Discussion Guide

To Offer Compassion book discussion guide. We welcome your suggestions!

1. Many of the ministers and rabbis who founded chapters of the Clergy Consultation Service on Abortion had been active in the civil rights movement and antiwar protest–in fact, they often recruited new clergy members through those contacts. What did the three movements have in common, and how were they different?

2. After some discussion, the group decided to use the loaded word “abortion” in their name and to operate as openly as possible. Some chapters outside of New York used the term “problem pregnancy” or were much less public. What were the pros and cons? What would you have decided?

3. Very few women were ordained clergy in 1967. Discuss the role of women, ordained or not, in the CCS. Do you agree that the group as a whole was feminist?

4. Until at least the late 1960s, making abortion legal was mainly framed as the right of physicians to practice as they saw fit. How have the arguments for abortion rights changed over the years since then?

5. How was abortion access in the 1960s different for rich and poor women? How is it different today?

6. If abortion laws change, would the CCS be needed again?  If so, would it be different? What difference would the evolution of medical technology and the internet make? What difference might the increase in the number of physicians who are women–including women of color–make?