Our priority at Faith Voices for Reproductive Justice is to carve out space in Northern Ireland for those of us who are faithfully pro-choice, or who just don’t have all the answers when it comes to complex reproductive issues. We want that space to be visible and accessible to everyone who feels conflicted about abortion doctrine or dogma in their churches or faith communities. There needs to be an alternative to the silence and condemnation.
We are not interested in changing anyone’s mind about abortion or convincing other people of faith that they should be pro-choice. We welcome all kinds of respectful dialogue, knowing that we have shared values with many in our faith communities who have different personal beliefs about abortion.
However, we do feel called to use our voices in the public square because the moral vision of reproductive justice that we believe in requires action from politicians, policy makers and the public in order to become a reality. Faith communities have a moral duty to speak up for a better world and against the inequalities and injustices that keep people marginalised through poverty, discrimination, and exclusion.
So if you follow us on social media you will see us amplify campaigns for access to abortion services, social housing, enhanced social security, greater protections for migrant communities among other issues.
We support the call for fully commissioned and funded abortion services in Northern Ireland.
While FVRJ members have a range of views on abortion that take into account our individual experiences, ethical questions or theological reflections, we recognise the right of everyone to make their own decisions. A system that places abortion out of reach for people in difficult situations only causes pain and creates inequality and stigma. For too long Northern Ireland forced women to get on boats and planes during some of their most difficult times, isolating them from their support networks and adding financial or practical strain. Criminalising abortion or making it inaccessible does not stop it from happening. We want to see reproductive healthcare delivered in local communities.
You can read our letter to the Health Minister from May 2021 here and our response to the Secretary of State’s intervention in July 2021 here.