By Dave Andrusko
Editor’s note. This first ran May 2, 2012. In light of recent attention paid to PPFA’s Clergy Advisory Board (which I talk about elsewhere today), I thought this might be helpful. Its CAB has been around a while doling out massive quantities of misinformation.
Two weeks ago to the day I wrote about ”Humboldt County Clergy for Choice” teaming up with Six Rivers Planned Parenthood in Eureka, California for “40 Days of Prayer to Keep Abortion Safe and Legal.” As most pro-lifers recognized, this was/is a rip-off of the “40 Days for Life” campaign, a conclusion that was, of course, adamantly denied.
As it happened the next day the Washington Post ran an op-ed written by two pro-lifers which began, “Pro-life advocates have long complained that Planned Parenthood, the country’s largest abortion provider, worships at the altar of abortion, but did you know that the abortion industry actually prays for abortion?” I kept looking for a pro-abortion response, but was not surprised it took until yesterday to figure out a way to try to wiggle a way out of the truth.
Then there appeared, “Why my faith calls me to defend women’s reproductive rights,” written by Jane Emma Newall, Chair of the Planned Parenthood Clergy Advisory Board. They had pulled out the big guns to launch a counter-salvo but intellectually and ethically, the response was popgun-like.
Here’s Newall’s argument, cliché by cliché.
“As the chair of the Planned Parenthood Clergy Advisory Board, I work with faith leaders from all different traditions and backgrounds. We strongly believe that women and men are moral agents, able to make their own decisions about their reproductive needs.”
Does that language about “decisions” imply there is a role for the father in defense of his child? Of course not. And it is quite true we are always acting as “moral agents,” for good or for ill. The question is whether slicing arms and legs off of defenseless unborn babies can be defended as a positive exercise of moral agency.
“I also understand that for many women, abortion is a deeply personal and complex decision, often influenced by their faith and background.”
If I decide beating my two-year-old senseless “is a deeply personal and complex decision,” does that make my decision beyond reproach? If I toss in verbiage about my “faith,” does that make my child’s welts and bruises heal faster?
“My faith plays an integral part in my own thoughts and feelings about abortion. Over time, these feelings have transformed from judgment to love as I matured in my spirituality.”
If her point is, we love the woman even if she takes that dreadful step—as a way of helping her heal—pro-lifers would agree. But “matur[ing] in my spirituality” does not mean I forgo judging the ACT of abortion.
“Our sacred texts and traditions teach us that women have the right to take care of their bodies. So when I graduated Yale Divinity School in 1991, I made the decision to support women as a core part of my ministry.”
Again, the best way to consider abortion is always to simply exchange the baby for someone else. For example, no doubt “sacred texts and traditions” also teach that men “have the right to take care of their bodies.” Should “a core part of my ministry” be to teach men that if the women in their lives are inconvenient, or consume too many resources, or get in the way of their career plans, it would be understandable if they beat them to smithereens, or even killed them? I’m guessing Newell would disagree.
This drivel goes on and on, but let me talk about just one more, the one that is the most irresponsible.
“So I have a simple message for women who are considering an abortion or may have had an abortion: God loves you. No one should tell you any different.”
So, if God loves us—and He does—what follows? That because God’s love is wrapped up in forgiveness, we have been issued a blank check to do what we want? “Okay, God, I know you are a God of love. So I know that because you’ve already deposited that forgiveness check in my moral bank account, I rest assured that I have the funds to cover my decision to off my father who has Alzheimer’s and who is better off dead, anyway.”
By the way in case the readers don’t understand what the “proper” way to understand what’s coming, the Post includes a picture of pro-life and pro-abortionists in front of the Supreme Court at the top. The caption reads, “ The Catholic Church in particular is credited with organizing and driving the anti-abortion movement for decades, but religious arguments shape the pro-choice side, too.”
These people are shameless, not to mention incoherent.