Faith Aloud, The Religious and Ethical Voice for Reproductive Justice launched “Forty Days of Prayer to Keep Abortion Safe and Legal” in honor of Lent, the Christian season of self-reflection. The 40 prayers (literally) beckon fellow believers to open their minds to the diverse perspectives of reproductive issues and offer compassion and support to those involved. Prayers go out to women, men, children, families, doctors, elected officials, medical students and more. All forty prayers may be read at http://www.faithaloud.org/
The Reverend Rebecca Turner, Executive Director at Faith Aloud, began the campaign for many reasons. One is in response to the increase in protesters at clinics during this time. “Abortion protesters protest clinics every single day. During Lent, however, we see an increase in the number of protestors due to a religious organization that opposes abortion rights” says Turner. “Their presence at the clinics and their campaign to end legal abortion creates an unnecessary stigma.”
This stigma is another reason Turner turns to prayer. According to Faith Aloud, Jesus trusted women and God still does. Offering compassion and empathy to women and families dealing with reproductive loss is the mission of Faith Aloud. The organization offers daily counseling provided by clergy from a diverse faith community. They also offer training seminars that teach people how to offer compassionate religious support to women who are considering abortion or who have chosen abortion, and to those who have experienced other forms of reproductive loss like miscarriage, adoption and fertility issues.
According to the Guttmacher Institute nearly half of all pregnancies are unplanned. 40% of women who are faced with an unplanned pregnancy choose abortion, and 78% of those women report a religious affiliation. Placing shame and guilt on those who choose to terminate a pregnancy is not a solution. Neither is forcing women to become mothers when they are not ready. The choice of how to handle an unplanned pregnancy is between the woman, her physician and her faith; and Faith Aloud supports all options for these situations.
Sex. Abortion. Parenthood. Power.
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Turner was recently named “2010 Person of the Year” by the Abortion Care Network for her commitment, passion and service in reproductive justice. Because of the positive response to 40 prayers, Turner is extending the project to all 365 days in the year.
The very first prayer acknowledges that pregnancy is not always good news and prays for women to know they have choices. Many people believe prayer to be the single most powerful form of divine communication and intervention, a belief shared by Faith Aloud. The organization represents many religious denominations that support all forms of reproductive choice such as contraception, sex education, adoption, fertility issues, and yes, abortion.
Faith Aloud challenges you proclaim your own faith out loud by becoming a member of the organization, a friend on Facebook, joining them at events, volunteering, donating, and mostly: joining with them in prayer to keep abortion safe and legal.
A sample of Faith Aloud’s work: