The senior pastor of Oak Lawn United Methodist Church fully expects the matter to go to court.
TEXAS, USA – Rather than wanting to restrict abortion on religious grounds, a group of ministers recently began arguing to the contrary.
They say that Texas abortion laws actually violate their freedom of religion.
Four North Texas ministers recently sent a letter to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, essentially warning him that legal action might follow.
Senior Pastor Rachel Baughman of Oak Lawn United Methodist Church is one of them. And she wants to send Austin a specific message.
“Honestly, I hope it sends a counter-narrative to the stubborn narrative of Christian nationalism,” she said InsideTexas Politics. “That, alternatively, I represent a mainline denomination. We represent hundreds of thousands of people. And I’m really just trying to stand up and protect our rights and our ability to have honest conversations and dialogue with our community members about things that matter.”
Baughman says SB 8, also known as the heartbeat bill, instills fear in any clergyman or others who offer counseling, guidance or even talks with pregnant women.
And she says that’s because they fear that if they advise that person to have an abortion, they could be viewed as “aiding and abetting,” which could expose them to criminal prosecution.
“In my practice of counseling and offering guidance regarding religious guidance and guidance on what the church says and what we consider to be important social principles in our way of life as Christian people, my understanding is that SB 8 would burden me The ability to do so would even call into question the possibility that I would be prosecuted for it, even on life-versus-life matters,” Baughman told us.
And this life-versus-life argument is important because the Methodist Church recognizes the sanctity of a mother’s life as much as that of an unborn child. So they argue that any decision involving life versus life must be made at an individual level, but the law prevents that.
While this effort began with a letter to the Attorney General, Pastor Baughman fully expects a court case to begin.
“I don’t think it’s possible that this doesn’t end up in Texas courts,” she said.