Tuesday, September 09, 2008

One Issue Voting and Abortion vs Slavery, Part 2

Yesterday I tried to draw a clear distinction between the issue of slavery 150 years ago and abortion today, and point out the flaw of right wing fundamentalists equating the two issues as equally clear. Today I want to make some general comments about the abortion issue in politics.

1. Nobody is Pro-Abortion

Let's be clear on that. Certain candidates may be for protecting women's right in this area, but abortion is always seen as less than ideal, for liberals and conservatives alike. Even if you take a stance that abortion hold no moral significance at all, the fact remains that a procedure is necessary that is unnatural and includes some health risks (though about the same or less than going full term). That is why everyone is for reducing abortions. Right wingers would due well to realize this, and attempt to work together.

2. There is some very interesting information about reducing abortions

For example, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good commissioned a study about the factors that contribute to abortion rates rising and falling.

This study is an attempt to estimate how socioeconomic factors and state abortion laws affect the abortion rate. We have found the following measures to be associated with sharp reductions in the abortion rate: WIC benefits, increased male employment, and economic assistance to low-income families. For example, states that spent $1,350 more per person living in poverty showed a 20% decrease in abortion. To put this dollar figure in context, $1,350 per person in poverty is about $47 billion dollars,22 which is equivalent to the amount tax payers spent on only 18 weeks of funding for the Iraq war in 2007.23 The data show that women respond to robust economic supports by being more likely to carry pregnancies to term. Furthermore, this study finds that a family cap for families receiving government assistance increases the number of abortions. This study also examines the effect of state abortion laws on the abortion rate. While this study finds that state laws such as informed and parental consent have not had a significant effect on abortion rates, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good continues to support such measures as part of a comprehensive plan to reduce the rate of abortion in the United States.

Here we have a pro-life organization commissioning a study that says laws do very little to deter abortions, but social factors, like government benefits, play a significant role.

It has also been estimated by the Guttmacher Institute shows that if Medicaid coverage was to include contraception for low income women, 200,000 abortions of unwanted pregnancies could be prevented.

But, unfortunately we don't see right wingers working as ferociously to change our country into a place where abortions don't need to happen as they do on getting Roe v. Wade overturned.

3. There are non Roe v. Wade attempts to reduce abortion

For example, consider the 95-10 Initiative.

A comprehensive plan that will reduce the number of abortions by 95% in the next 10 years by promoting abstinence, personal responsibility, adoptions and support for women and families who are facing unplanned pregnancy.

The 95-10 Initiative seeks to reduce the number of abortions in America through Federal, state and local efforts as well as support and encouragement to volunteers and dedicated people on the front lines helping pregnant women. Much attention has been given to ending abortion or keeping it legal. We believe that we must do more to reduce the abortion rate by helping and supporting pregnant women.

Will there be a day when the left and the right can work together to make abortions minimal? That is what I am hoping for.

May we see beyond the false dichotomy that is created by comparing abortion to slavery. May we stand up for the life of the unborn, but not at the expense of the many other issues that involve protecting life (war, poverty, the death penalty). And may we continue to love and seek the kingdom of God in the way of Jesus as we prepare for the election coming up, remembering that the important question is not "how should we vote," but "how should we live."



Chip Burkitt said...

Nobody is pro-abortion? That's a little hard to swallow when the efforts at reducing abortion on the left amount to hand-wringing and free contraceptives. I don't believe the number of abortions can be significantly reduced without laws that restrict their availability. No one the left seems willing to go there. See my post.

Earl Barnett said...

Good post. I don't know what else to say other than to give it a hearty 'amen!'


Nick said...

Thanks Earl.