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Chelsen Vicari serves as the Evangelical Program Director for the Institute on Religion and Democracy.
Wild Goose Festival, an annual open-air gathering of progressive Christians, is known for its bizarre antics. Drag shows, "Cosmic Mass," and reconciliation yoga. Having been once before, I thought I knew what to expect from Religious Left organizers. But truthfully I was not prepared for the brazen pro-abortion session facilitated by two Planned Parenthood workers.
July - Festival - Sessions - Tents - Campground
Meeting July 12-15, the festival was composed of various hour-long sessions hosted under tents scattered throughout a campground in Hot Springs, North Carolina. On Saturday afternoon I attended the session provocatively titled, "Reproductive Justice is_______: Moving Beyond the Pro-Choice/Pro-Life Binary." I expected to hear the "consistent life" message of advocating for human dignity from "womb to tomb." It turned out to be an hour-long pro-abortion gathering.
I anticipated trouble as soon as two of the three speakers arrived wearing Planned Parenthood of Memphis t-shirts that read, "Trust Women." Panelists Mary Button and Rachel Ankney work as Planned Parenthood abortion doulas trained to offer women "support" during and after their abortions.
Ankney - Session - Individual - Woman - Abortion
Ankney began the session by sharing that she is a non-cisgender individual (meaning she does not identify as a woman nor is transgender) who has also had an abortion. For her (their?) presentation, Ankney expressed frustration with abortion labeled as a woman's issue. "When we police the space as a women's only space we leave a lot of people out of the conversation," she said. "And I'm one of those people who sometimes gets left out."
Button identified herself as a pro-choice progressive Christian. She used her time to explain why she no longer uses the phrase "all abortion is a tragedy." Thanks to her employment at Planned Parenthood, she has learned "for a lot of people an abortion is a life-saving thing."
Interestingly, Button is...
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