In 2016, Kaeley McEvoy was a student at New York’s Union Theological Seminary and a ministry intern at Judson Memorial Church in Washington Square. She hadn’t expected to get pregnant; a long-acting contraceptive implant was supposed to have prevented it. But the pink line on the plastic test strip didn’t lie.
The Cathedral of St. John the Divine is the mother church of the Episcopal Diocese of New York and the largest church building in the United States. Kaeley and her boyfriend made their way there, to the Chapel of St. Saviour, where hangs a bronze sculpture called Christa: a female nude figure nailed to a cross. They prayed there, this unexpectedly pregnant couple with heads bowed before the Christ that was not Christ; then her boyfriend left her alone and stationed himself at the door. While she called a doctor’s office to arrange an abortion, the boyfriend turned away all would-be intruders: “This is a holy place. Something holy is happening, and you can’t come in here right now.”