinical d&c when deployed as birth control (invasive procedure w/o '0' risk) . . . but almost universally it is none of my business (biz between patient, clinician & possibly (sometimes) clients family)
MegWright (Kansas City)
@bde - I don't know why so many people seem to think that abortion is routinely used as birth control. It isn't. It's expensive, it's painful, and it's increasingly unavailable. Do you know who's the least likely to be able to reliably use contraception? Drug addicts, alcoholics, the mentally ill and special populations, and young teens or raped preteens. So this is the population the forced birthers want to make the parents of our next generations.
Elle✳️💥☀️ (Sheboygan)
Anti-choice is the better descriptor, Pro-Life was masterful - not just inaccurate but laughably so. It’s Pro-Choice vs Anti-Choice, and ladies don’t ever forget who that choice matters most to - YOU!
Jaden (Los Angeles)
Conservatives scream about being tough on crime out of one side of their mouths, but force unwanted children into this world (statistically more likely to embrace crime) out of the other. Is a steady supply of felons to fill private prisons and supply cheap/enslaved labor their endgame?
Alexis (Somerset, PA)
It's "forced birth" and not pro-life. it's anti-pregnant people. It's a denial of healthcare that could save lives and prevent unwanted pregnancies. It's not pro-life. it pro government interference. It's not pro-life, It's pro old white men that will never conceive thinking they know pregnancy better than pregnant people do. When the preacher has delivered a baby from his womb then I'll listen to him.
Ondine HD (Cleveland, OH)
Absolutely! Clinton L. Stancil is absolutely right. Pro-lifers are hypocrites, who actually do not care at all about life, and actually endanger life! Being pro-choice does not mean at all that one is "pro-abortion," which is what so-called "pro-lifers" would like you to believe. No one is "pro-abortion," but before you proclaim yourself to be pro-life, first fix the conditions, and the infrastructure that are needed for life to flourish: accessible health care, if not universal healthcare for everyone, decent schools, and access to higher education, healthy, safe, affordable, and dignified housing for parents and their children who don't have a six-figure yearly salary, etc., etc. Vote out unintelligent, irresponsible, short-sighted, and cruel politicians like those who make up the majority in today's Supreme Court!
Minneapolis mom (Minneapolis, MN)
You have to ask why this sermon is so newsworthy? Is it because of the rarity of this pastor, the one unicorn out of 100,000, who acknowledges a woman's right to choose? Given religion's patriarchal history in limiting women's, and LGBTQ, rights, I am personally heartened by the steady decline in church membership in most of the modern world.
Someone is Beautiful (USA)
@Minneapolis mom — Why is this sermon newsworthy? Perhaps because this pastor is one of many with the same point of view. I seriously doubt that he’s “the one unicorn out of 100,000”. I very much agree with your second statement. SiB
Miss Anne Thrope (Utah)
Thank you, Mr. Stancil. There is much scripture upon which you can base your Pro-Choice position. The most salient is Genesis 2:7, a verse that clearly states that life begins post-partum, reading: "Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” If only other pastors also read the bible they espouse.
Seriously Folks (San Francisco)
While I applaud the Pastor's respect for individual choice, it does feel like piling religion on top of religion. Fundamentally, the anti-abortion argument is a religious one. It is not science. It is not based in law. And, I want no part of it. Freedom of religion includes freedom from religion.
Robert Avant (Spokane, WA)
@Seriously Folks What "science" is the pro-life argument at odds with? Not based on law? What law? To state your beliefs as you have above carries no deeper anchor to truth than any moral argument, though I am not in favor of Scripture based argument for there are those, such as yourself, who reject the "authority" of the citations.
jaygee (philly)
@Seriously Folks I didn't think there was anything religious about his sermon, although he did cite some Bible verses to make his point. Really, the sermon retained the same message with or without the verses, and the message was, "This is a practical world where we have to make practical choices."
S (Midwest)
Other comments reveal that this is a good sermon, and addresses the nuance of a complex issue. But I can't bring myself to watch a man speak about being opposed to abortion on moral grounds, counseling women against them, and also being vehemently supportive of a woman's right to choose. Supporting a woman's right to choose is to be pro choice. It matters not at all whether you are personally for or against the procedure (your personal moral code is your business). And while obviously people will go to this religious leader for counsel, to be pro choice is to counsel about options without sway, and to support a woman in exploring what is right for her.
Linda Blatnik (New Jersey)
I am pro choice and anti abortion. It is not my right to make this life changing decision for another woman. The term pro life is often a misnomer, because the person claiming to be may support the death penalty or violence; they are using it because it sounds good politically or for religious reasons. I applaud Rev. Stencil's support for women's reproductive choice. May your parishioners support you and return.
Patrick Talley (San Antonio, Texas)
@Linda Blatnik It's easy to lump all pro-life people as also pro death penalty, but we're not. The position of the Catholic Church, the largest pro-life organization in America, is to clearly support the dignity of life from conception to natural death. We oppose the death penalty and euthanasia for the same reason we oppose abortion. All human lives have equal dignity and value because we were all made by the same Creator with the same fundamental nature. None of us is more deserving of life than any other, regardless of age, wealth, capability, race, nationality, or any other factor. Not even our own crimes can cancel out our basic human dignity. God is the only arbiter of life and death.
Linda Blatnik (New Jersey)
@Patrick Talley I said "may support". And this isn't directed at Catholics. It's directed at everyone. If it's not your body, it's not your decision. It's also the body's đecision whether they believe in your god. Man created god in his own image.
