The Power to Choose

Rebecca Parker

Why does it matter that women’s reproductive choices be protected? Because we live in a broken world where life is at risk in many ways. The power to choose is the power of life in the midst of brokenness. Without choice, tragedy, impasse, and despair are the last word. With choice, creativity, responsibility, and possibility enter the conversation. With choice, human beings enter into fuller personhood, becoming creative agents in the world who can transform life in the direction of greater justice, safety, and joy. A society in which human beings accept that life and death are in their hands is a better society.

Embracing creativity and responsibility is a spiritual value that applies beyond the questions of pregnancy and childbirth. To know that we have choice is to know that life is not predetermined, that we do not simply have to comply with established structures, rote patterns, or the dictates of despair. It is to know that we are not helpless in the face of overwhelming events. We all need the spiritual knowledge that life and death are in our hands, and we all need to do the hard work of ethical discernment, of accepting that life and death are ours to choose. Why should we march to keep abortion safe and legal? Because where there is choice there is life. Where there is life there is hope. And where there is hope we find ourselves holding bundles of joy in our arms. Each of us bears in our own bodies the powers of holding on and of letting go.

This excerpt is from Rev. Dr. Parker's 2004 sermon, "For All That Is Our Life (PDF)."

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