Reverend Butler calls out Governor Abbotts' hypocrisy surrounding 'pro-life' pointing to his mishandling of the pandemic.
It's no secret that evangelicals form the core of the pro-life movement and it's common for arguments against overturning Roe vs Wade to center around the Bible. With restrictive anti-abortion laws being passed in Texas and mooted in other states, there's renewed focus on what the Bible says on the subject. Reverend Jennifer Butler has now opened up on the subject and reveals her take on the subject. "Texas Republicans have wielded the bluntest of legal instruments on some of our most nuanced personal and ethical decisions," wrote Reverend Butler for The Huffington Post. Reverend Butler is CEO of Faith in Public Life and was also chair of the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships under the Obama administration.
Reverend Butler shared a personal story of accompanying a friend to a Planned Parenthood facility and explained why this isn't as black and white as conservatives want to paint it. "She chose not to get an abortion that day, but I was there for her either way. Carrying each other through difficult moments, while respecting each other’s moral autonomy, is at the heart of both friendship and faith," she wrote. Reverend Butler touched upon the Texas law, S.B. 8 that all but cuts access to abortions after 6 weeks, which is when most even realize they are pregnant. There was no exemption even in cases of rape or incest.
The law enables a vigilante system, incentivizing people to report those accessing abortions or those helping them get abortions with fines going up to $10,000. "S.B. 8 turns neighbor against neighbor," wrote Butler, recalling her friend’s enraged partner trying to physically block them from leaving her home, which she said would have bankrupted her. "When we reward anger and punish accompaniment, we ignore God’s condemnation of those who sow discord (Proverbs 6:19) and disregard the Gospel’s call to love our neighbor. While anti-abortion lawmakers often cloak their positions in Christian faith, S.B. 8 is theologically unsound," she added.
She pointed out that while many Americans may spit into a binary of identifying as “pro-choice” and “pro-life,” a majority (70%) of them keeping Roe v. Wade. Reverend Buttler pointed out that the political positions of conservative leaders revealed their hypocrisy. "The contrast between S.B. 8 and Texas’ deadly Coronavirus policies shows a deep disconnect between “pro-life” rhetoric and “pro-life” policies," she wrote, before highlighting that Texas Governor Greg Abbott has been anything but pro-life when it comes to mask and vaccine mandates. “Our Creator endowed us with a right to life,” said Abbott on signing the restrictive Texas law, but then went ahead and banned school districts from instituting mask mandates to protect children’s lives and forbid businesses from mandating patrons and employees to be vaccinated.
She also pointed out that Abbott wasn't deterred by the rising number of Coronavirus deaths or hospitalizations revealing his hypocrisy on being pro-life. "Policies that rob us of the agency to make such weighty moral decisions about the direction of our lives demean the fullness of our humanity. And suing people into bankruptcy for acts of compassion is the height of cruelty," she said, before labeling Texas' restrictive anti-abortion law an unjust one.
Bans on abortions don’t actually stop them from happening—it just means that women will seek out less safe, more dangerous paths to get the medical care they need.— Tammy Duckworth (@SenDuckworth) September 12, 2021
The origins of the anti-abortion crusade by conservatives reveal it to be nothing but manufactured outrage, says Randall Balmer, a Mandel family professor in the arts and sciences at Dartmouth College. "It wasn’t until 1979—a full six years after Roe—that evangelical leaders, at the behest of conservative activist Paul Weyrich, seized on abortion not for moral reasons, but as a rallying-cry to deny President Jimmy Carter a second term. Why? Because the anti-abortion crusade was more palatable than the religious right’s real motive: protecting segregated schools," wrote Balmer for Politico.
After the Supreme Court refused to block the law, the Justice Department sued the state of Texas. "The act is clearly unconstitutional under long-standing Supreme Court precedent," said Attorney General Merrick Garland, reported NPR. "Those precedents hold, in the words of Planned Parenthood v. Casey, that 'regardless of whether exceptions are made for particular circumstances, a state may not prohibit any woman from making the ultimate decision to terminate her pregnancy before viability.'"