Let’s take a look at the prayers themselves—after all, for a group claiming to be the spiritual and ethical defenders of choice, they would not mind a little scrutiny on the things they pray for. It might well turn out that there could be common ground, or something that plays into pro-life philosophy.
40 Days of Prayer Supporting Women Everywhere Written by Faith Aloud
Day 1: Today we pray for women for whom pregnancy is not good news, that they know they have choices.
It is true that for many women, pregnancy may not be good news. But does that mean that all choices are morally equal? Does it mean that because their own situation may be worse than others,’ that that entitles them to abortion? This question is not answered.
Day 2: Today we pray for compassionate religious voices to speak out for the dignity and autonomy of women.
This is the first of many prayers that, if taken to their logical conclusion, show that pro-abortion rhetoric denies the reality of the humanity and life of the unborn. Pro-lifers do show compassion, to all women—including those who aren’t yet born. Biologically speaking, the unborn is an autonomous being, and is not part of the mother—therefore, she is entitled to the dignity and autonomy of life. The dignity and autonomy of about twenty-six million women have been denied by the tragedy of abortion.
Day 3: Today we pray for our daughters and granddaughters, that they will always know the power of making their own good decisions.
What goes into making a good decision? This prayer isn’t necessarily a bad one—but it’s one that pro-lifers can gain a lot of ground on. When things like moral neutrality, the incontrovertible facts of biology and philosophy (and also, the pro-life passages of Scripture) are taken into account, the good decision looks an awful lot like “Abortion is wrong.”
Day 4: Today we give thanks for the doctors who provide quality abortion care, and pray that they may be kept safe.
“Quality abortion care” is an oxymoron, since the subject of abortion almost never survives. (Gianna Jensen, and a rare few others, are the exceptions to the morbid rule.) Considering the sheer number of abortion doctors in the news recently for malpractice, code violations, and murder charges, this prayer is an uphill battle.
Day 5: Today we pray for medical students who want to include abortion care in their practice. May they receive good training and find good mentors.
This is also an uphill battle—there’s a known shortfall of up-and-coming abortion doctors. The average pro-lifer is quite young, while the pro-abortion advocate is of the Roe vs. Wade generation. This is going to impact how abortions are offered in the United States—and not the least because more and more people are seeing abortion for what it is: the taking of an innocent human life.
Day 6: Today we ask for blessings upon the women who pass through hostile protesters on their way into an abortion clinic. May they be shielded from physical and emotional harm from those who do not know them.
I don’t like hostile protesters—and I’ve seen them, much too often. They make the job of those like myself—who stand and pray, or offer them a choice, or information—far more difficult. But praying for protection against emotional harm? This makes me think that this person has never been around an active abortion clinic—protesters or not, it is far from a tranquil place. Not that harm, physical or emotional, is something that should be prayed for; but there is a reason that abortion is a seriously emotional topic: there is something within human nature that is seriously harmed, emotionally, by the act of abortion. This is little more than the effect of natural law, not the result of others.
Day 7: Today we pray for the 45 million American women who have had safe, legal abortions. May they stand tall and refuse shame.
How many of those women regret their abortions? Ever heard of Silent No More? How many of them were coerced into having abortions? That number may be quite high. Also, I think our Roman Catholic friends might be praying for the 53 million who have died due to abortion—they will never get to stand tall and refuse shame.
Day 8: Today we pray for elected officials, that they may always support a woman’s right to make her own medical decisions.
Again, this is one of those prayers that play right into the pro-life philosophy. A woman does have the right to make her own medical decisions, but when those rights infringe upon the rights of others, regardless of size, location, degree of dependency, or degree of development, no one has that choice. This goes part and parcel with the contention that abortion is not morally equivalent to its alternatives.
Day 9: Today we pray for women who are afraid of their lovers. May they find the confidence to turn away from abuse and take care of themselves.
This is a very serious thing. If the statistics tell the truth, the vast majority—nearly two-thirds—of abortions in the United States are the result of coercion. (http://www.theunchoice.com/pdf/FactSheets/TopTenReasonsAbortionistheUnchoice.pdf) This is also something that abortion cannot fix. This is one of the things that we, as a society, are going to have to come to grips with—and perhaps sooner than later.
Day 10: Today we pray for women who were joyfully expecting a child, but have learned that the pregnancy is not sustainable.
This language is deceptive—eventually every pregnancy becomes unsustainable. The child, on the other hand, may have a condition that will lead to sickness or death. But an unborn child is not a pregnancy. Pregnancy is the condition of the mother, not the child. What would have been the consequences for this list of prayers had this one read “We pray for women who were joyfully expecting a child but have learned that that child faces sickness or death?”
Day 11: Today we pray for better access to all forms of birth control.
Except abstinence, which we know never works. Except that it’s a logical certainty that if it is practiced, it will work. Unlike all other forms of birth control. Speaking of which, birth control was correlated with the skyrocketing numbers of teen pregnancy from the 1960s onwards, which makes me wonder: exactly what kind of birth control is missing? Shouldn’t the piles of birth control already available be doing the job?
