40 Days for Life
The 40 Days for Life campaign of 2013 has now concluded its 23rd day. If you are not familiar with 40 Days for Life, check out their web site here. In short, it is a gathering of pro-lifers of several religious organizations around the United States, and some other parts of the world. They campaign against abortion and protest at health centers such as Planned Parenthood during the 40 days of lent. In The United States, they have the right to assemble and to peaceful protest as guaranteed by The First Amendment of The Constitution. The protests themselves are not the problem. The ideology behind the protests, and how they affect basic human rights is where the issue lies. Here is an excerpt from their about page:
40 Days for Life takes a determined, peaceful approach to showing local communities the consequences of abortion in their own neighborhoods, for their own friends and families. It puts into action a desire to cooperate with God in the carrying out of His plan for the end of abortion.
As you can see, the ultimate goal in this is “the end of abortion.”
On the 40 Days for Life site, they have a blog that people can visit to read about the days events, success stories, etc. There is a public comment area, so I decided to post a comment with my thoughts about the issue. I also added some additional issues of controversy to try to spark some discussion. As it turns out, the only thing 40 Days for Life wants to talk about is how great everyone thinks they are. They deleted my comment less than an hour after I posted it. See the page I was commenting on here. The comment in its entirety:
40 Days for Life? Don’t you really mean 40 Days for Birth. There is a big difference you know. I believe it was Sister Joan Chittister that said:
“I do not believe that just because you are opposed to abortion, that that makes you pro-life. In fact, I think in many cases, your morality is deeply lacking if all you want is a child born but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed. And why would I think that you don’t? Because you don’t want any tax money to go there. That’s not pro-life. That’s pro-birth. We need a much broader conversation on what the morality of pro-life is.”
Since we are on the subject of morality and money, let’s talk about the more than $1.2 billion that the Catholic Church has paid out to defend and/or pay off the more than 1,800 children that have been sexually abused since 1994. While we are on the subject, let us also explore the idea that once you bible thumpers have “won” the battle for so called “pro-life,” then your churches and religious organizations are going to foot the bill for every single child that was born to a mother or a circumstance unbecoming of quality life. You and you alone will be held responsible for these children….raising them, feeding them, housing them, clothing them, etc. And when one of them comes to you at age 16 with the wonderful news that they in fact are pregnant, we will see how “pro-life” you really are when it starts all over again. Something to think about.
Too bad no one would discuss any of these issues. I was looking forward to it. Oh well.
The End of Women’s Health Care
Abortion is first and foremost a health care service. Sexual and reproductive health is a large part of a Woman’s overall care. To deny Women any part of these services is a total denial of health care. As a basic human right, all people should have access to all forms of health care, without prejudice or scrutiny. 40 Days for Life disregards these services and label them as “evil.” They say it’s “God’s Plan” to stop abortion. We don’t all believe in or follow “God’s Plan.” Regardless, Women still have the basic human right to decide for themselves.
Pro-Life, or Pro-Birth?
A more accurate description of Pro-Life would be Pro-Birth. Life is not even viable until week 27 of pregnancy.
Sister Joan Chittister said “I do not believe that just because you are opposed to abortion, that that makes you pro-life. In fact, I think in many cases, your morality is deeply lacking if all you want is a child born but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed. And why would I think that you don’t? Because you don’t want any tax money to go there. That’s not pro-life. That’s pro-birth. We need a much broader conversation on what the morality of pro-life is.”
One religious organization that believes it is possible to practice your faith and be involved with church, yet have a reasonable approach to the abortion issue is Catholics for Choice. I encourage you to visit their site and read their About page. They take a practical, open-minded approach to Women’s health services, including contraception and abortion.
So you see, the issue isn’t really about God or religion, it’s about Women’s health, and her right to choose where, when, and how she receives care.
What Does All This Have to do With Censorship?
Everything folks, everything! We define censorship as suppression of speech, communication or actions which may be considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or inconvenient to the general body of people as determined by a government, media outlet, or other controlling body. Read more about religious censorship here.
- Pro-choice supporters rally during pro-life prayer vigil to end abortion (al.com)
- Day 22: For greater ecumenical involvement in 40 Days for Life vigils across the UK (thebreadoflifeblog.com)
- 40 Days For Life: DAY 23: Overcoming fear (deaconjohnspace.wordpress.com)
- 40 Days For Life Fight to End Abortion (fox16.com)
Pregancy is not a disease and abortion has nothing to do with health care. When a woman is having an abortion, she is not doing anything to her own body, as the child is not part of a woman’s body, but a completely different human being.
Your point about life being viable at 27 weeks is currently being questioned, as the UK government is considering lowering the limit for abortion on social grounds from 24 to 20 weeks, precisely on the grounds that it is now possible for a child to survive outside the womb at that stage, albeit with the appropriate medical care. So, from your perspective, how many children will you have destroyed who were perfectly viable below 27 weeks?
Killing a child has never been a human right. In fact the Declaration of the Rights the Child states that “the child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth.”
