Saturday, July 21, 2007

A Sign of Hope

A pro-life Democrat, Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio, and a pro-choice Democrat, Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, have co-sponsored legislation designed to reduce abortions that is moving ahead in the House of Representatives. This is so much more encouraging than the typical polarizing rhetoric that keeps the two sides each on the high ground sniping at each other.

This is from Rep. Ryan's web site:
February 16, 2007: Ryan and DeLauro Reintroduce Bill to Reduce Abortions

26 Democrats Join Effort to Prevent Unintended Pregnancies, Support Pregnant Women, and Assist New Parents.

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - . Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH), a member of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), a member of the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus announced today that they have reintroduced common ground legislation to reduce the number of abortions in America. The Reducing the Need for Abortions and Supporting Parents Act (HR 1074) would create programs to prevent teen pregnancy, expand Medicaid eligibility for family planning services, combat sexual assault and expand adoption programs.

You can read the entire press release here

How amazing are these two quotes? First Rep. Delauro:
“By funding this initiative, we are offering policy solutions that promote life and support parents beyond the birth of their new child. We are affirming the need to prevent unintended pregnancies and to help women with the economic pressures that may lead them to choosing an abortion,” said DeLauro. “And of all the important goals this initiative can help us reach, perhaps the most important is that it helps move us all forward on this issue – beyond the question of the legality of abortion and toward actually reducing the need for abortion and providing critical investments for families.”
And now Rep. Ryan:

“It is our moral obligation to address those issues with which all sides agree. Whether you are pro-life like me or pro-choice like my friend Congresswoman DeLauro, the common ground we must build upon is our serious desire to reduce the rate of abortions,” said Congressman Tim Ryan. “This package accomplishes that goal by increasing or creating funding streams for programs that have been shown to reduce both unintended pregnancies and abortions. I also want to thank Chairman Obey for his longstanding leadership on this important issue and his willingness to work with myself and Congresswoman DeLauro.”

You can read the full press release at Rep. DeLauro's site here

And the good news is that this passed the House as part of other funding this week. This is the sort of culture war dovishness that this blog exists to support!

And finally, though some may write it off as nothing more than saying the right thing on the campaign trail, watch this video of Hilary Clinton's response to a question about abortions (at the recent forum hosted by Sojourners) and see if you don't find some small comfort in her use of the words "common ground."


mkz said...

Hello Ian, I know this will sound like a snide remark, but please understand that I mean you no disrespect. However, when proposed legislation like this is touted by the media as an acceptable truce in the battle over legal infanticide for the sake of alleged civil unity and acceptable profit margins for Planed Parenthood and their back door supporters, my soul aches.
To me this compromise sounds like sleeping with the enemy. Everyone can feel a little less uncomfortable in the morning about the sin we disgraced ourselves with the night before.
At the moment I only own a New King James Bible, perhaps in some other translations Exodus 20:13 says "You shall not murder, sometimes."

David J said...

Ian, this is the kind of thing I've been talking about! mkz, you miss the larger point here, and that if the abortion rate goes down, that's a good thing. If we need to sleep with the enemy to save lives and help poor women in the process, all I can say is, "where's my pillow?" The abortion rate has been steadily rising under Mr. Bush. So much for all his pro-life rhetoric.

This is a truly hopeful thing. Ian, thanks for pointing it out!

Ian said...

I'm not sure that it is even fair to call this "sleeping with the enemy" if by that you imply any kind of compromise. What was has happened is that two representatives from diametrically opposed camps did not compromise, but instead found common ground. This funding has nothing to do with funding abortions, nor does it work to outlaw them. This funding is aimed at providing counseling to help women avoid pregnancy or to deal with raising a child from an unplanned pregnancy. How is this at odds with the position of either side?

BTW, it is handy to use the word "murder" for your commandment so that you can say that self-defense or warfare are not murder. Of course, not everyone agrees that abortion is murder. Vegans would argue that meat is murder. But this sort of semantics is just the sort of polarizing that I want us to avoid.

mkz said...

The word 'murder' is the direct translation from the NKJ. God's choice not mine. Yet I do agree. somehow I find terms like manslaughter, accidental death, negligent Homicide, or even collateral damage just don't seem to apply comfortably to ending the life of a human being in the womb.
Because we like to rationalize by mincing words, would you suppose God will find this acceptable when we stand before him to give account of ourselves and what we did and said in the life we live for Him today?
I understand your desire to avoid polarization, but as long as God's Word stands, there will always be two sides to this issue, as compromise is not one of the choices He gave us concerning another of His words, obedience.

Hollands Opus said...

you may suspect that I, as the pro-lie north going zax have no interest at all in common ground when it comes to abortion.

There may be vegans that say that meat is murder. They have no legitimate epistemological or moral warrant. They are profoundly ignorant on that point. And, MKZ is absolutely right about the muse of murder. Perhaps a different topic.

Do not be deceived, there is nothing in the "common ground" approach to commend it to anti abortion people. It does nothing to address the question as to what is life and when does it begin, but rather assumes that we cannot know, in which case it is okay (in their minds) to proceed.

Should we have fought to keep slavery safe, legal and rare. Should we have sought economic relief in those days for the slaves, without addressing the immorality of slavery? Should we have fought for simply educating the slaves and avoiding the slavery issue?

