UUSF WOMEN’S GROUP MEETING JAN. 15
It was voted unanimously at the last UUSF Women’s Group meeting on Sat., Jan. 15, to change the name of its steering committee to “Facilitator Committee, “so as to clarify that this group would organize and assure that needed tasks are shared, but that its purpose should not be one of making decisions on behalf of the group.
Those present also agreed unanimously that those who serve on the Facilitator Committee should commit to at least 6 months but also that they could serve for an indefinite period. Lori Lai and Robin Larsen are already serving in this capacity, during the meeting Julia Wald volunteered to serve, and generally everyone hoped the group’s numbers will further expand.
Duties for the Facilitator Committee will be further reviewed and explored in future meetings. Creating a UUSF Women’s Group mission statement was suggested, as was the need to recruit more younger women, also that Margaret Atwood’s concept of ustopia might be of help in this process.
Generous donations to SACReD (Spiritual Alliance of Communities for Reproductive Dignity) have enabled UUSF to become one of SACReD’s sponsors at its initial virtual conference, Jan. 25 and 26. At the time of the meeting, a $500 donation from the minister’s discretionary fund put the church at the gold sponsorship level; another $500 donation would entitle the church to a platinum sponsorship level with the privilege of inviting 10 interested participants. Anyone still interested in donating can make out a check to UUSF and mailed it it to UUSF, 1187 Franklin St., S.F., 94109 by tshe following Tues., Jan. 18, also email Laura Ludwig (email@example.com) it is on its way. Carlowe Connelly volunteered to write an article re SACReD and send it the following: Linda Harris, who noted that many UUSF members have supporting women’s reproductive rights for some time; Bruce Neuberger of UUSF HRWG; Joe Chapot of Young Adult Group, Marty Vanderlaan of the Men’s Group; and Rolene Walker of the Quaker group. As of the meeting, Rolene, Julia, Lori, Elaine and Linda planned to attend the SACReD conference. Individuals could register https://justtx.org/sacred/
The next issue to be discussed was the UUSF Forum’s offer to the Women’s Group to host one forum per quarter that would inform others what the group was going, by means of either a guest speaker or some of its own members. SACReD’s co-founder Daniel C. Kantor has volunteered to speak at the group’s first of such forums, along with a woman lawyer among his associates.
Next to be covered was whether UUSF should become a designated Reproductive Freedom Congregation. This process, which is described at https://justtx.org/rfc/, calls upon the congregation to affirm publicly to: trust and respect women; to promise that those who attend our congregation will be free from stigma, shame and judgement regarding reproductive decisions, including abortion; and to believe access to comprehensive and affordable reproductive health services is a moral and social good. Those present, who included Lori Lai, Elaine Pratt, Merle Easton, Rolene Walker, Sue Anthony, Carlowe Connelly, Nancy Noah-Bear, Julia Wald, and Linda Harris, agreed that this process will involve educating the congregation as well as voting upon the principles in a congregational meeting.
The group’s ongoing aim to support those already active in the reproductive justice movement, either as health care professionals or as volunteers assisting women actively seeking abortions, was next to be discussed. Questions arose as to whether the church could face legal jeopardy during this period while the new Texas law faces Supreme Court review. It was decided to consult with the church’s legal advisors before the Women’s Group actively supports organizations that arrange or provide abortions. As Carlowe pointed out, a church like UUSF can be seen as financially able to afford helping people trying to take advantage of the Texas law.
The last item of business was a church reproductive rights banner, which cannot be hung until the repointing of the church’s exterior walls is finished. This project has been in part financially and professionally supported by member Merle Easton, and this bit of news sparked a round of applause. Margaret Levitt stressed how an exterior banner would make the church’s reproductive rights support more visible. Rolene Walker, a retired creative director and artist, volunteered to assist with the banner’s design. Elaine Pratt promised to contact Planned Parenthood on the legality issues regarding the banner’s wording.