The ordination vows of the Episcopal Church provide a moral mandate for helping minors procure abortions, the dean of the Episcopal Divinity School told Congress last week.
Appearing as a witness called by the Democrat members of the U.S. House Judiciary subcommittee on the Constitution, Dr. Katharine Hancock Ragsdale shared an account of her having taking a 15 year old girl to an abortionist without informing the girl’s parent’s.
Her remarks came as Congress debated the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act (H.R. 2299). The proposed bill would criminalize attempts to “circumvent parental consent laws in a state by, without the parents’ knowledge, taking a minor girl across state lines for an abortion.”
While “New Hampshire was closer to that girl’s home than Boston, as it happened, I did not take her across state lines,” Dr. Ragsdale said, adding “Nor did I, to my knowledge, break any laws.”
But “if either of those things had been necessary in order to help her, I would have done them,” she said.
“If helping young women like her should be made illegal I will, nonetheless, continue to do it,” Dr. Ragsdale said, citing the promises made at her ordination as leaving her “no choice” but to break the law to help young girls procure abortions.
The vocal activist for gay rights and abortion views have elicited criticism. In a 2007 speech given in Birmingham, Ala., Dr. Ragsdale stated that abortion was a “blessing” for women.
Abortions prompted by rape, poverty, disabilities were blessings to a mother, the dean said, as was personal convenience. “When a woman simply gets pregnant unintentionally and decides this is not a good time for her to bear and care for a child – there is no tragedy. The ability to enjoy healthy sexuality without risking a pregnancy that could derail her education or career, the development or exercise of the gifts God has given her, is a blessing.”
In response to her, committee chairman, Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) said the position taken by Dr. Ragsdale “just astonishes me beyond comprehension.” The congressman said he hoped his three year old daughter would “never run into someone with the philosophy of Rev. Ragsdale.”
The dean’s testimony was “appalling,” wrote the prominent American Catholic blogger Fr. John Zuhlsdorf. “It is hard to wrap my mind around this evil thinking.”