Lindsake (Houston, TX)
Amen. I do support life but I also support a woman's right to choose. Until our country is willing to support parents with substantial leave, support families who are facing challenges and stop shaming women when there are two people involved in the conception of life, I do not want this legislated.
damon walton (clarksville, tn)
In a reasonable debate, nuance, detail, and compassion usually are the first causalities. Folks tend to focus on being 'right' and demonizing anyone who has an opposing view. The ability to choose either for life or for an abortion is a fundamental freedom. The greatest gift the Creator has given us...is the ability to choose for oneself. And the ability to learn from those choices, whether they be right or wrong. When we seek to decide for others, we become tyrants in their lives. In short it isn't really about protecting the 'sanctity' of life. But about wielding absolute power over that life. An embryo in the womb is easy to support, for it hasn't taken a political position on any given issue, doesn't have a voice, and can't oppose anyone. If we are truly pro-life, then we must support life at all stages of life. That means from cradle to crave. Finally, we must not stand in between a woman and her doctor, for its her choice, her body.
Kev Dog (Sun Diego)
I’m am pro-life but I’m also against the government saying what we can do to our own bodies. Whether it’s drugs, abortion, sex, love. Stay out of it. But I also think Roe vs Wade was a bad Supreme Court decision that needed to be over turned. There is nothing in the constitution that protects such a right and the court had no business legislating from the bench and making up rules on its own. That’s for elected officials to decide whether on the state or federal level. It’s possible to be both pro-life and pro-choice AND agree that Roe v Wade should have been overturned.
Rebecca Dawson (Detroit)
@Kev Dog Do you understand that the Constitution expressly states that rights don't have to be expressly enumerated in the Constitution to be a right? It's right there in the Ninth Amendment: "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." The only group "making up rules on its own" is the current Supreme Court, who decided to ignore the express language of the Constitution to advance their own religious agenda. That should disturb every American. I should also point out that elected officials should not be getting to "decide" other people's rights -- that's why we are a Constitutional Republic, not a pure democracy, which was a very deliberate choice by our founding fathers to protect the minority from the tyranny of the majority.
Doug Fairbanks (Santa Ana, CA)
Do you understand that there has to be a basis for such unenumerated rights, and that’s how Dobbs was decided? Otherwise anything not expressly prohibited in the Constitution is a right that can’t be taken away.
Seriously Folks (San Francisco)
@Kev Dog "....No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law"
No name (earth)
"Pro life" is a false label. "Forced birth" and "forced pregnancy" are the accurate labels. "Pro life" is meaningless in the context of the abortion debate.
Anthony Flack (New Zealand)
@No name - I'd even settle for calling them "anti-abortion", but never "pro-life" which is a lie.
Steve (Chicago)
“Pro-life” like “pro-choice” is an emic label, whereas “pro-abortion,” “anti-choice,” “forced birther” and the like are ethic labels. One kind of label reflects the viewpoint from the inside, whereas the other kind of label reflects an outsider’s perspective. One kind of label seeks to recognize the other’s viewpoint, the other kind of label others.
GR (San Diego)
Finally, a christian who understands that God gave us free will and humans should not be able to take it away.
Richard (Montana)
@GR Let's discuss whether this guy is a "true" Christian. Don't all you Christians speak up at once now.
Anne Felosak (Michigan)
Amen. This says everything I too believe about abortion rights, and I am a middle-aged, white woman from Detroit who now lives in a suburb. We can find common ground with those with whom we might be expected to be opposed to, and indeed. WE VOTE.
John Lee Pettimore (Cleveland)
If the pastor believes in a women's right to choose, then he is pro-choice. No one is forcing anyone to have an abortion. Let you conscience be your guide.
Ides of March Brown (Arlington VA)
I don't care what this pastor thinks. I don't believe in his god. He is "nothing" to me.
L.R. (New Orleans)
@Ides of March Brown Right back at you.
Beavis (Springfield)
@Ides of March Brown He mattered enough to make you comment.
Anthony Davis (WA, USA)
This pastor articulates my opinion exactly. Unfortunately, in today's polarized "you're either all in with us or you're against us" attitude, nuance gets crowded out or shouted down in social media's rant-o-sphere.
poster (world)
It is not even only the right to choose. In the Jewish faith it is required to give preference to the mother's life The ongoing legal cases (Kentucky, Florida to my knowledge) are good to google if unaware of these cases. We need to take back this word "religious' from this issue as it is not all religions who believe as the SCOTUS majority.
Rebecca Dawson (Detroit)
@poster Agreed. Only a minority of religious are pro-life and certainly most religions are not trying to impose that view on everyone else.
Samuel Russell (Newark, NJ)
If you believe something is wrong, but say others should be free to do that bad thing, you stand for nothing. I respect people who stand up for their convictions, not those who throw their convictions away in an avalanche of raw emotion and racial animosity.
TomG (Seattle)
@Samuel Russell So if I'm for married people staying together until death do they part, but believe other married people should be free to choose whether to remain married, I'm against marriage? I would posit that a person's right to make fundamental choices about their own life is our most cherished right, which is something your "stand for nothing" sentiment doesn't seem to value.
E Ciambarella (Eciambarellamd)
@Samuel Russell Your comment proves the point that when politics is the main objective, someones words can be twisted. The reverend IS doing something about what he believes in. He cousels people who have to make a decision on whether or not to have an abortion. What he does not agree with is a political party forcing a woman or a child to complete a pregnancy. For me and many others, to force a preteen or teenager to have a baby is criminal and immoral.
Seriously Folks (San Francisco)
@Samuel Russell I believe Christianity is wrong....really really wrong. Are you saying I should take the position that it be illegal?
Clay (Middle America)
Objectively, is this an accurate summary of his position? I think abortion is immoral. I support a woman's right to be immoral. If so, I think that's the former IBM executive in him... Virtue signaling while at the same time increasing business (i.e. sinners seeking forgiveness). Churches need leaders that preach solutions to root causes, not symptoms.
