Monday, January 21, 2008

Finding Common Ground on Abortion

Thirty-five years after the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, the debate over the legality of abortion is arguably more divisive now than it was then. For many years now, this has been a wedge issue used to divide politicians and the electorate by requiring polar opposites, absolute agreement with no shades of gray. With its focus on the issue of legality, the abortion debate has become one of determining permissible times and methods instead of working to reduce the number of abortions, surely something that could not offend either side of the argument.

In the highly politicized rhetoric, pro-choice politicians sound disingenuous when they add “and rare” to their calls to keep abortions safe and legal. If pro-choice leaders truly desire that abortions should be rare while they remain legal, they should be eager to support legislation like that introduced by 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 almost a year ago. That bill was designed to provide contraception education as well as support for new mothers and resources for foster care and adoption. That, and similar legislation currently are referred to committees.

Likewise, pro-life politicians rarely call for a reduction in the number of abortions instead taking an all-or-nothing approach that has the effect of allowing preventable abortions now while hoping for an end to all abortion later. Additionally, the belief that overturning Roe v. Wade will end abortion in America ignores the fact that it would return abortion to an issue fought in each state and conveniently forgets the history of back-alley and foreign abortions that happened prior to the court ruling.

A truly comprehensive pro-life stand would also take into consideration the quality of life for the newborn whose mother chose not to abort. In his book, "Our Endangered Values,” Jimmy Carter writes, "Two thirds of women who have abortions claim their primary reason is that they cannot afford a child." He cites statistics from the Alan Guttmacher Institute and the Centers for Disease Control and their latest report [2002], "The most prevailing common factor is poverty, with six out of ten abortions occurring among those with incomes below $28,000 per year for a family of three." A comprehensive plan to alleviate poverty would have the added benefit of reducing a significant factor contributing to the rate of abortions.

We should not allow medical, ethical and religious issues regarding such things as determining when life begins, or when a fetus is viable to distract us from the practical ways we can reduce abortions today. The vision of a day when every child is a wanted child, who has equal access to opportunity is one that both sides of this polarized debate ought to be able to embrace.


mkz said...

Unless you feel that God is in error as to when life begins, and in whom it begins, this is one of the most shocking and appalling arguments you have made to date. How does a mother know the very child she carries in the womb will not be the doctor who finds a cure for AIDS, or the next Mozart or Michelangelo?
How can you argue against the killing that goes on in war against an enemy that has proclaimed it's murderous intent, yet consider the murder of a single defenseless child as being justifiable?
I have to call you hypocrite Ian, and I hope and pray for the sake of your soul that God's grace rain down on you and clean your heart of this evil.

Culture Dove said...

Mike, your response, sadly, points to what I am commenting on in this column. I am afraid that neither side is capable of hearing the other in this discussion any more. No where in this column do I make the case that the murder of a defenseless child is justifiable. I have attempted to use language that either side could hear in order to call for a reduction in abortions.

mkz said...

I understand the point of your post, yet I can not grasp what an 'acceptable' number of dead children would be? Since Roe V Wade and Doe V Bolton approximately 45 million babies have been killed in the US. Would a reduction to 30 million, or maybe 20 million be somehow better? Maybe a drastic reduction to only 250 thousand would be OK? There is no middle of the road on this issue, if you condone some murder sometime you are still complicit in agreement to the crime.

Culture Dove said...

So is an "acceptable" number of deaths whatever number occur until there are none? I'm suggesting that both sides work to reduce the number now even as they both continue to put forward their agendas. Wouldn't this be an improvement over the current situation?

mkz said...

There are no 'acceptable' number of legalized executions of children. The problem with the liberal left and their agenda is that there are. A question, how many more babies should we as a nation sanction the death of until the slaughter stops? Pick a number and let me know what is acceptable to you.