WASHINGTON — The National Abortion Federation (NAF) has announced that its board has appointed Katherine Hancock Ragsdale, a lesbian Episcopal priest, to serve as its president and CEO.
“Abortion providers are some of my personal heroes and modern-day saints,” she said in a statement. “It is an honor to be able to serve and support NAF members as they provide compassionate health care amid increasing attacks and challenges.”
Ragsdale had served as the dean of the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts from 2009 to 2015, and was a priest at St. David’s Episcopal Church in Pepperell until taking the position at the seminary. She was a member of the board of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice for 17 years, and currently sits on the board of NARAL Pro-Choice America.
Ragsdale had served as interim president of NAF since September 2018 and has long been an outspoken supporter of abortion “rights.” NAF noted in its press release, “Ragsdale has preached about how abortion is a blessing and has been active in clinic defense work and other activities to support abortion providers for more than 35 years.”
“Thirty years ago, abortion was seen as a positive advancement — medically, socially, and religiously. … From a religious perspective, abortion enabled women to be responsible stewards of their God-given gifts and talents — to make decisions about how to order their lives so that they could best use those gifts to serve God and the common good,” she co-wrote in an article published by Rewire in 2008.
“But now, after decades of badgering and finger wagging from the purportedly morally superior Right, not only are individual women succumbing to obligatory guilt where once there was relief and gratitude, but even the pro-choice movement has jumped on the bandwagon,” Ragsdale said, opining that certain terminology is harmful to the cause as it “dispar[ages], rather than “rejoic[es] in, abortion.”
Ragsdale asserted during a speech before the Kentucky Reproductive Freedom Fund earlier this year that the Bible says nothing about abortion and that those who point to Psalm 139 — which she twice incorrectly referenced as Psalm 119 — misinterpret the text to be about personhood in the womb.
“The people in the pews, people standing in front of the clinic, some of them may not actually know that the Bible doesn’t say those are people. They may not know that the Bible actually doesn’t say anything about abortion because they’ve been lied to by their leaders, who do know,” she claimed. “They’re lying to manipulate the argument.”
In addition to her abortion advocacy, Ragsdale is openly lesbian, “marrying” another female Episcopal priest, Mally Lloyd, in 2011 at Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Boston. The service was officiated by M. Thomas Shaw, the highest-ranking Episcopal leader in Massachusetts.
“God always rejoices when two people who love each other make a lifelong commitment in marriage to go deeper into the heart of God through each other,” he claimed, according to a report at the time from LGBTQ Nation. “It’s a profound pleasure for me to celebrate with God and my friends Katherine and Mally their marriage today.”
The NAF says that under Ragsdale’s direction, the organization is re-focusing its aim to support of abortion providers, updating its “mission statement” to include the declaration, “NAF unites, represents, serves, and supports abortion providers in delivering patient-centered, evidence-based care.”
Psalm 127:3 says, “Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord, and the fruit of the womb is His reward.” Proverbs 6 similarly teaches that God hates “hands that shed innocent blood.”