L.R. (New Orleans)
@Clay That's exactly what he did. He, unlike forced pregnancy backers, noted the realities of life that affect children - especially Black children. Factors such as defective health care systems, crummy schools (funding based on property taxes so - guess what - if you live in a poor area, you're screwed) and no job opportunities all lead to entrenched poverty. People who deny these realities, especially in Black communities and in spite of mountains of evidence that prove these certainties, are demonstrating stupidity, racism or a willful disregard of the facts. And Reverend Stencil did propose a solution: Vote.
easchell (Silverton OR)
@Clay "Pro Life"ers BELIEVE abortion to be immoral, so they would force their belief on all women. The Reverend believes abortion to be immoral, but allows others to believe that it is not only not immoral but an important and inalienable right to make decisions about their own body and health.
Old Soul (Nashville)
No doubt you believe that adultery is immoral (as do I). Would you outlaw it as well? How about gluttony? Gossip? Saying that "X is immoral and thus should be illegal" is quite a slippery slope, is it not?
Anita Brunner (Idaho USA)
Thank you for this profound Opinion Video.
JVG (Vallejo, CA)
The states enacting the most oppressive, restrictive abortion laws happen to have the highest infant and maternal mortality rates. "Pro-life" they are not.
The Queen of Feral Cats (Virginia)
I have to say, between Ross Douthat's condescending prattle about falling reproductive rates - dogmatic Catholic prattle that often fails to include the word "women", and ignores the fact that immigration can quickly solve the population "problem" - and this editorial written by a man, about another man who has a moral issue with abortion, but supports it anyway... I'm weary of hearing what men have to say about this topic in this paper and elsewhere. I'm tired of dealing with pieces opining on men's ethical qualms with the procedure, how they wrestle with its implications, etc, etc. Men blithely walk the earth never having to take the same basic precautious women have to consider every second of their lives. Women scurry through the world terrified of rape and its resultant trauma. Men will never fully comprehend how crushing and infuriating it is to be rendered a broodmare by SCOTUS, to know that you might be forced to carry an assailant's spawn to term and endure labor, to watch decades of progress crushed in an instant by horrible men who are gleeful about female subjugation, to read about and see the faces of the male politicians who'd gladly toss us all back to 1950. Yeah, it's nice when men are supportive and *fully* allied with the pro-choice cause, but I'm so sick of hearing about the ones who have moral issues with the procedure. It's a decision they'll never have to even contemplate, and they'll certainly never be able to fully empathize with us.
Joseph Phebus (Tucson AZ)
But the pro choice side dismissing the fact that it's sometimes grueling and painful moral choice for many is at their peril. I agree that women's voices should be the primary voices on abortion, but to diminish it to strictly a medical versus legal issue is to ignore the pain and trauma of many women who make that choice. I think the pro choice argument is far more powerful when we humanize it the way the pastor does. To dismiss someone's views on issues based strictly on gender seems harsh and counterproductive. Throughout history its been predominantly men who have fought in wars. Yet, more than anything women's voices and opinions are needed to prevent them from waging war in the first place.
The Queen of Feral Cats (Virginia)
@Joseph Phebus - "a grueling and painful moral choice..." There's that word: CHOICE. The *pregnant woman* has the right to make decisions for herself. The "pain and trauma" they may experience is the business of those women and the people in their lives they've chosen as confidants. Most of the women I know who've opted to abort aren't torn up about it, by the way. They've gone on to lead better lives, and are happier wives and mothers as a result. And your paternalistic stance irks me, to be honest, because I never hear men offer the same level of care, concern, or outrage regarding how many women are statistically likely to be raped. That's ACTUAL pain and trauma. Many women are unaffected by their abortions, but PTSD and sexual assault tend to go hand in hand. And as for this: "more than anything, women's voices and opinions are needed to prevent them from waging war in the first place" ...it isn't the responsibility of women to somehow, magically keep warmongering men from doing what they love to do. Pretty sure we've collectively tried and failed for eons. Do you *really* think that dudes like Vladimir Putin respect female viewpoints and experiences?
Livonian (Los Angeles)
@The Queen of Feral Cats "Yeah, it's nice when men are supportive and *fully* allied with the pro-choice cause, but I'm so sick of hearing about the ones who have moral issues with the procedure." I'm a man with ethical qualms about abortion (just like the pastor) who is still *fully* allied with the right to have one (just like the pastor). Just like most Americans. I sent in my ballot early and voted for California's Proposition 1, which would amend the state constitution to explicitly protect abortion rights. I've even marched with pro-choicers years ago while in college. Am I doing this wrong? Or do I need to be one of those "Shout Your Abortion" ghouls to be part of the cause, who wishes to pretend to not know why abortion is even controversial? Or as a man do I not even have a right to engage in this deeply human issue?
Danusha Goska (New Jersey)
"Choice" is an Orwellian term. When talking about ending a human life, use the word "life" or otherwise you are not telling the truth.
Seriously Folks (San Francisco)
@Danusha Goska "Life" is a word that is much bigger than humans. Labeling a fetus "human life" is not the truth either.
L.R. (New Orleans)
@Danusha Goska Just curious about all the people who claim life is sacred at every moment and there can be no reason to end one. Are all of you protesting the military and actions they take in war? Are you protesting the death penalty in states that still exercise it? Would you not defend yourself if you or your children were attacked? Do you eat meat? Have you ever put down a pet or kill a bug in your house? The fact is we make qualifications on life ALL THE TIME. Relying on simple sanctimonious statements that do not deal with the complexities of the real world are no way to navigate this world and certainly should never be policy.
Delta (New York)
"He is opposed to abortion on moral grounds, and counsels his parishioners against getting the procedure. But he is also vehemently supportive of a woman’s right to choose" Yes!!!! You can be both. And frankly that should not even be newsworthy. Sad.
