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Will Politics Settle Abortion?


It seems we're in an endless loop on the issue of abortion as far as politics and legislation go. Maybe we should realize politics are not the answer to ending abortion, but rather part of the answer -- part of the larger effort of creating a culture of life where the notion of choosing abortion is passé.

From the Wall Street Journal:

Obscured by the polemics and theologizing, however, is the hard reality that abortion rates in the U.S., and legalized abortion, will not soon yield to restatements of the catechism or the notion that abortion is a violation of "natural law." Such arguments have not yet proved persuasive to the American public, and minds are not likely to be changed by judicial fiat, even from the Supreme Court.

That means that abortion today is primarily a political challenge, and in that context Democrats have been embracing a more effective strategy than the GOP. In an interview with ABC last week, Mr. Obama wisely noted (a month after his "above my pay grade" gaffe) that the theological question was one "I don't presume to be able to answer" for everyone else. "The better answer," he said, "is to figure out, how do we make sure the young mothers, or women who have a pregnancy that's unexpected or difficult, have the kind of support they need to make a whole range of choices, including adoption and keeping the child."

Mr. Obama's argument has won some surprising converts, most notably the former Reagan official Douglas W. Kmiec, whose switch has infuriated his erstwhile allies in the conservative movement. While Mr. Kmiec still strongly opposes abortion, he also believes that the status quo will be perpetuated by a McCain-Palin win. As he notes, Republicans have dominated the White House and Congress for nearly 30 years, and appointed most of the Supreme Court justices. Yet little has changed. (Abortion rates in fact dropped under Bill Clinton and are leveling off under George Bush.)

Mr. Kmiec also argues that Roe v. Wade is effectively settled law, and while the high court has a mostly Catholic conservative majority, only Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia would consider overturning Roe -- and not for moral reasons, but because they believe it was based on a flawed reading of the Constitution.

In any case, even overturning Roe would not end abortion. It would only turn the matter back to the states, most of which are not likely to eliminate the right to abortion. . . .

Read more. (HT Thunderstruck)


Comments:

