Why This Election Isn't Just About Abortion

Why being pro-life is bigger than Roe vs. Wade.

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.

I also come from a staunchly Republican family, at least until 2010, when I ran for Congress as a (pro-life) Democrat (I’ve written about this in an earlier column). My father is a lifelong Republican, as was his father, as was his father’s father. And, until the last couple elections, my pro-life position is why I tended to identify more with the Republican Party, whose official platform opposes abortion.

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.

Secondly, being pro-life means more than verbally opposing Roe v Wade. We do well to learn from former Congressman Tony Hall from Ohio. When Tony Hall came to faith after taking office, he adopted a pro-life position. But he devoted himself not to some Quixotic quest to overturn Roe vs. Wade, but to working together with pro-choice colleagues on legislation to ensure that no one ever need resort to abortion for financial, social, or health reasons. For Tony, being pro-life actually meant more than checking the box on candidate surveys during election time; it meant finding common ground to take constructive steps forward for the common good. Neither party honestly intends to overturn Roe vs. Wade. But 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.

43 Comments

84,842

Jonathan Parsons commented…

I'm pondering on your line:
"The same Bible and the same Savior that call us to protect the unborn, call us also to care for the poor, the immigran... and all of Creation."

I would not consider caring for animals , other creatures or plants as important, necessary and urgent as caring for people from conception until death. Discuss :)

84,842

Barry A. Smith commented…

Psalms 139: 13-16 (NLT)
You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mo
thers womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marveloushow well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.

Isaiah 49:1, 5
Pay attention, you who are far away! The Lord called me before my birth; from within the womb he called me by name. And now the Lord speaksthe one who formed me in my mothers womb to be his servant

Job 10:8,10
You formed me with your hands; You guided my conception and formed me in the womb. You clothed me with skin and flesh, and you knit my bones and sinews together.

Jeremiah 1:5
I knew you before I formed you in your mothers womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.

Galatians 1:15
But even before I was born, God chose me and called me by his marvelous grace. Then it pleased him

Proverbs 31: 8-9
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.

Psalms 24:1
The earth is the Lords, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him.

Acts 17:25
He himself gives life and breath to everything, and he satisfies every need.

Zechariah 12:1
This message is from the Lord, who stretched out the heavens, laid the foundations of the earth, and formed the human spirit.

Ezekiel 18:4
For all people are mine to judgeboth parents and children alike. And this is my rule: The person who sins is the one who will die.

Psalm 78:5-6
even the children not yet born

Job 31:14-15
how could I face God? What could I say when he questioned me? For God created both me and my servants. He created us both in the womb.

Richard Clark

50

Richard Clark commented…

In Numbers 5:12-28, Yahweh causes unfaithful wives to have miscarriages because of their sin of adultery:

"12
Speak to the Israelites and say to them: A man may suspect that his wife has had an affair and has broken faith with him,

13
that a man has had intercourse with her unknown to her husband and
that she has defiled herself in secreteven though there are no
witnesses and she isn't caught.

14
If jealousy overcomes him and he is jealous of his wife who has
defiled herself, or if jealousy overcomes him and he is jealous of his
wife who hasn't defiled herself,

15
then the man will bring his wife to the priest. He will bring the offering required for her, one-tenth of an ephah
of barley flour. He will not pour oil on it, nor offer frankincense
with it, because it is a grain offering for jealousy, a grain offering
for recognition in order to recognize guilt.

16
The priest will bring her close and make her stand before the LORD

17
The priest will take holy water in a clay jar, and taking dust from
the floor of the dwelling, the priest will place it in the water.

18
The priest will make the woman stand before the LORD, let the hair
of the woman hang down, and place the grain offering for recognition,
that is, the grain offering for jealousy, in her hands. The water of
bitterness that brings the curse will be in the hands of the priest.

19
Then the priest will make her swear a solemn pledge, saying to the
woman, "If no man has slept with you and if you haven't had an affair,
becoming defiled while married to your husband, then be immune from the
water of bitterness that brings these curses.

20
But if you have had an affair while married to your husband, if you
have defiled yourself, and a man other than your husband has had
intercourse with you"

21
then the priest must make the woman utter the curse and say to the
woman, "May the LORD make you a curse and a harmful pledge among your
people, when the LORD induces a miscarriage and your womb discharges.

22
And may the water that brings these curses enter your stomach and
make your womb discharge and make you miscarry." And the woman will say,
"I agree, I agree."

23
The priest will write these curses in the scroll and wipe them off into the water of bitterness.

24
Then he will make the woman drink the water of bitterness that
brings the curse. And the water that brings the curse will enter her,
causing bitterness.

25
The priest will take the grain offering for jealousy from the
woman's hands, elevate the grain offering before the LORD, and bring it
to the altar.

26
The priest will take a handful of the grain offering as a token part
of it and turn it into smoke on the altar. And afterward he will make
the woman drink the water.

27
When he has made her drink the water, if she has defiled herself and
has broken faith with her husband, then the water that brings the curse
will enter her, causing bitterness, and her womb will discharge and she
will miscarry. The woman will be a curse among her people.

28
But if the woman hasn't defiled herself and she is pure, then she will be immune and able to conceive.

84,842

Jsrock_47 commented…

Who gets to decide what conditions call for an abortion? You?

84,842

Jsrock_47 commented…

Bingo!

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