Clare Mulligan (Palm Harbor, FL)
“I’m against slavery, but I support the right of slaveowners to choose.” “I oppose torture, but in the end, it’s an issue between the torturer and his victim.” “Embezzlement is wrong, but I can’t judge the woman who chooses to embezzle.” Why is abortion any different? The whole point is that there is another life involved, with her own heartbeat, her own DNA, with ten fingers and ten toes. You call the pastor’s position “nuance.” I call it incoherence.
Agatha (Pnw)
@Clare Mulligan A woman choosing whether or not she's in a good situation to care for a child and give it what it needs is certainly different than the examples you've given..... because of nuance. Having an abortion is different than enslaving, torturing and stealing from children and adults who, if they survive, will have to deal with that truama for a long time. You most likely wouldn't decide to enslave, torture or steal from people because you would die otherwise (like when a woman might choose to have an abortion because she has cancer and chemo would end the pregnancy) Maybe you'd steal from someone because you'd die otherwise, but I still think the context is different. Another difference is that the life involved is either a life that has been living for awhile. Meeting other people, friends and family, etc, etc, etc, and one that has barely begun, is not fully formed. I could go on, there are many differences, there's nuance, and it is possible to coherently think upon it.
Rebecca Dawson (Detroit)
@Clare Mulligan Abortion is DIFFERENT for exactly the reason you state -- the WOMAN is the only one impacted. Not a fully developed person capable of emotions. The slave owners suffers nothing from not owning a slave. The Slave suffers tremendously BEING a slave. The torturer suffers nothing from not being able to torture. The victim suffers tremendously from being tortured. A WOMAN suffers tremendously from being forced to carry a pregnancy she does not want. All aspects of her life are impacted -- health, mental, financial. The EMBRYO suffers nothing in being aborted. BYSTANDERS suffer nothing by someone having an abortion. The reason why abortion is DIFFERENT is because the WOMAN is the SAME as the SLAVE and the VICTIM. SHE is the one who SUFFERS from forced pregnancy. The only possible reason you would see this as "incoherence" is because you've so internalized the view that woman are "lesser" and "subject to" their reproductive parts that you can't even see the difference between an adult woman and her function as a vessel.
ROK (Mpls)
@Clare Mulligan Your faith, not science dictates that there is another human life involved. Mine dictates that life begins at birth and until then the women comes first.
Lisa (NYC)
I did not realize that black women had a higher rate of abortion, than white women (as stated in this article)? Either way, it's of paramount importance that black women, especially young, poor, uneducated black women, can get and afford abortions, if they want them. For we see far too often what happens when children are born into already-compromised home situations: the young boys often act out and become violent, and the young girls eventually repeat the patterns of their mothers, getting pregnant at a young age, and bearing multiple children with multiple men. Entire communities suffer, as a result of this. Whenever you read a news story of a young black male who got into trouble with the law, 9 times out of 10 he came from a single mother. This is not coincidence. Unplanned parenthood, especially under compromised circumstances, is a recipe for disaster.
Mooße (Philadelphia)
Dobbs does not restrict abortion, it returns the matter to the states, where it belongs under the constitution. I am mildly pro-life and do not think abortion should be prohibited. I think the Missouri law that pro-abortion advocates challenged was entirely reasonable with abortion available until 15 weeks and in case of the mother's health in jeopardy thereafter--three weeks more than most European countries, all of which passed their laws legislatively rather than having judges find them in their versions of unwritten constitutions. If the pastor believes that restricting abortions legally is a bad idea and that it will negatively affect black women more acutely, those are arguments to be made to his elected representatives.
MV (Arlington VA)
@Mooße I think you mean the Mississippi law. And maybe you're right about its reasonableness. But that's not where the Supreme Court drew the line. People had to challenge the Mississippi law; it was unconstitutional under Roe. And if they hadn't challenged that one, they'd have had to challenge the Texas six-week law; the anti-abortion folks aren't trying to draw a reasonable line, they're trying to ban abortion entirely.
KristenB (Oklahoma City)
@Mooße Civil rights should not be left up to the states. Period. That is the attitude that allowed slavery to continue--"states' rights". Nope. Not okay then, not okay now.
Mooße (Philadelphia)
@MV Thank you for the correction, you are correct, I meant Mississippi. I don't think the law *had* to be challenged, but if it did the liberals on the Court were entirely free to vote to uphold the law along with Roberts and try to peel off another justice. Barrett or Gorsuch may have for something like that. Because the matter was illegitimately usurped by the Court it was going to bandied about like that. Better left to the states.
Bill (FL)
I was struck by how few parishioners were shown in attendance at the church. Yes, the text explains that attendance still hasn't rebounded from the effects of the pandemic, but I wonder how the church can sustain itself financially and otherwise when the physical experience and human contacts involved in hearing and seeing a sermon live (as opposed to streaming) is not possible. I also suspect, as seems to be the case in many other religious groups and denominations, the demographic of live and streaming attendees is skewed heavily toward older folks rather than those under, say, 40.
Charles Swigart (Fayetteville, PA)
I am a white man in his 70's who has lived my life in rural Pennsylvania. I agree with Rev. Stencil. We must walk the walk of the people who face these decisions in order to try to understand their situation. And then we must support them in whatever decision they make. God bless you Rev. Stencil for speaking the truth.