"The better answer," he said, "is to figure out, how do we make sure the young mothers, or women who have a pregnancy that's unexpected or difficult, have the kind of support they need to make a whole range of choices, including adoption and keeping the child." Did we end slavery by addressing the root economic forces that "forced" slaveholders to purchase and work the slaves that they "needed"?
1 Timothy 1:8We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. 9We also know that law[a] is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine 11that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me. Romans 13:4For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. As we see, one of the uses of the law is to inform people the difference between right and wrong. When the federal supreme court unlawfully decriminalized abortion, the rate of abortions increased something like ten to fifteen-fold. Making it illegal in the sight of the uncatechized public will save millions of lives, and souls as well. So, it is indeed true that we must indeed work to convert souls to Christ, nonetheless we may not neglect making the brutal drawing and quartering of babies illegal once again. (and to think that they call our -troops- baby-killers).
Great responses. My concern is still those numbers. Each one is a child. And they're gone. Is it better to be correct and have the right political stance while the numbers don't change? Or is the goal to reduce and eliminate abortion on more than just paper (establishing illegality), but actually on the ground? Really, I ask because it's disheartening to read about one party, the one associated w/ pro-life policies, being in power the whole duration of Roe's reign, and the abortion numbers holding steady. I really don't know. Should we just keep up w/ the status quo when it hasn't really been effective? Jason's point has stuck in my mind about this, yes. But still those numbers. The Church has to lead here, providing the alternatives -- not alternatives, but true liberation. It's about more than abortion, but everything that leads up to one. It's daunting but, I believe, doable. Maybe I'm overly cynical, but I just no longer have a lot of stock in government to do anything of real significance on this issue.
Most of the "answers" Obama and those like him are advocating simply create a larger pool of single mothers heavily dependent on the government and drive the already pronounced wedge between men and women in still further. In addition, money and indifferent professionals (akin to those who run state foster child programs) will do nothing about the emotional and psychological burdens of parenting alone. As the Palin family illustrates, Kids need two parents and a healthy extended family. Abortion will be eliminated by the same approach that slavery and segregation were eliminated. Evil is created and driven by evil people. We must expose the evil people who're hiding behind these women in difficult situations. That isn't impossible. Two of the primary arguments for segregation were raped white women and choice. Abortion proponents simply crossed off the white and adopted the same two arguments. They even found their friendliest reception in the party of slavery and segregation, the Democratic party. And never forget that Democrats as "liberal" as LBJ and Gore's father were staunch champions of segregation and depriving blacks of voting rights until that stance became impossible to defend. They weren't morally persuaded. They simply lost and pretended they were never on the evil side. I like to tell people that the ultimate end of the abortion debate will come when Democrats are demanding that every woman of reproductive age be tested for pregnancy at least once a month. It's a rough parallel to their shifted stance on segregation. They were defeated by pushing segregation proponents to expose their ugly side, as we are now seeing with feminist attacks on Palin, and by exposing the harmful side effects of segregation. The latter, in the form of some clumsy sociology about schools, was what gave us Brown v. Board of Education and school integration. The real questions include: 1. "Are Evangelicals capable of doing what God wants us to do?" We grossly distort Jesus' warning about not added new (petty, legalistic) judgments to those God already applies to the point where many believers are too addled-brained to called anything sin, repeating the out-of-context mantra, "Judge not that you be not judged." Abortions and abortion proponents will be judged and judge harshly by God. If we don't warn them in clear and uncertain terms, we'll also share in their judgement. 2. Can Evangelicals also get over their belief that everything they do and say has to have a proof-texted verse to support it? Preachers spend three years learning to do almost nothing but that and that crippled POV affects the people in the pew. That in turn leaves us utterly powerless to deal with any issue that wasn't an issue in biblical times (say child porn v. censorship) and deprives us of any technique that wasn't available then. If we applied that same principle to our health care, many of us would die of problems as simple as an infected toe. What's the worst event that's followed the Palin nomination? Many would disagree, but perhaps it's Rick Warren's attempt to jump in and claim credit for advising Palin on topics she's likely to understand better than he. We need a church that's more like a round table and less like a pulpit towering above pews. In short, Evangelicalism is failing because it punches well below its weight, accomplishing almost nothing outside the voting booth. If social issues were boxing, it would be a 6' 8", 260 pound guy in his twenties who can't outbox a skinny third-grade girl clutching a "Hello Kitty" purse. We need to get out of our pews, put our brains to work and start serving God with all our talents. If that means putting aside a few Evangelical heresies about 'judge not' then so be it. You can make a start by reading C. S. Forester's The Good Shepherd. It's perhaps the best exposition of Jesus' remark, "I am the Good Shepherd" in print. He applies it to the captain of a WWII destroyer tasked with protecting a convoy of ships from a Nazi wolf pack during the darkest days of WWII. It's far closer to what Jesus meant than the platitudes about little lambs you might have heard in Sunday School. Being a Good Shepherd means risking death or in today's context, slander without flenching. Being a Good Shepherd means making decisions in often grey circumstances rather than avoiding any potential for failure by cowering safely in our sheepfold-like churches. (Are megachurches simply providing us with a bigger herd to hide in?) And finally, being a Good Shepherd means destroying those who do evil, much as Jesus did with his opponents. Cooly, coldly, systematically destroying their credibility and their ability to do evil to others. That's what Jesus did. That's what we should do. And their very hatred demonstrates that we're on the right track. --Michael W. Perry, Seattle
I don't think politics will "settle" abortion. The point is not that outlawing it will eliminate it. The point is that the protection of the physical safety of innocent individuals is one of the most important parts of the law and denying people that is disgracing the law. What the law is on record as saying is sometimes almost as important as what it actually does.
More concerning to me is actions that hinder operations rather than take away benefits -- actions like that of NY's Spitzer against CPCs some years ago, those "investigations" or whatever he started to smear them. But still, that fact begs the question as to what Obama feels would be giving mothers the "support they need."
Good question about the CPCs. I Googled a little and found that his campaign had indicated on a questionnaire that he did not support continuing federal funding to such centers. They didn't go into detail as to why. (It's the eleventh question and answer.) http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2007/12/21/sen-barack-obamas-reproductive-health-questionnaire
Just a P.S.: I disagree that Roe is "settled law." And with Obama's statement about making sure mothers have the "support they need," I hope someone asks, and he answers clearly and directly, whether he would support, or at least not hinder, CPCs and their valuable work in giving young mothers the "support they need."