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Flint Event Aims to Amplify Voices of Reproductive Justice

Supporters of reproductive justice say women should have the right to choose if they want to have children, or not. (Pixabay)
Supporters of reproductive justice say women should have the right to choose if they want to have children, or not. (Pixabay)
May 17, 2016

FLINT, Mich. - Faith leaders, policy experts and families will gather Friday, May 20, in Flint to amplify the voices of those who support reproductive freedom.

The Interfaith Reproductive Justice Conference will address issues including abortion and birth control, sex education in congregations, and religious liberty.

Randy Block, director of the Michigan Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Network, says all families – including single-parent and LGBT families – should be treated with respect and dignity to make their own choices.

"We as a coalition define reproductive justice as being more than birth control and abortion, but the right of people to not only not have children, but to have them," says Block. "And to be able to have the resources they need to raise happy, healthy kids."

Block says they'll also discuss other issues that impact families in Michigan, including efforts to raise the minimum wage, change paid sick-leave policies and expand affordable child-care options.

Faith leaders from Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim and Unitarian backgrounds will explain how their faith values support standing up for the reproductive rights of women and families.

Block says reproductive rights have been under attack in Michigan for far too long, with the core values of the religious right being inserted into law.

He points to what he calls an abortion coercion bill (HB 4787), recently passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee, as just one example.

"We certainly don't believe anyone should be coerced into having an abortion, but we don't believe that anyone should be coerced into having a child when they're not ready," says Block. "This bill seems to give power to the religious right to continue to oppress women."

Supporters of the measure contend it will avoid abortion coercion by a spouse, parent or employer. But opponents counter that coercion is difficult to prove and the bill is unnecessary.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - MI