Watch Leader Nori Rost’s speech from the March for Reproductive Rights and Abortion Justice at Foley Square on October 2, 2021!
Good afternoon. I’m Dr. Nori Rost and my pronouns are she/hers/ella.
The New York Society for Ethical Culture has been a champion of justice for all for the past 145 years. We believe in Deeds above Creeds. We believe it is incumbent upon each of us to fight for the rights of all us.
And so I want you to know today that I am all for heartbeat legislation.
I am all for legislation that supports the strong heartbeats of every person who is living, breathing today to have agency over their own heartbeats, to have agency over their own bodies. What SB8 in Texas did was to deny the lives of people who are already here, it aborted the futures of ciswomen, nonbinary folks, trans folks in Texas who no longer have the right to make medical decisions about their own bodies.
I want to protect their heartbeats. Their lives.
I am fighting for the heartbeat of JUSTICE, for the pulse of the inherent worth and dignity of all people.
Let me ask you this: how many here have a heartbeat?
I am fighting for you, for your rights, for your own dear, tender heart beating strong.
What is going on in Texas and other conservative states is nothing new. The anti-life, anti-choice, anti-women choir has long been singing a song of oppression, of subjugation, of fear.
It’s a tired tune and it’s not in tune with the reality of millions of people in this nation and around the globe.
Now is the time to lift our voices, to be loud and proud in our support of the people that have abortions and the medical professionals that ensure abortion access.
Now is the time to demand full federal protection under the law for all people seeking abortions and the clinics that provide such a vital service.
We are all here today to speak in power and hope for the reproductive rights of all.
We are here to proclaim we will not give up or shut up or sit down or slow down until we have achieved justice for the rights of all people—cis-gender, non-binary folk, trans folk, queer folk, poor folk, BIPOC communities, all people to have agency over their own bodies.
We are here because we have remembered. We have remembered that we have a choice. We have a choice in how we will respond to injustice, We have a choice in how we will step up, and reach out, and speak out and show up for justice.
So I’m here with you today, the New York Society for Ethical Culture is here with you today to demand protection for the heart beat of the living.
For each of us.
For all of us.
We say to Texas and to other states that might seek to follow in their footsteps that we are an army of lovers marching to the cadence of our hearts beating as one and we will not be stopped.
Dr. Nori Rost is Leader at the New York Society for Ethical Culture on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Prior to her arrival at the Society, she served as the settled minister at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Dr. Rost has been a prominent activist for reproductive freedom since attending her first NARAL event when she was 17. She has served on the National Clergy Advisory Board for Planned Parenthood, and was volunteer chaplain at Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountains (PPRM) in Colorado Springs, CO.
In 2015, when a domestic terrorist attacked the local Planned Parenthood clinic, killing three people, Dr. Rost held a vigil that attracted several hundred people and garnered international media attention, including The New Times, the New York Post, the Guardian, and Al Jazeera. She was also interviewed about the shooting by WNYC.
Dr. Rost also led a group of supporters to PPRM every March 10, National Abortion Provider Appreciation Day, to deliver thank you cards, chocolates, and balloons to the hard-working staff. She was also a featured speaker at the Colorado We are Women Rally in 2012 and served on the planning team for the Colorado Springs Womxn’s March, 2017-2020.
Dr. Rost holds a Master of Divinity from Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colorado and a Doctorate of Ministry from the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. A champion of justice and equity for all, Dr. Rost is the recipient of the Tri-State NAACP Award of Excellence in Religious Affairs and the Indy Legacy Award for her work in the queer community.