What you advocate effectively is the censorship of pro-life organisations on the grounds of your own pro-abortion ideology, while condemning what you call “religious censorship”. Think about it.
Well argued point.
#1 No child exists until 27 weeks.
#2 Pro-choice is not synonymous with pro-abortion. I just believe that the woman does in fact have the right to decide for herself.
#3 I never said pregnancy was a disease.
#4 I have 2 children of my own.
It is a bold statement to claim that no child exists until 27 weeks. Even if I ignored the truth that life begins at fertilization, still the only thing I would say it that your statement only applies to the States, as over here in the UK, a healthy child exists at 24 weeks, and if the MPs’ proposal is accepted, then a child will exist at 20 weeks in the future.
Regarding the confusion between pro-choice and pro-abortion, I notice that those who call themselves pro-choice actually advocate one choice and do their best so that alternative voices are not heard. Nobody denies that women are able to make choices, but we do say that choice is not morally neutral and certainly comes with consequences.
By labeling abortion as healthcare, I am afraid you equate pregnancy to a disease. When a woman is having an abortion she is not treating any medical condition, therefore this cannot reasonably be called healthcare
Finally, I save sex for marriage, which means I haven’t got any children of my own yet. This is because I want to raise them in a stable environment, favourable for their development. And I would add, given non married women are 4 to 5 times more likely to have abortions in the UK (from a statistical point of view) this simple moral principle would have saved women all the miseries that follow from abortion.
“Even if I ignored the truth that life begins at fertilization” – It’s true that life begins in fertilization, but what kind of life? Is there a miniature version of human in a cluster of cells? No, it’s only a cluster of cells with chemicals reacting inside of them.
“I am afraid you equate pregnancy to a disease” – Pregnancy is obviously not a disease; however, it would be reasonable for people to have the choice to have the cluster of cells that will soon turn into a human being terminated. I do not believe we need any more crack-babies or orphans in a world that is already overpopulated.
The same holds true for every single one of us. From head to toe, our body is entirely made of cells whose mechanism relies on chemical reactions. And it makes no more sense to terminate an unborn child than it does an adult.
As for the myth of overpopulation, I invite you to have a look at real population data from the CIA Factbook. There you will see that nearly one in five countries already has a falling population and those which have witnessed the famous baby-boom now have stagnant populations and will see a sharp decline when that generation is gone.
If you are interested, I blogged about it recently.
Clearly we do not agree on this issue. However, I respect your well argued points. I will be reading the blog posts you mentioned in the next day or so.
Thank you Sean. I do also appreciate your respectful replies.
Ok, I will give you the 20 weeks as a freebie.
It’s almost funny that you would mention this, because the whole reason I posted this article is because the 40 Days for Life group behaves exactly like this. They like to picket and protest, but they do not want to hear any other points of view or have any other discussion, as they have proven when they deleted my comments from their blog. Obviously, they were afraid of getting into this topic with me. Whatever.
Some that call themselves pro-choice may behave as you suggest here, but personally I do not. I am not pro-abortion by any means. However, as I said before, women have the right to that decision. There is a process that women who seek abortion as a possibility must go through before they actually have the procedure. They are given information regarding the implications of their decision.
Part of women’s health care is sexual and reproductive health, and this includes abortion. Like it or not, abortion is classified as health care in countries such as: The United States, The United Kingdom, Australia, Scotland, Canada, South Africa, and so on.
There are two effective ways to prevent unwanted pregnancy. #1 – Abstinence. #2 – Readily available and affordable contraception. The second option makes more sense than the first since sex is a natural part of life, and to actually think someone will abstain is a ridiculous notion. Since people are not perfect, and neither is birth control (almost though), abortion will always be there as a health care service when the others fail.
Many women opt for abortion due to economial stress and concerns for not being able to
provide the appropriate care for the new born. The government provided programs which
are available today (which are not adeqaute) to alleviate the financial stress single mothers
or families experience are again under attack by legislators like congressman Paul Ryan.
His proposed budget would cut out desparately need support to sustain mothers and
families under stress to provide for thier children. I wish the Pro – Life advocates would
use as much of their energy fighting for Pro – Life to lobby Congress for these life supporting
programs. They should be seen in Washington, D.C. not only for 40 days but every day
Congress is in session. Delegations of these Pro Life advocates, for example, should
have as many meetings as possible with legislators like Paul Ryan. The message to
him should be:” Your faith tells you to care for the poor, how can you popose cutting
these programs which ultimately support a meaningful Pro – life agenda”.
What is so hard to understand is that most of these Pro – Life advocates seem to
think it is only essential to let the baby come into this world. They seem not to
comprehend that the world the new born arrives at lacks the infrastructure to care
for it. Hunger, neglect, violance, abuse is waiting for the young child. That again is
probable in most cases the reason why close to 80 % of women who choose abortion,
opt for it. I would like these Pro – Life advocates to be consistent and pursue with the
same energy the second part of a real Pro – Life agenda, lobby these legislators
(most of them pretend to be christians) and remind them that by truly executing
and demonstrating their faith, they should act in accordance with it.