A North Carolina pastor is ticking conservatives off in a major way, after her decision to volunteer at Planned Parenthood was recently published in a column for Bustle.
African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church Minister Emma Akpan decided to help out at the women’s health organization because her faith taught her to take care of her community. In her column, she spoke of the recent attacks and legislative actions against Planned Parenthood, and why she felt called to serve the community and live the true values of her religion. She wrote:
I can no longer watch as the communities I love are threatened and harmed. As a clinic volunteer and reproductive justice advocate, I know how important clinics are to the women and men who rely on them for quality care and health information — including many Black women.”
Akpan, who is African-American, stated that the services Planned Parenthood offers are particularly important to black women, who are more likely to need an abortion due to circumstances like low-wage jobs and other conditions that stemmed from slavery.
Black women have had very little reproductive choice. During slavery, we were forced into childbirth to produce more chattel. Then, when our bodies were no longer profitable, the medical industry controlled our reproductive choice through forced hysterectomies, coercive birth control, and other methods.”
While many pastors would likely protest abortions themselves, Akpan expressed how much anti-abortion protesters made her furious. In speaking about the protesters that harass women outside of her Planned Parenthood clinic in Raleigh, Akpan said,“[t]hey make it seem as if Black women do not make our own decisions, that we are simply pawns in America’s racist society.”
I am a clinic greeter because of my faith, which teaches me how important it is to provide care for my community. For me, that means ensuring that women have safe access to their health care facilities.”
“White supremacy dictates that we shouldn’t be allowed to get health care, to worship, or even to leave our homes. In every instance, the intention is to intimidate us. These attacks are linked, and so we Black leaders in faith communities must be linked in our response.”
Of course, that isn’t an opinion that most Christian conservatives hold, and Akpan has received quite a bit of criticism for living the true values of her faith. LifeNews.com, an anti-abortion publication, blasted Akpan with this response:
The violence committed every year against unborn babies, especially African American babies, is astronomical. Approximately 363,000 unborn black babies are killed every year in violent abortions in America. And the group doing more abortions than any other is Planned Parenthood, a business grounded in eugenics that pushes the kind of violence and discrimination that Akpan claims to be working against.”
It’s seriously refreshing to see someone like Akpan embracing the true meaning of the Christian faith, instead of using it as an excuse to hate or control others. If we had more Christian leaders like Akpan, the world would be a completely different place.
Featured image via Emma Akpan Facebook