Democritus (California)
If you take abortion out of the equation, it would seem that every decent human being is pro life. The question is what constraints should be legally imposed on abortion given that the overwhelming majority of abortions are performed early term because the pregnancy is unwanted. One religion says abortion is a self damming mortal sin. Those who believe in the separation of church and state argue otherwise. When there is no simple answer it is best to leave the decision, as much as possible, to the parties involved. Regarding the fetus itself, life-death decision are made by individuals every day. The pro life position is every one of those decisions should be made to achieve a positive outcome for the lives involved. Allowing a terminally ill patient to stop life sustaining treatment is a pro life decision, which the individual should have a right to make.
Mooße (Philadelphia)
@Democritus The question is where does the question reside? In the state legislatures through democratic processes or is aborting a pregnancy a right enshrined in the constitution, hidden in the shadows of an amendment ratified more than a century before it was found by a few judges? If the former, those nuanced differences between people's beliefs gets hashed out.
Robert O (Thousand Oaks, CA)
Alan (Worldwide)
LovelyAfterMidnight (USA)
Mary T (VA)
Sam Pringle (Jacksonville Fl)
Take a hint from my mom...Nunya...None of your business..
Tad R. (Billings, MT)
Another empty church.
Bill Virginia (23456)
Pastor Stancil approves of a woman's right to choose but the conversation has morphed into,"Do you support the woman's right to choose up to the third trimester, or birth?" I fully support a woman's choice but there should be limitations after 3 or 4 months. With unfettered access to birth control, a morning after pill and abortion on demand, why is this so hard? The person who impregnated the woman has zero rights in the matter. That is the way it has always been and that is why the child should have some protection, in some cases from its own Mother.
Smilodon7 (Gilead, The State Formerly Known As Missouri)
Because sometimes you can’t detect big problems with a pregnancy until it’s after 16 weeks or they develop a problem after 16 weeks! Maybe the cancer isn’t found until week 19. Medicine doesn’t operate on a strict schedule. Why is that so difficult to understand?
Paula Callaghan (Lansdale PA)
@Bill Virginia There is no "unfettered" access to birth control right this very minute. Religious extremists have worked to make it possible for employers (from whom most Americans get their insurance) and pharmacists to deny access to birth control. Further, the same religious extremists who are working to ban all abortions also want to ban birth control, access to maternal and neonatal care and any kind of parental leave. These fringe actors are in the extreme minority among Americans yet have disproportionate power because the media (including the NYTimes) amplify the noise.
Robert Monteverde (Pittsburgh)
That depends on what the father intentions are after he impregnated the woman. Are they in a committed relationship where he will be around to help raise and care for the child? Or is he a Johnny Appleseed , spreading his sperm and moving on. A father has rights if he intends to care for mother and child, because that is what a real man will do! Pregnancy is not easy, it comes at great risk to the mother, it is not always free of severe illness and complications to mother and child. Unfortunately for many “ fathers” it is a few moments of pleasure and than move on. The pastor is very accurate that the woman needs to make the choice and if in a committed relationship both should discuss the choice
John Quixote (NY)
Outstanding example of how to do separation of church and state- it would be right and just to de-couple this very personal right from the harnessing of our societal dilemmas to win power- especially when that power is being wielded to punish others rather than serve the common good.
Necessity (USA)
Agreed. There’s huge ethical issues that are not simple, one way or the other. A friend is a devout Christian, a labor and delivery nurse in a large university hospital, who approaches her work with professionalism and compassion. She would never choose to abort her own developing child, but after routine scanning halfway through pregnancy showed that her baby’s brain was not developing and that her baby and her family would suffer, she had no ethical, moral, or religious problem with choosing to abort. The abortion regulations prior to this SCOTUS decision were practical and humane. Whether abortion is regulated by federal or state, access to abortion is a necessity.
Memes (Chicago)
@Necessity So, it sounds like she did CHOOSE to abort. That's what choice means. When it's taken away, it applies to all cases. It doesn't leave asterisks for the particular circumstances of your fetus, pregnancy, or life. I wonder if she still thinks she'd never choose to abort.
White female (Midwest)
Thank you Rev. Clinton Stancil for having the courage to follow your heart instead of dogma and the courage to speak about it publicly. Thank you for standing up for women, ALL women, but especially for women in disadvantaged communities. And yes, he is right, things can only change if you vote. And that goes for everyone, VOTE!
Cindy (VT, USA)
I rarely listen to audios when browsing the NYT on my tablet, but I am very glad I chose to listen to Pastor Stancil. I'm not black, and I was raised Jewish, but his words were, to me, what should be at the core of all religions. He also states very clearly the extreme hypocrisy of those in government who claim to be pro-life, but ignore every aspect of life after the birth of a baby. Thank you, Pastor. May your words echo long and loud.
Mask Of Comedy/Tragedy (Northeast)
This is how religion is supposed to work. Empathy Compassion Trying to help people work through difficult situations in their lives People are not supposed to judge others - that is reserved for gods If religion actually worked this way in our country it would be far more useful than it currently is
Doctor A (Canada)
@Mask Of Comedy/Tragedy “ People are not supposed to judge others” you say? Really? We might quibble on whether we are judging people or judging their actions, but I am worried by the thought that you lack the moral compass to at the very least judge actions. I am proudly and openly judgmental. I judge that murder and rape and stealing are wrong. And I similarly judge abortion and gay marriage are OK.
Mask Of Comedy/Tragedy (Northeast)
@Doctor A I don’t mean a society should not have a justice system. And I don’t mean you cannot have an opinion on policy. I am primarily referencing how organized religion chooses to operate - this is a critique of religion and last I saw churches/synagogues/temples/mosques do not enact state and federal laws and do not serve on the judiciary. I am saying religion is meant to have a certain limited purpose in society that should be about kindness, acceptance and assistance. Instead, we have the politicization and weaponization of religion where the religious feel they are allowed to impose the private on the public. In other words “judge” politically and legally when this is not really the spheres within which religion should be operating. Separation of church and state. Otherwise we are just a theocracy
TS (San Francisco)
We can choose to vote for those who will protect our ability to choose. Vote and help others vote smartly.
