Last updated on: 5/23/2014 | Author:

Donna Schaper, DMin Biography

Senior Minister of Judson Memorial Church (New York, NY)
Pro to the question "Should Abortion Be Legal?"

“Women are moral agents. Women are capable of making soulful, moral decisions about their own bodies. Assuming that a woman cannot decide for herself if and when to bear a child demeans women. Mandatory childbearing makes the woman a hostage to the will of others — those unfamiliar with her story, her life experience and her needs, and may have disastrous consequences for the children. Medical choices, like terminating a pregnancy, are medically available. Other life sustaining medical procedures are not considered immoral. Why the complaint against abortion?

Our faith tradition teaches soul competency, a Baptist principle that is violated in restricting the right to choose an abortion. Our forebears suffered greatly, even to the point of death, to express their conviction that no one stands between the individual and God…

As Christians, as Baptists, we wearily say, the right to choose a medical procedure is also a woman’s right. It has to do fundamentally with the freedom of our souls to practice our religion and morality in our own ways.”

“Most Women under 40 Haven’t Heard the Pro-Choice Moral Argument,”, Dec. 4, 2013

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Senior Minister, Judson Memorial Church (New York, NY), 2005-present
  • Congregation/Nonprofit Consultant, Bricks Without Straw Consultation Service
  • Instructor, “Parish Ministry in the 21st Century,” Union Theological Seminary
  • Blogger, Huffington Post
  • Preacher and Teacher in Residence, Stanford University, 2011
  • Executive Director, Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts, 2004
  • Fund Raising Consultant, Still Speaking Initiative, The United Church of Christ, 2004
  • Senior Pastor, Coral Gables Congregational Church (Coral Gables, FL), 2000-2004
  • Associate Conference Minister, Western Area Massachusetts Conference, 1993-2000
  • Pastor, First Congregational Church (Riverhead, NY), 1987-1993
  • Executive Director, The Urban Academy in Chicago, 1983-1987
  • Pastor, First Congregational Church (Amherst, MA), 1980-1983
  • Associate Chaplain, Yale University, 1976-1980
  • Urban Minister, Tabernacle Church (Philadelphia, PA), 1974-1976
  • Associate Pastor, First Congregational Church (Tucson, AZ), 1972-1974
  • DMin, Hartford Seminary, 2000
  • MDiv, Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, 1973
  • MA, University of Chicago Divinity School, 1971
  • BA, Gettysburg College, 1969
  • Married to Warren Goldstein, PhD, Chair of the History Department at the University of Hartford
  • Has three children: Isaac Luria, Katie, and Jacob
  • Founder and President, New Sanctuary Movement (New York, NY), 2006-present
  • Member, Board of Corporators, Hartford Seminary
  • Recipient, Lilly Endowment, Clergy Renewal Grant for Sabbatical, 2011
  • Recipient, Union Square Award (for Founding New Sanctuary Movement), 2011
  • Recipient, Honorary Degree, Gettysburg College, 2009
  • Chair, Interfaith Clergy, National Conference of Christians & Jews, 2002–2004
  • Recipient, Hartford Seminary Significant Ministry Award, 2004
  • Recipient, Free Speech Award, People for the American Way, 2004
  • Member, Board of Directors, United Church of Christ, Florida Conference, 2003
  • Recipient, Garden Golden Globe Writing Award, 2003
  • Recipient, American College of Preachers Award, 2000
  • Recipient, Sonoma County Writer’s Award,1995
  • “[Schaper] has continued Judson’s legacy as a haven for women who insist on the right to choose an abortion and opened the building to countless groups, including Hudson River Clearwater, Domestic Workers and Sex workers organizations, while maintaining its work on harm reduction kits, support for GLBTQ people and especially for homeless gay youth.”
    “Senior Minister Donna Schaper,” (accessed May. 5, 2014)
Quoted in:
Pro & Con Quotes: Should Abortion Be Legal?