So I had an interesting conversation with a guy from church at the party I went to tonight. It was about politics. As it was a follow on conversation from some discussion during our last small goup meeting, it pretty much cut to the chase. The discussion was about the candidates and their stance on abortion. This is a hard debate for sure. There are a few things that stick out to me though:
1) Pro-life in the abortion arena does not = pro-life in general
2) Pro-choice does not = abortionists
It seems to me that the picture that is painted is that if you are pro-choice, it means you hate babies, are a murderer, and should be thrown into the pit of hell. I find it interesting however, that many pro-choice folks do not support abortion. They support choice (hence the pro-choice label as opposed to, let’s say, a pro-death label). And they also support lots of reform to those things which would contribute to a woman feeling as though she doesn’t have any other choice than an abortion. Anyway, while I am sure there are some women who would cold heartedly just abort a baby because it was an inconvienence, I think there are many more women who are faced with the difficult decision of being able to provide for themselves and the family they may already have, and providing for the child they now carry in their womb. Am I saying that make aborting a child right? By no means. I’m just saying it’s complicated that’s all. There is a great article in the latest issue (and by latest issue that is referring to the SEP/OCT 2008 issue in case that link changes) of Relevant Magazine titled Leading the Charge that speaks to this. Cameron Strang writes…
Many Christians want to overturn Roe vs. Wade, but I don’t hear nearly as many leading the charge on a national adoption movement. If Roe vs Wade is overturned, where are all those babies going to end up? Christians should be focused on personal action regardless legislation, not just waiting for the right number of Supremem Court Justices to come along.
In another article of this same issue, titled In the Booth Not of the Booth written by Adam Smith, Tony Campolo is quoted as saying
The abortion issue cannot be ignored…Here’s where you can see where both parties have something to contribute. The Republicans want to overthrow Roe vs. Wade, and the pro-life people would cheer that, and they should. The other side of the story is this: Seventy percent of the abortions in this country are presently driven by economic orces. You have an 18-year-ld woman who works at Wal-mart at minimum wage–she has no hospitalization, she has no opportunity for maternity leave, she has no access to daycare when the baby is born, she’s in dire straits. If you’re going to be pro-life, you cannot only be concerned about the unborn; you have to be concerned about after they are born.
The quote from Campolo goes on and he makes it a bit more personal by asking questions like, “Are you willing to give her maternity leave so that she doesn’t hvae to either loose her job or have an abortion?”
And it’s hitting me while I write this that Jesus came to give life and life aundantly to everyone. To the born and the unborn. So, if by focusing on those already birthed into this world and providing economic support to women who are pregnant in order to allow them to choose to have the child that is growing in their womb, life is protected better than a law that says abortions are illegal, do we need a law? Those who are cold hearted enough to abort a baby simply because they don’t want to inconvienence of a child will still manage to aborth babies whether abortions are illegal or not.
I guess what I am saying is, there is more than one way to skin a cat. While it seems very polemical, underneath it all both sides want to protect babies and mothers. They just have different ideas about how to do that. So maybe instead of deamonizing each other, we should try to find a workable solution that accomplishes just that. It seems to me that it is very doable.
On another note, after reflecting on this issue, the pro-life designation is interesting to me. It is interesting because it is reserved for the issue of abortion only. There are HUGE contextual and practical differences between abortion, war, and the death penalty, but it is strange to me that life and death are common threads in all of these issues and yet we seperate them. To be a bit crass, babies are much cuter than convicts, but does God not value life because God has given it?