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Letter to the Editor: Stopping the Religious Right’s Attempt to Ban Abortion

preaching anti abortion gospel lexington kentucky (6)

Letter to the editor of The Bryan Times

Dear Editor,

After the U.S. Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade and returned the regulation of abortion to the states, many liberals and progressives thought that culture warriors would move on to other hot-button issues such as same-sex marriage, gender-affirming care for transgender people, and banning library books that offend their religious sensibilities. As someone who was an Evangelical pastor for twenty-five years, I warned my fellow progressives that Evangelicals, conservative Catholics, and Mormons were not finished on the abortion front; that their true objective is to pass total abortion bans. No exceptions for rape and incest. No exceptions for the life of the mother or fatal fetal abnormalities. From the moment the sperm fertilizes the egg — no abortion. Period.

Eighty-eight percent of abortions take place in the first trimester. Late-term abortions are rare, and usually the result of fatal fetal abnormalities or threats to the lives of mothers. Yet, forced-birth groups, including those in rural Northwest Ohio, almost always use gruesome photos of late-term aborted fetuses to inflame the passions of supporters. Why is that? I suspect a photo of a zygote or a four-week-old blastocyst doesn’t stir people to open their checkbooks to give money to forced birth groups as a bloody fetus does.

Currently, signatures are being collected for a ballot initiative that will legalize abortion in Ohio. Hopefully, this initiative will be on the ballot in November. Ohio Republican legislators are doing everything in their power to derail the ballot initiative, including upping vote percentage for an amendment to pass.. It is likely Republican attempts to hinder the democratic process will fail and Ohioans will be able to put an end to the religious rights frontal assault on reproductive rights.

The good news is that the majority of voters support reproductive rights. While they may want certain restrictions on post-viability abortions, most Ohioans support a woman’s right to choose. This is especially the case for younger adults who generally oppose the religious right’s culture war. If younger adults turn out to vote, that will put an end to forced birth laws.

We mustn’t underestimate the goal of Evangelicals and conservative Catholics; not only in banning abortion but also banning many forms of birth control. Their goal is to return Ohio and the United States to the good old days of the 1950s. We must not let this happen.

Bruce Gerencser
Ney, Ohio

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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  1. Avatar
    Davie from Glasgow

    If they were really ‘pro life’ then every Republican legislator would willingly pass or vote for laws that required the state to be financially responsible for any child born to a mother that was denied access to abortion services – in all circumstances and FOR LIFE. Otherwise they obviously can’t pretend to REALLY be pro life. Just anti women’s bodily autonomy.

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    I am so angry over the anti-abortion shit going on that I could scream. I didn’t choose to have a functioning female reproductive system. I spent decades on birth control so that I could choose how many children I would have and when I would have them. I live with the fear of sexual assault/rape living over my head constantly (yes, I understand that anyone can be sexually assaulted, but I recall it being a topic I was warned of for almost as long as I can remember. My mom was sexually abused as a 5-year-old so bodily autonomy and consent were major topics. Plus, my WWII combat veteran grandfather taught me self defense methods.) For 50-ish years I believed that I was equal to biological males, yet SCOTUS told me and millions of others that it’s up to legislators in my state to determine whether I should be an equal. I AM BEYOND FUCKING PISSED!!!! What the fuck right do these assholes have to tell me that I am to be breed stock because I have female reproductive organs? I don’t get to choose my own life trajectory because of organs that I didn’t choose? Or I have to wait for those organs to stop working to be equal? Fuck no.

  3. Avatar

    When I see someone with an abortion or Trump collage like pictured in the truck, am I alone thinking “whoa! Crazy person alert!”?
    It is startling how effective the 50 year siege against abortion rights has been. Even things that have kept down lawsuits against obvious church-state separation issues like IGWT because of “standing” are no problem for this kangaroo supreme court. In a way Trump was the perfect evangelical vessel. Without any agenda or motivation besides self aggrandizement of course he could deliver what is now a voting bloc on the supreme court. Trump laments about losing suburban woman… ya think!?
    It has me wondering if secularists could/should do the same thing? I don’t have 50 years to wait though!

  4. Avatar
    Rand Valentine

    I remember long ago, when I was a young evangelical seeking a more intellectual route, reading with friends in a weekly get-together books by Francis Schaeffer, who presented Christianity in a much more bohemian fashion than our GARB pastor did–he actually wore lederhosen and traipsed around the Alps. I think Schaeffer wrote a book (he wrote many) called something like How Shall We Then Live? in which he made abortion a central issue of the evangelical Christian program of social change. So that would have been the late 70’s or so. I wonder what effect Schaeffer had, since I don’t recall a particularly intellectual faction of evangelicals then or since. Maybe you, Bruce, could write to the social and intellectual impact of Schaeffer at some point, I’d love to get your perspective. I know that Schaeffer’s son Frank has had a place in anti-evangelicalism. When I go back now and look at Francis Schaeffer’s books, or try to, I find them pretty much unreadable and not terribly intellectual. But I think Schaeffer did help many of us young evangelicals take a more historical and rational approach to Christianity, for which I shall ever be grateful. That trend seems absolutely dead now, readers please correct me if I’m wrong. Rational thinking is anathema to Christianity, at least of the evangelical sort.

    • Avatar
      Rand Valentine

      And I’m sure I’ve written about this before on your site, Bruce, but I lack your ability to remember everything you’ve written.