Dave. I wonder if you would cite a reference for your claim about abortion under George Bush, perhaps one that makes a legitimate statistical link between any of his specific policies, and how they promote abortion?

Black and white only on this- no compromise.

Ian said...

I hate saying this, but comments by mkz and HO have only confirmed for me what is wrong with the way this debate typically goes.

This is NOT an example of compromise or "sleeping with the enemy." This is about two opposite sides seeing some place where they can agree and accomplish something. The funding is for working to prevent teen pregnancies and thus one source of potential abortions. It is also about funding adoptions and counseling women not to terminate their pregnancies but rather offer the child for adoption.

I'm sorry, but I have to place the burden on you to show how this is a compromise on the abortion issue. What I see is a pro-life and a pro-choice politician finding a path that offends neither and potentially reduces abortions.

And I knew that I should have thought twice before entering the semantic discussion about the word "murder." I didn't want to get into a discussion here about justifiable killing vs. murder, but simply wanted to point out that such discussions about language are not at a level of making significant change like I believe this act of Congress might be.

Hollands Opus said...

I will listen again and investigate the legislation more carefully. My response is more a reflex against a minimalists approach that seems to acknowledge only the mother and not the unborn, and have seen all to often a dissing of the life issue itself, and rebukes from the other side of the ideological spectrum for not buying the stripped down model of humanity.

And again, when Sen. Clinton supports partial birth abortion, I am quite reasonably, skeptical of attempts to shift the discussion away from the humanity of the unborn to the reductionist appeal to economics.

Please know, that I will take what I can get. I would not pass a burning building because I knew I could not save every life. I would get as many as I could.

I hope my concerns make more sense. I will be more careful to find what might be useful in this and other attempts. I should also have been more careful to acknowledge your good sense in trying to show you are not simply indifferent to the problem. I appreciate the blog.

mkz said...

I will also concede that you are not indifferent to the dilemma the issue of abortion causes to the nation. As I stated in my opening comments I meant you no disrespect, this extends to your intellect and compassion as well. As my brother I will not cry 'Raca' at you.
Yet I will use HO's analogy of the burning building to further define the edge of the razor.
If politicians like Sen. Clinton, Rep. Tim Ryan, and Rep. Rosa Delauro worked to extinguish the fire itself, rather than languishing in decision about who and how many we can or might save over time from the national inferno of Planned Parenthood through the painfully slow process of committee, debate, and legislation, we would not need to waste time with half measures deciding how we can best rescue those people in our nation who are at the greatest risk of death. Or keep them from being allowed into the midst of the fire in the first place. I am aware of how black and white this sounds, but at some point we must stand and declare a thing for what it is. And we all here know that point in time will come like a thief in the night,the debate over, and the killing of the unborn will cease. So why not just stop it now?

David J said...

HO, I am not saying that George Bush is causing the abortion rate to go up. But what I am saying is that when programs (I dont care where they come from if they save lives) that encourage women to consider keeping their babies are slashed and burned then we need to re-think those programs. Yes, banning it will reduce it. But the country is not ready for that. It needs persuasion. It needs the love of Christ to change minds and hearts.

I would assume that you and MKZ have no room for lowering the abortion rate unless a litmus test is reached? Maybe passing meaningless legislation, like the so-called partial birth abortion ban?

There is also a better way to persuade young people to consider alternatives. The pressure is incredible. The hormones are unstoppable.

These things are a real part of growing up. People make mistakes. David screwed up so bad he sent Uriah to be killed on the front line in battle. David was a man after God's own heart. I am not saying abortion is okay, I am saying it's a forgivable offense. Whether it's legal or not, people will still try to obtain them. I am pro-life all the way. But I've seen little if any progress in the last 8 years on this issue from a man who promised to do more.

Hollands Opus said...

I think if you read my other post you will have a fuller sense of my intention. Robbers will always rob banks whether we outlaw it or not, but we outlaw it because law is a primary way of communicating the morals of the society, of making statement about right and wrong. You cannot deny these are valid points, brothers. I do not mean to boast, as the arguments surely do not originate with me, but the argument for life is so much stronger, and we must have a both and not an either or.

But you do make an important point - slavery was ended as Christians helped shape a view that slaves are human and worthy of dignity, and that did that in the world in which slavery was already prevalent and fully woven into the fabric of the culture.

Neither am I naive enough to think that if the economics were only better, abortion will never happen. As long as men and women are selfish to the max, it will happen.

mkz said...

Hello David, a quick clarification, I said working to extinguish the fire should be the immediate,and ultimate goal. Nowhere did I imply saving lives along the way was unacceptable, and even you can agree that there is a reasonable human ethic against crushing the skull of a baby half out of the womb. I delivered my daughter, was the first to hold her even before the attending physician. Had I crushed her skull with a pair of stainless steel tongs, what would that have made me, had I the legal right or not to kill her? There is only one answer to that question David, and it is still murder.

David J said...

Okay guys, Ian entitled this post "A Sign of Hope" because it clearly is. It gives those who may be considering an abortion a better opportunity NOT to go ahead with it. I think the approach here is a start. It also shows us that democrats know they have an "abortion problem" in that their approval of it shackles them to a position that close to 50% of the population deplores. And that is a sign of hope, that democrats aren't blind to it anymore.

mkz said...

Well said David, Let us hope they care enough, and have spine enough, to actually eliminate their 'abortion problem'