Editor’s note: You may have seen in the news recently stories about a 40-day abortion prayer campaign taking place in California — one that covers everyone involved except preborn children. Earlier this week, this publication carried a story on it, in which we included part of an interview with the Rev. Rebecca Turner, executive director of Faith Aloud, who wrote the prayers being used in the campaign.
As an evangelical Christian organization, CitizenLink is unreservedly committed to protecting life from the moment of conception to natural death, as well as supporting women in difficult situations.
However, not all faith groups share our position. We thought it might be informative to give our readers the opportunity to hear one of them discuss that perspective in their own words. Below you will find the transcript of our reporting team’s interview with Turner, as well as the audio.
Reporter: Reverend, how did you come up with the name of the … and I don’t have the flyer in front of me, pardon me, but anyway I believe it’s 40 days for life or 40 days of prayer for the abortion clinic. Anyway, how’d you come up with that?
Turner: The title is actually “40 Days of Prayer to Keep Abortion Safe and Legal.” And we believe that abortion is a very private decision that women do often make. One-third of all American women do make this decision at some point in their lives, and we want them to know that God loves them in every situation, and whether they choose abortion or choose to have a child, whatever their decision, that God’s love is always present for them. And so we pray. We pray for women who are making difficult choices, we pray for pregnant women, we pray for the doctors who work in clinics, we pray for everyone who may be involved.
Reporter: The name “40 days,” the obvious ministry called 40 Days for Life, I’m sure you may be aware of that. How did that factor into your event?
Turner: We wanted also to take the Lentin time, which of course is the original 40 days, and to, during Lent, to say there is a compassionate voice out there with religious people who are supportive of women in difficult situations.
Reporter: Had no connection with the 40 days for Life Ministry?
Turner: We really focus on Lent.
Reporter: I understand that, but my question is, it’s not anything aimed at the 40 Days for Life ministry? It had nothing to do with that?
Reporter: OK. Let’s see, I guess the only other question — you covered quite a bit of ground. What is your take on 40 days, the pro-life life ministry? They pray for preborn children’s lives to be saved. What’s your take on them?
Turner: I think it’s misguided, and I do think it’s a misuse of the Lentin time because it completely eliminates the woman. And it is the pregnant woman that we are concerned for. We have to treat her as a whole person, not just as the carrier of a fetus. So instead of praying for unborn children, you know, we’re praying for those women, and we’re praying that they find within their own faith a strength, and that they don’t make decisions out of shame, that they don’t feel shame that’s imposed upon them by anybody else, whether it be family members or religious authorities or whatever, but instead to look to their own faith for strength and confidence, and to do what’s best for themselves.
Reporter: What about the child? Do you believe that fetus, when it’s aborted, that it’s a child that dies?
Turner: Umm … For me personally — that answer is going to be different for every person who calls themselves pro-choice, you know, but for me personally, that significantly depends upon the stage of development. I don’t, because the vast majority, well over 90 percent of abortions in this country, happen in the very early stages, in the first few weeks. I do not, I cannot equate that early embryonic life with your life. I see your life as having more significant value than that life that is in the earliest stages of development, and I don’t think it’s anyone else’s right to make a decision for a woman about when she’s ready to become a mother and when she’s physically capable of carrying a child to term. I think that right has to be left with her alone, and I think that right comes from God. I think God has always given us, not just the right but the responsibility as women, for knowing when is the right time to start a family and to bring a child into the world, and that it’s irresponsible to bring a child into the world when the community is not ready for it.
Reporter: OK. I really appreciate your taking the time for an interview, and the civil manner. I interviewed someone from the pro-life side. I really like doing these kinds of stories so people can hear both sides. Thank you so much.