Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A More Serious Approach To Reducing Abortions

Even the staunchest opponents of abortion have to admit that an outright ban on abortion is politically impractical and highly unlikely.

Nonetheless, many Evangelical bloggers who oppose abortion continue to paint an extremely divisive picture of anyone who does not support the repeal of Roe v Wade, by calling them promoters of the culture of death, infanticidal maniacs who support "abortions on demand, for no reason at all" and, if they happen to be Democrats running for president, unfit for the White House.

They resent being called single-issue voters when they offer their support for anti-abortion candidates without regard for the candidates' other positions, because--they say--a person's stance on abortion trumps all other considerations and anyone who supports abortion has a broken moral compass. Thus, they allow criminals like George W. Bush, Dick Cheney & Co. to wreak havoc on this nation and the world with absolutely no pangs of conscience.

To them, there is no issue more important than wiping abortion off the law books. They liken abortion to the Holocaust, because they believe that every fetus, down to a fertilized egg, is a human being worth giving birth to. They resort to every trick in their arsenal to make abortion illegal even if Roe v Wade were never to be reversed. For example, see the appallingly bad Amendment 48 that abortion opponents have put on the ballot in Colorado. That amendment would confer the rights of personhood on a fertilized egg, thereby banning all forms of contraception like Plan B because they interfere with the beginning of a person that started when sperm met the egg. A truly absurd scenario, to be sure, in which the rights of a single cell would outweigh the right of two sentient and intellectually developed adults to prevent an unwanted pregnancy within hours of intercourse, hardly a scenario that most sensible people would classify as abortion.

Well, luckily not all Christians are Evangelical fundamentalists. Some, like the Rev. Jim Wallis, look at the whole picture of abortion instead of clinging to their hard-right ideological prejudices which are sure to alienate middle-grounders who would like to see abortions kept to a minimum, while ensuring that access to legal abortion is maintained in extreme contingencies.

Rev. Wallis understands, unlike his more radical colleagues, that much progress is to be made by diminishing the weight of factors that contribute to a woman's decision to have an abortion, such as economic fears, fear of societal abandonment and stigmatization, lack of knowledge about the alternatives, lack of information about or access to contraception methods, etc.

I will write more on this issue as soon as I have the time to do so, but in the meantime please read Rev. Jim Wallis's article and consider it an example of what people of good will can do, Christians and non-Christians alike, if they are just willing to put unrepentant ideology aside for a moment in pursuit of commendable and desirable results.

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