40 Days for DEATH!

Members of the Clergy for Choice group
Members of the Clergy for Choice group (photo: Register Files)

Lifesite News is reporting that a Planned Parenthood located in Humboldt County, California has begun a prayer campaign mocking the well-known 40 Days for Life campaign, which seeks to save children's lives from abortion.

The Planned Parenthood effort--named "40 Days of Prayer: Supporting Women Everywhere"--involves the efforts of local clergy who belong to "Clergy for Choice," which is "an official subcommittee of Six Rivers Planned Parenthood."

One element in the campaign is a flyer offering prayer intentions for the 40 day campaign. These intentions were authored by another organization named FaithAloud, whose website (faithaloud.org) bills it as "The Religious and Ethical Voice for Reproductive Justice" and says it works toward "Overcoming the Religious Stigma of Abortion and Sexuality." (Sexuality carries a stigma? Who knew?)

Among the intentions for the individual days are these:

Day 4: Today we give thanks for the doctors who
provide quality abortion care, and pray that they may
be kept safe.

Day 7: Today we pray for the 45 million American
women who have had safe, legal abortions. May they
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.

Day 14: Today we pray for Christians everywhere
to embrace the loving model of Jesus in the way he
refused to shame women.

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.

Day 27: Today we give thanks for abortion providers
around the nation whose concern for women is the
driving force in their lives.

Day 34: Today we give thanks for abortion escorts
who guide women safely through the hostile gauntlets
of protesters.

Day 36: Today we pray for the families we’ve chosen.
May they know the blessing of choice.

Day 40: Today we give thanks and celebrate that
abortion is still safe and legal.

If that isn't enough Orwellian doublethink for you, consider the following statement from Clergy for Choice's web page:

We are religious leaders who value all human life.  We accept that religions differ about when life begins. We are here to help.

We believe that human life is holy. That's why we believe in your right to choose to be a parent or not.

It can be helpful to talk with friends you trust, with licensed counselors, and with whatever religious person you choose.  Humboldt County Clergy are available to talk with you about the spiritual aspects of choice.  Find out more by calling Six Rivers Planned Parenthood at (707) 442-2961.

Huh? "We believe that human life is holy. That's why we believe in your right to choose to be a parent or not"?

Back when I was a grad student in philosophy, I'd often analyze arguments for various positions by putting them in logical form and then analyzing the premises and the steps in the argument. It could sometimes take a bit of work to flesh out an author's arguments, but I must admit that I'm at a bit of a loss where to even start with this one. How do you get from

Premise: Human life is holy.


Conclusion: You have a right to abortion.

Obviously, you could patch the two with a step like:

Premise: If human life is holy then you have a right to abortion.

But why should anybody accept that as a premise? It would seem much easier to argue:

Premise: Human life is holy.
Premise: If something is holy then it should not be destroyed.
Conclusion: Therefore, human life should not be destroyed.
Premise: Abortion destroys human life.
Conclusion: Therefore, abortion should not be.

I've phrased this argument rather informally, and I'd frame it much more technically and precisely if I were writing a philosophy paper, but the general drift of the argument--how you get from here to there in a plausible fashion--is apparent. Indeed, pro-lifers have been using different ways of expressing this basic argument for forty years, and they've won a lot of people to their view using it. 

But "Human life is holy, therefore you have a right to abort it" is just bizarre.

It's Orwellian doublethink along the lines of "War is peace," "Freedom is slavery," and similar slogans of the Ministry of Truth.

I can imagine ways that Clergy for Choice and their Planned Parenthood associates might try to bridge the gap in a more plausible manner, e.g., talking about a particular kind of holiness possessed by all human beings that, if you are a pregnant woman, entails a right to abortion, but that's peering too far into their minds. They need to at least gesture at what their reasoning is, and they don't.

Of course, the premise that Clergy for Choice starts with is a transparent attempt to co-opt the premise that pro-lifers have used so successfully for so many years, but the followthrough on this effort to commandeer the premise falls completely flat.

But then, trying to co-opt successful pro-life strategies seems to be a basic part of this Clergy for Choice methodology.

"Human life is holy, so you have a right to destroy it" is a Satanic parody of the true value of human life and its implications, just as its 40 days for death campaign is a Satanic parody of 40 Days for Life.

What do you think?