GR (San Diego)
@TS unfortunately, a lot of votes are being suppressed. Our whole democracy is at stake.
The End Is Where We Start From (Little Gidding)
Amen, Pastor! As far back as the first chapters of Genesis, we know that God has given us choice. As a Catholic, we also teach that one’s conscience is inviolable. What does that mean? It means that no one else should tell someone who has done their best to form their conscience what to do. If one listens to God, consults the wisdom of the Bible and of trusted elders, prays about the choice in front of them, and then makes a choice, no one else should bully them into making a choice that goes against what he or she believes in their heart is the right one. It doesn’t matter if the bystander believes the person making the choice is morally wrong. The bystander does violence against the person making a choice when they insist someone goes against their own conscience. God gave us the ability to choose. God didn’t intend for our neighbor (or a politician or a pastor) to make the choice for us. Apologies for those Catholics who forget, conveniently, about what we teach about conscience.
Colorado Teacher (Denver)
Well said - thank you. My sister is certain that her God owns the only truth and HE tells her (through the Bible she reads) that the termination of a pregnancy for any reason is murder and that her God therefore gives her the right to deny my choice. I wish she could “hear” this sermon and your comment but she can’t and sadly (to me) that’s a choice that punishes not accept my choice.
alpenglow (WA)
@The End Is Where We Start From I am Catholic and I was told by a fellow parishoner that you cannot be Catholic and pro-choice. I am pro-choice and often consider finding a different church because of the Catholic church's anti-choice stance including the "40 Days for Life" vigil, etc. I don't think the majority agree with your interpretation of Catholic teachings.
johnw (pa)
@The End Is Where We Start From ...and with a reported 80% of abortions had by Christians; a majority of those had by Catholics, their silence so far in unconscionable. Wonder if they might offer the same ability to choose to their fellow citizens in the next election?
Joe (USA)
Jesus never said a word about abortion or when life begins. The Old Testament is also not clear about this issue, and definitely never says that life begins at conception, which is why Jews and right wing Christian’s can have such different views on this topic. Evangelical churches and republicans did not want to ban abortion until about the past 50 years. Evangelical pastors and pastors in the 1970s realized that abortion could be used as a way to increase their fundraising and emotionally fire up their base. The Catholic Church realized this far earlier and also realized that banning abortion and contraception would increase their numbers throughout the world. If Jesus said anything relevant this topic, it was to warn the Pharisees to not impose their religious interpretations on non-believes. It is clear to me, from Jesus’ harsh words to the self-righteous, hypocritical Pharisees that he also would not endorse using government to force conservative evangelical beliefs on non-Christian’s. Abortion is a political and fundraising issue for evangelicals and the Catholic Church. The Bible has not clear stance on it.
John Lee Pettimore (Cleveland)
@Joe But Jesus said plenty about feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, healing the sick, visiting the imprisoned, WELCMING THE STRANGER. Right-wing Christians (an oxymoron) should heed the words of the profit about whom they prattle endlessly.
John Lee Pettimore (Cleveland)
@Joe But Jesus said plenty about feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, healing the sick, visiting the imprisoned, WELCOMING THE STRANGER. Right-wing Christians (an oxymoron) should heed the words of the prophet about whom they prattle endlessly.
The End Is Where We Start From (Little Gidding)
@ Joe It’s good to remember as well that in biblical times, they thought the sperm was all that was needed to form a baby. They had no idea that the woman contributed anything other than a space for the baby to grow.
Hla3452 (Tulsa)
The GOP position on abortion has absolutely nothing to do with their supposed support of the life of the unborn. If it was a consistent moral/philosophical/religious position we would have universal healthcare, child care credits, guaranteed parental leave and a host of other social safety nets. Instead their opposition to abortion is based solely on consolidating the voting block of those whose sincere opposition is based on their religious point of view. And that religious point of view is not universal throughout even the Christians they are courting to say nothing of the diversity of beliefs of other non-Christian religious convictions.
John Lee Pettimore (Cleveland)
@Hla3452 It's about sex, and their disapproval of certain people they think shouldn't be having it. They think unwanted pregnancy is a punishment for having sex.
Smilodon7 (Gilead, The State Formerly Known As Missouri)
We also wouldn’t have a death penalty. If all life is so sacred, it’s ALL sacred.
Hla3452 (Tulsa)
@John Lee Pettimore That may be the churches beliefs. The GOP are all about consolidating influences to attain and maintain power.
Ellae (Ashland Oregon)
Thank you for providing access to hearing this wise, emotionally balanced man. The right to choose one’s life course is the right of every person. Each one of us then lives and learns from the outcome of our personal choice, our most intimate relationship to ourselves. What we call our life is sitting on top of the results of our choices. No one has the right to take this from another. No one.
MamaDoc (N.C.)
When a government compels a woman NOT to have an abortion, they've established a dangerous principle. In the future, that same government can compel a woman to have one. Anyone remember the forced sterilizations of the past?
A.R.S. (NJ)
@MamaDoc Exactly. It's bigger than abortion. It's our autonomy. Our personhood. SCOTUS took away our rights to privacy and subjugated us.
Gdo (CA)
This is a completely reasonable position, and it's bizarre that we should think it's odd enough to write an article on. I think it describes many people who are pro-choice.
W.B. (WA)
@Gdo "Preacher Tries Reason" is the new "Man Bites Dog" of contemporary headlines.
Andaucia (pacific northwest)
@daniel. It's a color matter insofar as a disproportionately white court and legislature make decisions that disproportionately affect black women. And also, yes, a gender matter: why should men get to make any decisions about women's bodies? I loved the sermon. As a woman who survived a life threatening pregnancy, I would never deny any woman the right to choose what happens to her body.
