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40 Days of Ritual to Keep Abortion Legal

Here in the Deep South, it's been a rough few months for women's health. The passage of a draconian anti-abortion law -- despite the courageous efforts of Texas State Senator Wendy Davis and her allies -- has led to the closing of several women's health clinics, and will lead to the closing of many more. In Arkansas, one of the most restrictive abortion bills in the country was signed over the summer, banning the procedure in most instances later than 6 weeks. At no other time in American history since Roe v. Wade have women's reproductive rights been so under attack.

A large portion of the work I do as a Feminist Witch centers on securing social justice for women, including the right to bodily autonomy and self-determination. I see my pro-choice politics as a logical extension of my spirituality. Part of what draws me to Feminist Craft is the idea of empowerment through ritual and magick, and my feminist politics hold that we can never be truly empowered until we have control over our fertility -- from having the ability to prevent or terminate a pregnancy, up to and including the ability to make our own choices about how, when and whether we will birth and raise children. Although I am committedly child-free, I am passionate about reproductive justice for all -- not just choice but justice in terms of access to resources that allow us to make choices.

October marks an annual campaign called 40 Days of Prayer to End Abortion, led by many conservative Christian groups. These groups hold prayer circles in their homes and outside women's health clinics and pray for an end to abortion. Pro-choice Christian groups have formed a counter campaign, 40 Days of Prayer to Keep Abortion Legal. Given the number of pro-choice Pagans out there, I have launched my own event this year: 40 Days of Ritual to Keep Abortion Legal.

This campaign is exactly what it sounds like. For 40 days, I am inviting Pagans of all paths to engage in whatever spellwork, ritual, or spiritual work they choose, with a focus on keeping abortion and reproductive health care safe and legal for all. You may work in groups or alone. You may choose to do the same ritual every night, or engage in different workings. You may do full-blown ritual, a simple candle spell, or dedicate your meditation practice to the cause of reproductive justice for the next 40 days. There is no wrong way to participate -- the goal is to have as much energy flowing toward the goal of safe and legal access to abortion and other reproductive health care as possible. There's no need to curse or work against those who are behind laws like Texas' and Arkansas', or to direct negativity at protestors, as tempting as that may sometimes be! Instead, our goal should be to offer protection for those seeking reproductive health care and protection of the right of access to that care more broadly.

If you'd like to join in 40 Days of Ritual to Keep Abortion Legal, there's nothing official you need to do -- just engage in the work. I'd love it if you'd comment here telling me you're in! You can also join our (very new) Facebook page -- share pictures of your altars, descriptions of your rituals, and just connect with others to build the energy.

40 Days of Ritual to Keep Abortion Legal runs from October 7-November 16. It's perfectly fine if you can't participate all 40 days -- any energy towards the cause of reproductive justice is welcomed!

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Susan Harper is an eclectic solitary Feminist Witch from Irving, Texas. She is a professor of Anthropology, Sociology, and Women's Studies, with a focus on gender, religion, and sexuality. She is also an activist, community educator, and writer. When she's not making magick or fomenting social change, Susan is the head soapmaker, herbalist, and aromatherapist for Dreaming Priestess Creations. She shares her life with her partner, Stephanie, five cats, and two guinea pigs.

Comments

  • Paola Suarez
    Paola Suarez Monday, 14 October 2013

    I support your work! I have liked your page as my own page "Goddess Spiral Health Coaching" and also made a post today to share about this. Hope the word spreads sister! :)

  • Susan Harper
    Susan Harper Wednesday, 23 October 2013

    Thank you, Paola.

    Jia, I think that's a question that each person who considers terminating a pregnancy has to consider for themselves. The morality of abortion is a contentious issue, and not one I'm going to debate here. My pro-choice activism is about access to healthcare for those who need it. I don't get to judge whether they are making the right choice, or lay my spiritual understandings of the soul or the beginning of life on those choices. People terminate pregnancies for any number of reasons, and I think that should be an option for those who decide it is the best choice. And I don't live their lives, so I don't get to judge whether that choice is best or not. I also support the right of someone not to terminate a pregnancy that they wish to carry to term.

    My interest is in women having a full range of reproductive options. I'll leave the questions of morality and ensoulment to the theologians, of which I am not one.

  • Paola Suarez
    Paola Suarez Thursday, 24 October 2013

    Since it seems that Jia has confused us when commenting I wanted to take a moment to applaud your response Susan. It's sad to me that even in Paganism you have those who do not honor women in making their own choices. Your response is concise and to the point. Thank you again Susan!

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