Over the weekend, an impassioned sermon by Paula White, a televangelist, Florida megachurch pastor, and spiritual advisor to President Trump, was resurfaced on Twitter by Right Wing Watch. The clip, taken from a January 5 sermon, shows White praying for a lot of things, none of which are nearly as intriguing as a call on Jesus Christ to “command all satanic pregnancies to miscarry right now.” Questions swiftly arose: what even is a "satanic pregnancy," and how would one test for this—by dangling a crystal over a belly, and watching to see if it catches fire? And could a call from Trump’s spiritual adviser for the instantaneous miscarriages of any such satanic pregnancies possibly mean that the staunchly anti-abortion Trump White House is, perhaps, not quite so anti-abortion?
White responded to the backlash, arguing that her sermon was taken out of context for “political gain”' she was merely speaking metaphorically, praying for evil to be banished from her congregants’ lives. Even so, the two and a half minute clip has brought us to the unexpected, confusing place of arguing with the White House over whether an ordered miscarriage counts as an abortion.
In light of the Trump White House’s continued attacks on abortion access, it’s no wonder that White’s zany prayer for the spontaneous miscarriage of “satanic pregnancies,” metaphor though it may be, stoked our beleaguered hopes. Under Trump, access has shrunk to the point that several entire states now lack a single safe abortion provider. He’s routinely funneled family planning money into crisis pregnancy centers and nonprofits that hope to siphon patients away from Planned Parenthood. The administration messed up Title X so thoroughly that Planned Parenthood had to leave the program, seeking funding elsewhere to avoid complying with Trump’s new restrictions on abortion counseling.
Finally a depraved glimmer of hope: If we can simply hoodwink abortion critics with a test from an old wives’ tale—if a pregnant mother’s lock of hair sinks in a cup of hemlock tea, the babe is sure to be born with horns—we’ll get the abortion access we always dreamed of. None of Trump’s attacks on abortion access follow the laws of reason; why did we even bother with “making sense” when we could have simply played ball?
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