MV (Arlington VA)
@Andaucia It's always worth noting that there isn't much of a gender gap on abortion; women oppose it in the same numbers as men. Women in legislatures have voted to ban it. A woman on the Supreme Court voted to overturn Roe.
NHMamma (Up North)
P o w e r f u l. Share this video. He says what needs to be said, what should be said across the nation, and he does so with eloquence and humanity. Thank you for this sermon. (Though I'm not of the speaker's faith, race, or gender - he reached me and I deeply appreciate his words, message and recognition of the layers to this issue of autonomy)
W.B. (WA)
@NHMamma He didn't quite get to the heart of the matter, though, which is: a fetus is not a person. But, if he can get to a woman's heart with this material, ehh... good enough, I guess.
NHMamma (Up North)
@W.B. Indeed, a fetus is not a person. While focusing on definitions can be a winning legal argument, winning hearts and votes requires focusing on choice, autonomy, and freedom from governmental intrusion into deeply personal decisions and healthcare decisions. Anti-choice (aka "Pro-Life") movements are about controlling women, making women less than, and about keeping women in poverty. Choice gives women autonomy, dignity, health, freedom, opportunity, and a future. Vote for candidates who are actively pro-choice.
Daniel (California)
Sensible and thought provoking sermon that makes a great point that shows how complex a matter abortion is. A very compassionate and great story. We need this kind of spirited opinion to better frame debate because it's not simply black and white. Beyond the abortion issue in his sermon, however, am I reading too much into his speech though when he says unashamedly that he will never support white legislators making decisions about black bodies? So why is this a color matter?...Isn't it just as ridiculous as it is for us to hand over power for a woman to choose for her own body? Is it radical to prioritize race above all else? I'm not black but I don't think it's wise to base one's vote on the color of a candidate's skin???
Alice (Eastern Washington)
When the reverend refers to the white legislation of black bodies, he is referring to slavery. This country has a long and brutal history of white people controlling black reproduction. And here we are, again facing the devastating impact of white control over black reproduction. He brings race into play because race IS in play. He is not saying to vote for someone because of their skin. He is saying vote for people who can recognize humanity beneath skin. Your misinterpretation should give you pause.
john clagett (Englewood, NJ)
Faith, reason-they not only can coexist, the mind is wired to maintain the validity of each, and the tension between the two taut. But for this pastor, he expressed this push and pull with grace and beauty.
DMV Heights (San Francisco)
“White leaders shouldn’t make decisions about black bodies.” Amen to that.
The Queen of Feral Cats (Virginia)
@DMV Heights - Agreed completely. And by that same reasoning, men shouldn't be allowed to make any decisions about women's health.
JustMe (CA)
@DMV Heights If it takes people turning this into a racial issue in order to get the vote out in support of ALL women's and girls bodily autonomy, i'm for it.
DMV Heights (San Francisco)
@JustMe It's just a fact that white people make our laws, largely in their own interest.
Kathi (Charlotte NC)
Wow - powerful
LC Shepherd (USA)
A man telling women what to do with their bodies. This is not right. Vote blue on November 8th.
Steve (US)
@LC Shepherd The whole point is that he is pro-choice, i.e., he's not telling women what to do with their bodies.
Bman (TX)
@LC Shepherd this argument is so tired. The people I know that are pro-life (or anti-abortion, if that makes you feel better) have no interest in controlling women's bodies. In fact a lot of them ARE women. They truly believe that a fetus is a human life and should not be destroyed. You may not believe that. And that's fine. But THEY do...
D. Epp (Vancouver)
@Bman "You may not believe that." Why should the government make legislation based on religious "beliefs" of a specific group and ignore the "beliefs" of those (the majority) who don't hold the same belief? Christianity is but one religion among many, and government should not pander to one in favour of another.
Elizabeth (Upstate NY)
Why does it appear the abortion is needed in black communities? Why is abortion a black or white thing? Abortion is one thing, it is the taking of life. With the number of means of birth control, the morning after pill, etc. there should be no reason to terminate a life. If you're focusing on the child born into a poor community than give that child assistance. Take the money the government spends on Planned parenthood abortions and give it to places that care for children. Give the option to the numerous couples looking to adopt. There are ways to help this child and help these women cope with a situation without terminating a life.
EJ (Philly)
@Elizabeth The government spends exactly zero dollars on "Planned Parenthood abortions.".
Marisa (NJ)
There are many reasons for an abortion. Yes, financially supporting and legal protecting women jobs would go a ways in ensuring some don’t turn to abortion. Strengthening domestic violence laws and supporting women leaving these relationships would also help. As would counting reproductive abuse as domestic violence and physical assault. But abortion will always be necessary, medical reasons alone count for a good number. Regarding the adoption answer, this is nonsense. I also think about how many children are waiting for adoption, most of these are physically disabled or have major health issues, or they have been through a major trauma. Where are the pro life people? Likely waiting for a perfect, healthy baby.
Kathy Riley (MA)
@Elizabeth Except there are no Republican plans to assist low income women nationally. Many red states will not expand Medicaid to the populations that need it most. Many of the Red states' governments that vehemently oppose abortion have poorly rated public schools, high levels of poverty, food deserts, etc. It's been said that pro life often means no abortions, but then you are on your own. Some businesses fought to not have to provide health insurance that covers birth control to their employees as it is "against their religion". And remember that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas said that the ruling that made birth control legal needs to be looked at again. Planned Parenthood provides a lot of health care (mammograms, birth control, etc)- they are not just an abortion provider. Look it up. What do you/ your community/ your church do to support low income women? It's not enough to just talk the talk.. You give simplistic options to a very complex issue. I would remind you that poll after poll shows a marjority of Americans support a woman's right to choose. It should be a decision between the woman, her doctor and her faith. Government has no business being in that room.
