Why This Election Isn't Just About Abortion
By Ben Lowe
October 31, 2012
Ben Lowe is on staff with the Evangelical Environmental Network and also serves as the National Spokesperson of Young Evangelicals for Climate Action. A dedicated activist and organizer, Ben was born and raised a missionary kid in Southeast Asia, where he experienced firsthand the impacts of poverty and pollution. He now lives in a refugee and immigrant neighborhood in the Chicagoland area where he ran for U.S. Congress in 2010. Ben is the author of
Both sides in American politics are currently trying hard to convince their base that this presidential election has a lot to do with abortion. However, the reality is that neither party, and neither presidential candidate, is really going to do anything about Roe vs. Wade.
To be clear, I believe that abortion is a very important moral issue. It is also an extremely personal, painful, and complex issue, in which there are never any easy answers or true winners, no matter which “side” one takes. Nonetheless, at the end of the day, I am pro-life.
... Pro-life and pro-choice candidates run in both parties. Those who consider this the single, most important issue in supporting a candidate can often find committed pro-life candidates in either party.
Over time, however, I’ve come to realize that, as important as this issue is, our options are not straightforward. In reality, the Republican elite hotly debate this issue behind the scenes. Even President George W. Bush, an evangelical who also included many evangelicals among his White House staff, made no attempt to overturn Roe vs. Wade. Both parties realize that any attempt to challenge Roe vs. Wade would meet overwhelming opposition, not only within American society as a whole, but also within the Republican Party.
So what are we left with?
First, pro-life and pro-choice candidates run in both parties. Those who consider this the single, most important issue in supporting a candidate can often find committed pro-life candidates in either party. At other times, we are left choosing between two candidates who are pro-choice. This may be our situation in the 2012 presidential election. President Obama has been consistently pro-choice, though there are reports that some of his policies may actually end up reducing abortions. Governor Romney claims he is mostly pro-life now, but he’s on record countless times as being pro-choice—such as while Governor of Massachusetts—and there have been very mixed messages about his true position on this issue today. It’s really hard to tell.
We can work together, pro-life and pro-choice, to support women in crisis and reduce the demand for, and number of, abortions.
Thirdly, we remember that being fully pro-life means caring about the whole of life, in all its fullness and diversity. The same Bible and the same Savior that call us to protect the unborn, call us also to care for the poor, the immigrant, the sick, the aged, others who are socially marginalized, and all of Creation. The same Bible and the same Savior also call us to seek justice, promote peace, condemn abusive financial practices, oppose the bribery of government officials (think special interest bankrolling of election campaigns), and to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves.
As Christians, no matter which candidates we each end up siding with in this election, I hope and pray we will strive to be consistently and comprehensively pro-life, supporting the good not only of the unborn, but also of the born: the unemployed, the impoverished, the immigrant, the uninsured, victims of disasters and wars, and more, while also being good stewards of our financial and natural resources. This may make it harder to chose who to vote for, but it’s time that we become better known for having a vision as big as God’s vision, and for voting on a more faithful range of issues than just one or two.