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“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” — Luke 23:42

Advocacy Committee for Women's Concerns
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Courtney Hoekstra
(800) 728-7228, x5293
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100 Witherspoon Street
Louisville, KY 40202

ACWC Responds to Murders of Transgender Women

The Advocacy Committee for Women’s Concerns recognizes that the binaries of “men” and “women” do not fully reflect the gender identities of all God’s people. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has declared in the Book of Order that, “there is no place in the life of the Church for discrimination against any person.” Our advocacy for women includes all those who identify as women and those whose lives are affected by discrimination connected to their gender. The transgender community is one such community.

While transgender persons have been in the media lately due to Caitlyn Jenner and Raffi Freedman-Gurspan, the murder of transgender women, particularly transgender women of color, has mostly been met with silence. While we know of eighteen murders of trans-women so far this year, we also recognize that many murders of transwomen may not be documented as such. In several instances, those closest to these women were left with no answers for long periods of time because the reports misgendered the victims by not using the pronouns and names that they identified with and were known by.

The Advocacy Committee for Women’s Concerns stands with those who grieve these lost lives and seeks justice for the hate crimes committed against these persons. We also implore the media and police to accurately and faithfully report the violence against trans-persons, so that we can respond and better support the trans-community. Further, we challenge the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to be vocal on behalf of those experiencing gender-based discrimination to the point of forcing them to live in fear for their very lives. The 221st General Assembly (2014) spoke boldly to the denomination on the global crisis faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, encouraging prayer, the creation of resources for study and action, and the provision of sanctuary, safety, and support. For transgender people, that global crisis of hatred is very real here in the United States as well as around the world.

We decry violence of any kind but are particularly troubled when women are specifically targeted for their gender identity and when women of color are disproportionately represented in those who are victim of this type of violence. 1 John 4 proclaims that “God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them,” (vs 16) and that, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear” (vs 18). At the root of our violence is fear. Transphobia is a sin. We confess our sins and the sins of our culture. We hope and commit to work for a day when no person may be the victim of hate and violence. We invite the PC(USA) to commit with us.

ACWC Responds to Attacks on Planned Parenthood

The Advocacy Committee for Women’s Concerns (ACWC) of the Presbyterian Church (USA) is committed to maintaining a prophetic voice on behalf of women.  As people of faith, committed to justice, we are troubled by the recent attacks and harassment of Planned Parenthood and the continued assaults on the reproductive wellbeing and healthcare for women.  Jesus said, "Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me" (Matthew 25:40).  Jesus implores us to care for the marginalized and oppressed.

We believe that all women have a right to quality and affordable health care.  Planned Parenthood’s health centers have consistently provided quality, affordable health care in a safe and caring environment.  Close to 3 million women receive healthcare from Planned Parenthood each year.  Among the critical women’s and family health that they provide annually include: preventive healthcare, birth control, 500,000 potential life-saving mammograms, and 400,000 pap smears.  In fact, one in five women turns to Planned Parenthood at some time in her life for professional, non-judgmental, and confidential care.

Although only three percent of Planned Parenthood’s healthcare services include abortions, consistent with the policy of the Presbyterian Church (USA), ACWC believes that the decision for a woman to terminate an unwanted or unhealthy pregnancy is an issue that is deeply layered and complex.  Women, with their healthcare providers, are the only persons informed and equipped to make the best decisions about their bodies, their health and wellbeing, as well as that of their family’s.1

ACWC stands with women who have a right to women’s healthcare services and we stand with Planned Parenthood as a vital provider of those services.

1For more on the specifics of PC(USA) policy, see When You Need Wisdom, Problem Pregnancy Resource produced by the Office of Gender and Racial Justice, Racial Ethnic and Women’s Ministries/Presbyterian Women, 2010. (pp. 7-10). Available free here

Read articles featuring ACWC
in the latest edition of Unbound

Orange Days: Say No—End Violence Against Women and Girls

Along with the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations, ACWC is observing Orange Days to work toward a world without violence against women. Find out how you can participate, too!