ANN (Philadelphia)
Chris (Saratoga Springs NY)
Right on. Big difference between pro-abortion and pro-choice.
Brooklyneer (BK)
No one is “pro-abortion.” This debate has always been about the freedom for a woman to CHOOSE what is best for her specific situation. No woman is “pro” abortion. To decide to terminate a pregnancy is one of the most painful, difficult decisions anyone can make.
Big difference between forced birth and a woman’s right to make decisions about her body. And life
Carl! (NJ)
@Brooklyneer I'm pro-abortion in the same way I'm pro-root-canal. They're nobody's idea of a good time, and never undertaken lightly, but when you need one, you need one. (Also, despite my male moniker, I'm a woman.)
Kathryn (St Louis, MO)
Such an amazing man to buck the trend of religious leaders firmly preaching the anti-abortion measure, plus from a pulpit in St Louis where I see every day the results of black folk being adversely affected by decisions made by (white) folks who hide their racism in religious clothing.
Tom J (Berwyn, IL)
With all due respect, I do not care if you're a pastor or a trash collector because in this country, both votes and opinions are equal. Democrats are working hard to keep it that way.
Yes Please (Nyc)
How is this church not bursting at the seams? What an extraordinary sermon.
2 Cents (East)
@Yes Please The last paragraph of the accompanying article explains: "As it has for many houses of worship in the United States, attendance at Wayman A.M.E. still hasn’t rebounded to prepandemic levels. So Mr. Stancil, a kinetic preacher whose partly improvised sermons often run half an hour or more, finds himself these days speaking to a congregation that is mostly tuning in via the church’s live streams. We thought his message deserved a wider audience." take a look- that paragraph contains two links: one to his youtube channel and the other to his live streams over facebook.
Navneet (Boston)
I am gay and atheist and I would fight for people’s right to practice their religion until they try to make their religious teachings public policies and discriminate people. Most religions have put many barriers on women because they are all written by men. Gay community will always stand with women and for women rights as we always have been as women has supported our rights more than men. We are both victims of religion and men who wrote and enforced them.
Pdianek (Virginia)
@Navneet "Gay community will always stand with women and for women rights as we always have been as women has supported our rights more than men." I wish we could actually see and hear that the "Gay community will always stand with women and for women rights...". Too many gay men are silent and invisible. In my town, when we demonstrated against the SCOTUS decision on Dobbs, we were 98% female. Where were gay male allies then? Are they afraid to lose their man card?
Lagrange (Ca)
@Navneet "We are both victims of religion and men who wrote and enforced them." ... so true.
johnw (pa)
@Navneet ...btw: atheist are reported to have the lowest % of abortions.
Michel Werner (Paris)
This pastor may be anti-abortion (let us stop using pro-life which is positive) but he is mostly preaching older people. Not the young women who are targeted by the anti-abortion movement. If he did he might have stiffer opposition to his preaching.
Midwest (Illinois)
Debra M. (Syracuse)
I'm not a religious woman, but still and all, amen to this minister's message.
Therapist (Chicago)
This man makes me want to go to church. What nuance, what empathy, what poetry. I’m not a believer, but “God bless”, dear Reverend.
Joinery Piling Up (Charlottesville)
@Therapist The voice of poetic, empathetic reason.
Bill (FL)
@Therapist I was struck by how few parishioners were shown in attendance at the church. Yes, the text explains that attendance still hasn't rebounded from the effects of the pandemic, but I wonder how the church can sustain itself financially and otherwise when the physical experience and human contacts involved in hearing and seeing a sermon live (as opposed to streaming) are not possible. I also suspect, as seems to be the case in many other religious groups and denominations, the demographic of live and streaming attendees is skewed heavily toward older folks rather than those under, say, 40.
LTTK (way out west)
@Bill My sense is this pastor's talk/sermon was reproduced for The Times to film. Not populating the pews with more parishioners was a misstep. Makes it looks like he doesn't have an audience for his message which I doubt is true.
Robert (Minnesota)
The pastor makes many good points. He is pro-life, but fully recognized he is not in the shoes of those thrust into the worse situations and dealing with the agony of the choices. And when he counseled one woman to have a baby, and she didn't, this woman, who would otherwise live a life of poverty and struggle, ascended to a PHD level and had a healthy child then, who did very well. You can clearly see how choices mean everything. He also made many good points about those who are "pro-life", not caring at all about these children once born. Amen to that.
Smilodon7 (Gilead, The State Formerly Known As Missouri)
That us my biggest problem with the pro life crowd. The lack of support once the child is born. Those kids all need food, clothing, shelter, schooling. Y’all wanted the baby born, but begrudge the child what he or she needs to live? In what universe is that pro life?
qu (Los Angeles, CA)
@Robert What do we call people who hold the position that women (informed by the medical community and assisted by whatever mentors they choose) can make the best decisions for their own lives? "Pro-choice"
Steve (Kentucky)
@Robert First of all, these people are not "pro-life". They are "forced birth pro death". FBPD. A posit: "It doesn’t matter whether we’re talking about a fertilized egg, a fetus, a baby, a five-year-old, or a Nobel Prize winning scientist, NOBODY has the right to use your body against your will, even to save their life or anyone else's. That’s the argument. You cannot be forced to donate blood, marrow, or organs even though thousands die every year on waiting lists. This society cannot even harvest your organs after your death without your explicit, written, pre-mortem permission. Denying women the right to abortion means they have less bodily autonomy than a corpse.
Art Fogel (Nashville, TN)
There's a lot to think about in this message. It's well worth 5 min to listen.