Tennessee Pastors Call for Respect, Privacy for Reproductive Health

Advocate Andy

Southern Christian Coalition opposes Tennessee Attorney General's attempt to access personal medical records

A group of pastors affiliated with the Southern Christian Coalition is speaking out about Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti's request to gain access to the medical records of Tennessee citizens seeking reproductive healthcare outside the state.

"All of us, no matter where we live, our race/ethnicity, or our gender identity, are all made in the image of God and we all deserve the freedom to be our full and true selves," said Rev. Josh Scott, Pastor of Gracepoint Church in Nashville. "And everyone deserves the privacy to make our own healthcare decisions without government interference. Yet this Tennessee Supermajority, Governor Lee, and Attorney General Skrmetti have taken this freedom from us. Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti's attempt to access our out-of-state medical records is not only scary for privacy reasons, but it is deeply immoral and problematic for ethical reasons. And for those of us whose religious beliefs lead us to firmly affirm and support the LGBTQ+ community's right to gender-affirming care, and women's right to bodily autonomy, it threatens our religious freedom as well."

Representatives of the Southern Christian Coalition said Skrmetti's actions threaten personal privacy and demonstrate a lack of respect for individual medical decisions.

"One thing I value about America is that our constitution values our freedom to be ourselves and make our own private healthcare decision, which is why I'm so upset, confused, and angered by Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skermetti's attempt to retrieve Tennesseans' private medical records from other states," said Rev. Ann Bassett, Pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. "This is another targeted attack on privacy and the bodily autonomy of both women and our transgender community members. Just like all movements for equality that have come before, certain politicians and leaders are trying to get and hold on to power by taking advantage of unfamiliarity with transgender people and reproductive healthcare to punish people from pursuing necessary medical care in other states. Whenever a powerful few have tried to pick and choose who counts, there have always been those of us who showed up for each other and built welcoming and safe communities. Now it’s our time to show up, reject division, and demand privacy and bodily autonomy for all Tennesseans no matter our gender."

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Andy Spears is a middle Tennessee writer and policy advocate. He reports on news around public policy issues - education, health care, consumer protection, and more.

Nashville, TN

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