The Senate doesn’t trust women to make decisions about what’s best for their bodies, their lives, or their families. Apparently, it doesn’t trust clergy either. Last night, the Senate passed the Child Custody Protection Act, a federal bill that would criminalize accompanying a minor across state lines to have an abortion without her parent’s permission or knowledge. The law contains no exceptions for grandparents, adult siblings, or clergy members.
But clergy of all faiths have historically played an essential role in helping women receive abortions. In 1967, when abortion was illegal in most of this country, a group of clergy banded together to form the Clergy Consultation Service in order to help women obtain safe, but illegal, abortions. By the time Roe v. Wade was decided, the network had more than 1000 clergy members.
Should Congress have allowed clergy to exercise their conscience and minister to their congregations without the threat of violating federal law? God forbid.