      • Avatar
        Yulya Sevelova

        Wow ! I can hardly believe how the abortion issue has been ramped up ,much less legislated. The L.A. Times last Sunday had a piece on the front page, dealing with women seeking abortion on the sly, and the “abortionist rings” that existed under the radar,versus the Vice Squad Division of the LAPD. This was mostly the 60’s they covered in the article. Detectives ran that division. My mother’s relatives were all caught up in that. I was shown the film of Francis Schaeffer’s ” How Shall We Then Live” while still going to church,years ago. There was something about Schaeffer that creeped me out. I didn’t like him, he had a vibe of severity about him. Years later, his son Frankie wrote that tell- all about his youth in L’ Abris there in Switzerland. His father routinely beat that poor wife of his( who looked exactly like his abusive mother) What that poor woman went through !! She was very sincere in her faith, and it seems this was used against her, by the husband Francis. All the siblings had trauma and addiction issues because of this abuse in the family. So much, for Francis Schaeffer ! I know so many people who wish they WERE aborted. Not even wanting to be adopted out, just aborted. I saw clips from Tik Tok recently, concerning toxic, abusive parents. It’s so heartbreaking what you see, and the kids who comment about their own ordeals at the hands of parents ! I totally get this, as I have felt the same way. I am determined to get the most out of my life,and make my life count, I take pleasure in certain things in life, but I will NEVER be grateful for being forced to be born because of the law ! Just imagine how the abuse rate will skyrocket because of the unwanted kids . Antelope Valley,North of Los Angeles, has had major scandals because of CPS failing the kids. The parents don’t want children, don’t like them, but they have them, keep them for the welfare benefits, the kids get nothing themselves. I’ve seen this firsthand up in Northern California, it’s literally a cottage industry ! Since conservatives want to cut benefits across the board, what will happen to these beleaguered kids then ?? They will have less value than ever. # BabiesForBenefits” is quite interesting to search, if you want to look into it. In L.A. years ago, there was a movement to supply all bars and nightclubs with free contraceptives in the restrooms, but the Catholic Church officials raised such a stink that the proposal died. Same thing with placing contraceptive implants in abusive parents as part of the sentence, like one judge in Fresno did, because all 7 of the kids were severely abused and had to be removed. The woman was given Norplant to prevent more births as part of the parole conditions. And of course, the Catholic Church once again protested, and denounced the judge for his creative idea- which would have spared future victims born to that ” momster” as such people are now called. ” Suffer The Children “podcast appeared on my one one day. Hard to watch,and though the hosts never say abortion as a solution, it’s an obvious case for free , working contraceptive products,and birth control devices and tubal ligation/ vasectomies should indeed be part of sentences for convicted child abusers ! As a survivor, I know this subject very well indeeds !🤨💯

    • Avatar
      MJ Lisbeth

      Rand—It’s funny that a couple of days ago, I was thinking about the book and Schaefer himself for the first time in a long time. I learned about him when I was in a college Evangelical group in the late ‘70/s.

      When I look back, I realize that those of us who were reading Schaefer thought he offered a way for us to reconcile our artistic and intellectual yearnings with the faith we embraced—or, in my case, clutched when I really needed mental health care. Some in our fellowship and the Evangelical church to which I belonged tried to discourage us from Schaefer, whom they thought was just a little too bohemian, as you say.

      I haven’t tried to read Schaefer again, but I wonder whether I’d find him shallow or silly, as I would find C.S. Lewis’ “Mere Christianity” when I re-read it. I am fascinated, however, that his son has come out as anti-Evangelical—and gay.

  5. Avatar

    I remember the 1950s; I started kindergarden that year. IN some ways it was a good time in the USA. My parents were able to buy a house and a car (although the engine used leaded gasoline and a carburator, manual steering and brakes), The post war baby boom includes my younger sister and many cousins. Schools had to go to multiple shifts to accommodate the the enrollments. We had to put up with smallpox, chicken pox, mumps, polio and measles (I remember the sore eyes better than the fever, itchy rash and general malaise. I couldn’t read and it was terminally boring) Smog, smoking and lipstick colored with extracts of coal tar, all toxic, were normal. Sounds more like purgatory than heaven to me!

  6. Avatar
    MJ Lisbeth

    Bruce, like your other letters, this one is on-point.

    The thing to remember about the folks who are fighting for total abortion bans and to end LGBTQ equality are EXTREMISTS. So, by definition, they are people who will not stop when they get what they want. If they get their total abortion ban, they will try to destroy anyone and anything that could,!in even the most peripheral and oblique ways, be adjacent to abortion. And they literally want to erase non-heterosexual, non-cisgender people.

    • Avatar
      Yulya Sevelova

      I must say, that there were some things about that era( 50’s and 60’s) that WERE good and I’d love to see return. And would be affordable food ! Affordable rent, where even a part- time job paid the rent and utilities, and you could save money for down payment on all kinds of things, like a house. And banks were regulated. Consumer protection,that kind of thing. Great food for going out to eat. This lasted until the 70’s came to a close,and I’m sentimental about my freedoms then, that don’t exist today,thanks to authoritarian Neocons. That said, this was the only stuff good about those old days, and I wish THAT part still was with us ! I do suspect that the oppressive trends of that time,however, have led to the resurgence of the bad old days, as far as drawbacks go. It’s truly frightening. The 80’s rapacious, unequal economic conditions, combined with the hypocritical conservatism of that bygone era, is leading us into a Fascistic nation, with technology available to enforce the former in ways Hitler and Stalin could only long for !!💀💀😱😭

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Bruce Gerencser