Day 12: Today we pray that women know the power of their own stories. May they find their voices and tell their truths.
There is no such thing as “their truths”—there is only the truth, objective truth, that we either have to accept or deny. It simply cannot be the case that something can be “true for you, but not for me”—otherwise, there would be no reason to criticize the work of those who argue against abortion. This prayer simply shoots itself in the foot.
Besides, whenever women know the power of their stories, and tell the truth, it winds up exposing how bad abortion really is for women and the children whose lives are lost.
Day 13: Today we pray for the men in our lives, that they may offer their loving kindness and support for women’s difficult decisions.
Day 14: Today we pray for Christians everywhere to embrace the loving model of Jesus in the way he refused to shame women.
Agreed. Which is why I sign a code of conduct whenever I go out for our 40 Days for Life campaigns. In Jesus was grace and truth, in equal measure, and pleading with women to make the moral choice—to not abort, and that there is forgiveness and mercy—is very Christlike. To deny the humanity of the unborn, and refuse to answer the best criticisms of pro-abortion rhetoric, and to advocate death–is not.
Day 15: Today we pray for parents whose teen daughters are pregnant. May they help their daughters through this difficult time with kindness and openness.
Agreed. But there is more that will have to be done on this front—up to and including a fresh look at what it means to be human, and to be sexual beings, and what life is, and what life is for. Then, and only then, can true kindness and openness flourish. And that leads to birth, not abortion.
Day 16: Today we pray for the counselors in abortion clinics that they may listen with their hearts and offer wise guidance.
I would rather they see with their eyes the truth of the matter: that the unborn are human, and that as members of the human family they are the subjects of inalienable human rights that are not granted on accidental properties, like size, location, or degree of development, but on the essential property of being a human being. Wise guidance takes that into account.
Day 17: Today we pray for increased financial support for low income women to access contraception, abortion, and childcare.
This is really quite ironic, because no small number of Evangelicals voted for Obama in 2008 because he promised he would tackle the root causes that underlie the needs for abortion. I have a better prayer: that we, as a society, would recognize what the unborn really are, what abortion really is, and that we need to seriously re-evaluate how we relate as communities and how we take care of one another, in light of sound philosophy, science, and theology that all strongly confirm the pro-life position.
Day 18: Today we pray for all the staff at abortion clinics around the nation. May they be daily confirmed in the sacred care that they offer women.
This ‘care’ is anything other than sacred. But that raises one interesting question—namely, a sort of Euthyphro dilemma. In an era when we are the masters of our lives, I ask: is abortion pious because we deem it so, or do we deem abortion pious because it is a pious act? And since we disagree on whether or not it is a pious, or sacred, act, how can we adjudicate between our competing truth claims?
By the way, those of us who participate in 40 Days for Life routinely pray for the staff of abortion clinics, that their eyes be opened to the truth in front of them: that abortion is immoral.
Day 19: Today we pray for all pregnant women. May they be surrounded by loving voices.
Agreed. And loving voices don’t morally equate abortion to its alternatives.
Day 20: Today we pray for the families of yesteryear who still mourn the loss of their mothers, sisters, and aunts due to illegal abortion.
Considering that around 90% of illegal abortions prior to Roe were done by licensed doctors in their own offices, that winds up being a small number of deaths—much smaller than alleged during Roe hearings. Nevertheless, death by illegal abortion is a tragedy because two lives are lost instead of just one.
Day 21: Today we pray for women in developing nations, that they may know the power of self-determination. May they have access to employment, education, birth control, and abortion.
If abortion is morally equivalent to its alternatives, or if the unborn are not fully human, then and only then can that be a good thing.
Day 22: Today we pray for an end to all violence against abortion providers.
Agreed. Violence against abortion providers is a crime and a sin—we are not to do evil that good may result. We oppose violence against abortion providers for the same reason we oppose abortion.
Day 23: Today we give thanks for the strong women in our lives who have given us examples of good decision-making.
Agreed. And good decision-making involves all the facts. Unfortunately, they are not presented by Faith Aloud.
Day 24: Today we pray for an end to hateful language that diminishes the dignity of women.
Like, “it’s just a clump of cells,” or “it’s just a blob of tissue?” Or “This is not a wanted child?”
Day 25: Today we pray for women who have been made afraid of their own power by their religion. May they learn to reject fear and live bravely.
I am really not sure what this would look like, except perhaps in Islam. But I really doubt that’s what you had in mind. I mean, really…have you ever met the gals that go out for 40 Days for Life? They are anything but afraid of their own power.
Day 26: Today we give thanks for the intelligence, talent, wit, and wisdom of all the women and girls in our lives.
Agreed—very much so. But I might also ask, why don’t we see more prayers for men? After all, all pregnancies but one required one male and one female. And arguments don’t have a gender.
Day 27: Today we give thanks for abortion providers around the nation whose concern for women is the driving force in their lives.
