"Pray to End Abortion" ... so what exactly are they praying FOR?

I drive past a Planned Parenthood location that performs abortions. Every year, twice a year, people associated with “40 days for Life” stand quietly outside and hold signs. One says “Pray to end Abortion.” And I’m really confused by it. I understand that the “forest” is to end abortion, but how is it supposed to be accomplished?

Are they praying for celibacy-only education in schools? Or better contraceptive education? Or programs that reduce teenage sexual activity (do those even exist)? Are they praying for no woman to GET an abortion or for no woman to NEED an abortion? Are they praying for better social “safety nets” so no woman aborts due to economic circumstances? Better foster care programs so “unwanted” babies can be born and go into state care before being adopted?

I know this is a really rambling and not-totally coherent OP, but I haven’t figured out a more concise way of asking it. And I’m not really sure who I’m asking!

But I put it in GD because it’s a hot topic. Help me understand, I guess.

Really, this seems mysterious? Would you be similarly confounded if you saw a sign saying “Pray for peace”? Or do you really just want to debate the practicality of ending abortions?

Depends on who’s holding the sign. Fred Phelps, the Dalai Lama, and my Mom probably differ substantially in their notions of what “peace” means and what kind of action (or lack thereof) would be necessary to achieve it.

Surely the details of “end[ing] abortion” is similarly dependent on who’s praying for it.

I don’t think people who “pray for X” really have any mechanism in mind other then a vague sense that God will figure out. After all, if your praying to an all powerful God to do X, then it doesn’t really make a lot of sense to dictate how X happens, after all, God probably knows the optimal method.

Here’s a nice animation of a poem by Mark Twain that examines the idea

I suppose it’s possible they’re praying for nobody who isn’t ready and willing to have a baby to have sex, or to not get pregnant from that sex, but based on my conversations with people who are anti-abortion-rights, the main point of the prayer is for nobody who gets pregnant to have an abortion. Especially the ones who claim hormonal birth control is or can be an abortifacient.

I always assume they pray simply that no more abortions should be done, and let God sort out the details.

I’m willing to bet that most have given little thought to it.

My guess is that at least part of what they are praying for is that one or more women who were planning to visit that clinic for an abortion will decide not to have one.

Ultimately, I pray for an end to the circumstances that end up making them decide to abort.


Pray in one hand, shit in the other. See which one fills up first.

It sounds like they do not think God knows what is going on. If God knows there are abortions he could easily stop it by making the women sterile like He did in the Old Testement, He just closed up their wombs.

I guess it is better to pray, then to blow up clinics,or kill doctors; praying doesn’t hurt any one, and it makes the persons who are praying feel better; if they really trust that God is powerful enough to handle things Himself. Of course praying can also try to make people think that they are so much better than those terrible women who are not ready for a child, can’t afford one financially,physicially, or emotionally.

I wonder if the money (or time) spent on travel to all the places they go to protest, were given to a cause that would encourage responsible parenthood or helping the woman by helping her get proper birth control would further their cause by preventing conception in many cases. The time could be put to use to aid the woman who is already burdened with more children than she can handle.

That would completely make prayer pointless, since they believe that God knows everything. But, since their religion tells them to pray, they assume that that must not be the reason.

The reasons I’ve been told vary from “God only does things when you [i.e. enough people] ask” to “Praying doesn’t make God do anything; it just makes you feel better or be a better person.”

Would a highly infectious respiratory pathogen that causes spontaneous miscarriage be an answer to their prayers?

I’m a little surprise no one has seemed to mention this. A group of people holding signs and reminding people about God and religion might be enough to convince some people who were exposed to certain religious denominations not to have an abortion. It’s an attempt to play upon some people’s religious guilt. There’s also an intimidation and shame factor - to get into the clinic a woman has to walk by a group that may speak to her or try to hand her religious pamphlets. The actual prayers are probably secondary to that purpose.

I think this picture pretty much covers it.

Yes. Or to put it another way, “Kill none of 'em, let God sort it out.”

Yeah, it is mysterious. It just seems sort of vague to me. I know it’s hard to fit a complex idea onto a protestors’ sign, but “Pray to End the Need for Abortion” isn’t that much longer.

And no, I wasn’t trying to start a debate. I started this hear so in case someone else wanted to get heated they wouldn’t feel restricted in their responses.

Seconded. Prayer is a means by which we attempt to have the spirit of God come closer to our lives and our world and eventually use us as tools to better the world. It is not always–probably not usually–a request for certain specific actions. When John Wesley and the other early members of the Methodist Church prayed for an end to slavery they probably did not delineate specific actions; they just wanted to work for anything that would end slavery in America. And it worked, though those who began it didn’t live to see the finish.

I think that “Pray to End Abortion” means “ask god to stop these pregnant ladies from getting abortions.” I don’t believe that such ladies are excluded from the entreaty. So I think that God is baing asked to prevent the surgery - not the pregnancy. That horse has already left the barn after all.