05/08/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Reproductive Rights and the Divine Feminine

Already impatient with the slow pace of health care reform, many women are now furious that conservatives in Washington have once more made women's reproductive rights a pawn in their power game. Why don't they come right out and say it: being female is a pre-existing condition, one that won't be guaranteed coverage at all if they have their way.

To those of us for whom the Divine Feminine is an important part of our religious life, the conservative, evangelical "pro-lifers" are not just attacking our rights to safe, legal, accessible abortion and contraception, they are making a mockery of the very concept of "life" itself.

All things have a spirit, and consciousness does not end at death. Our bodies return to the Earth, while our spirits move on in ways we may not understand -- gone, but still existing as consciousness. Life and death are in constant balance, and nothing is wasted as life changes form.

Women's bodies in particular are seen as reflections of the life-giving and transformative powers of the Divine Feminine. Becoming a woman involves learning how to take care of our bodies and control our fertility, how to say yes to new life if we want a family, and say no if we must terminate a pregnancy. It is a sacred trust, not to be taken lightly, but it is ours to choose and to live with (and hopefully we have a responsible partner who makes this easier, not more difficult).

Emma Restall-Orr, in her book Living With Honour, says that:

Pagan about being fully awake and present, and thus capable of responding to the Other -- human or non-human -- with immediate relevance and reverence.

The necessity of personal reponsibility and choice... is integral to honour.

I counsel my students and clients that if they choose to abort, they should have a good reason. They may need to sustain their existing family on already limited resources rather than bringing in yet another mouth to feed. They may have other things they really want to do: finish college, achieve a professional goal, devote themselves to a cause.

Whatever the reason for the abortion, the pact we make when we end one life is to sustain another, and that means following through with whatever our goal is. It is a matter of honoring the life that was sacrificed, and acting with integrity.

The language of the Stupak amendment would make it virtually impossible for honorable women in this country to exercise their choice and responsibility for life. This is not only an affront to our intelligence and our lives as women, it is an attempt by one small segment of the religious population in this country to force their ethics and morality on the rest of us.

The evangelical Christians of this country are not the only ones entitled to religious indignation. All of us who value the Sacred, particularly those belonging to minority religions, are obligated to speak up and make sure that our rights to live by our ethics and worship as we please are protected, not just for us but for generations to come.