As long as we ignore all the ones that keep getting arrested for serious health code violations, malpractice, and manslaughter/murder charges. There’s a reason so many abortion clinics have been shut down in the last few years: and it’s not due to the overwhelming concern that providers have for women. It is due to their overwhelming disdain and negligence of women.
Day 28: Today we pray for the women who travel hundreds of miles to get an abortion. May their determination be rewarded with spiritual strength.
Interestingly, I’ve seen this happen myself: a couple drove well over a hundred miles for a scheduled abortion on the day that my church just happened to be out praying in front of one of our local abortion clinics, and this couple’s determination was rewarded with spiritual strength when they made the right choice to cancel the appointment and keep their child.
Day 29: Today we pray that all women will know that they are created in the image of God, good and holy, moral and wise.
I’d have to agree on the image of God part, but the “good and holy, moral and wise” part is not without the Biblical pronouncements—that truth is not subjective, that God has created us in such a way that we are sexual beings, that our sexuality has a teleology, and that transgressions of that teleology constitute an abuse of our sexuality, be it by anything other than heterosexual marriage—you know, the one that God instituted in Gensis, and Jesus affirmed in Matthew. Ethics and spirituality do not exist in a vacuum, and we are to examine everything to see if it is indeed true. As it happens, it stands to reckon that abortion does not make us good, holy, moral, or wise. Everything since Roe has taught us that. But if we’re going to pray for these good things for women, why not pray for them for all humans? What about the women who will never be told that they are created in the image of God, good, holy, moral, or wise, because they were aborted?
Day 30: Today we pray for women to throw away their secrets and claim their histories with power and truth.
Again, when this happens it looks an awful lot like Silent No More, or 40 Days for Life, not like Faith Aloud.
Day 31: Today we pray for all discrimination against women to cease.
Even the unborn women. But this, again, requires a fresh look at understanding our humanity in light of Scripture and in light of sound philosophy and science.
Day 32: Today we pray for an end to the stigma perpetrated against women who have abortions.
I do not deny that there is a stigma sometimes perpetrated against post-abortive women, but I find more frequently that love, forgiveness, mercy, and patience are offered instead—especially at the clinic. Nevertheless, there is one truth that cannot be avoided: abortion takes a life. Dealing with that guilt is never easy, but that guilt should never be met with stigma.
Day 33: Today we offer a prayer of remembrance for abortion providers who lost their lives because of their commitment to women.
See above. We oppose violence against abortion providers for the same reason we oppose abortion.
Day 34: Today we give thanks for abortion escorts who guide women safely through the hostile gauntlets of protesters.
I would rather pray that they, too, see the light of the truth about what abortion really is in light of Scripture, ethics, philosophy, and science. And that “hostile gauntlets” would be loving, because a loving group of protesters is quite a moral statement.
Day 35: Today we pray for girls everywhere, that they may have every opportunity for education, sport, health, art, and vocation.
Even the unborn girls.
Day 36: Today we pray for the families we’ve chosen. May they know the blessing of choice.
Again, this begs one very big question: is abortion morally equivalent to its alternatives? The answer is a resounding “no” in light of the science and philosophy of life.
Day 37: Today we pray for women to claim their equality and demand their rights as citizens.
The basic premise of abortion is that women cannot be truly equal unless they have a surgery. The basic premise of those opposing abortion is that we are all morally equal, women, men, children, elderly, unborn, because of what we are, not because of what we can or cannot do, or because of where we are: members of the human family.
Day 38: Today we pray for a cloud of gentleness to surround every abortion facility. May everyone feel calm and loving.
This honestly makes me think that whoever wrote this has never actually been to an abortion clinic. The attitudes and emotions (not to mention all the lies!) of the clients, the workers, the security personnel, not to mention the doctors, were anything other than gentle: the frantic boyfriend desperately pleading with his girlfriend not to abort the son he wants more than anything; the teenage girl, wracked with pain both physical and emotional, forced to walk to her own car by her uncaring boyfriend after an abortion; the mother of a teen, who cursed, spat, and blasphemed God because there were people standing in front of the clinic doing nothing but praying; and so many other memories of a very turbulent place are evidence that there will never be peacefulness at an abortion clinic, whether or not there are protesters there or not. Yet gentleness was indeed there, where and while we prayed for those inside. That gentleness was ours—and it was free for the taking by anyone that did not want to go through the trauma and affliction of abortion.
The only other time I have felt such an emotional tempest was when I stood in the gas chambers in Dachau, in Germany. It was that disturbing. No amount of prayer can fix that until the clinics are shut down—then and only then will gentleness be felt.
Day 39: Today we pray for a contagious love to overflow from our spirits.
Day 40: Today we give thanks and celebrate that abortion is still safe and legal.
Well…at least it wasn’t “safe, legal, and rare,” because those are kind of mutually contradictory. But since you’re not going to ask for it to be rare, might I ask why not? I mean, do you really take the arguments through to their logical conclusion that if the unborn are not human, then that it does not matter how they are treated?