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August 11, 2008

A Balancing Act

Abortion has created a semantics battle for the Democrats' platform drafting committee as the writers try to perfect the language before the convention later this month.

Eric Zimmermann over at The New Republic writes that the party does not want to anger feminists, many of whom were upset at Hillary Clinton's defeat. But "... ongoing outreach efforts to religious voters and swelling ranks of pro-lifers in Congress mean that the abortion-reduction message will likely persist," he writes.

David Brody at CBN posted the new platform:

The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v Wade and a woman's right to choose a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay, and we oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right. The Democratic Party also strongly supports access to affordable family planning services and comprehensive age-appropriate sex education which empower people to make informed choices and live healthy lives. We also recognize that such health care and education help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and thereby also reduce the need for abortions. The Democratic Party also strongly supports a woman's decision to have a child by ensuring access to and availability of programs for pre and post natal health care, parenting skills, income support, and caring adoption programs.

This is compared to the Democrats' current platform on abortion:

Because we believe in the privacy and equality of women, we stand proudly for a woman's right to choose, consistent with Roe v. Wade, and regardless of her ability to pay. We stand firmly against Republican efforts to undermine that right. At the same time, we strongly support family planning and adoption incentives. Abortion should be safe, legal, and rare.

Evangelicals Tony Campolo, Joel Hunter, and Jim Wallis will respond to the Democratic Party's platform on abortion tomorrow.


I'll be interested to see what Campolo and the others have to say. Although the Democrat platform still endorses taxpayer-funded abortion on demand, at least the language is a little softer. Still I think Obama is too far to the left on most all issues for him to earn my vote or my campaign contribution. But we'll see...

One simple answer to abortion: adoption.
I have two close family members who had to go out of the country to adopt. We Americans prefer abortion.
It is unfathomable to me that there are Christian leaders out there today, like Tony Campolo, who have figured out ways to justify something like abortion which has to be the most atrocious abomination to the heart of God than anything else I can think of in modern times.
The condoning of abortion by Christians leaves me speechless.
So this is how the Church now beckons the little ones.

I am both pro-life and pro-choice. I don't advocate or approve of killing the unborn, but I believe that pro-life takes us well beyond protection of the unborn. It embraces protection of the lives of those who have already entered the outside world. It concerns itself with child abuse and neglect, lack of emotional and spiritual undergirding for building healthy families, poverty, the factors that move parents to kill their beyond the womb children, the anguish of a pregnant woman who doesn't believe she has the resources to support the life of her child, etc., etc, etc.

Christians who are truly pro-life take this proactive stance into all of the dimensions of life. They take seriously the claim of Christ "I came that they might have life and have it abundantly." Or as paraphrased by Eugene Peterson in The Message, "I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of." When Jesus said to the disciples, "As the Father has sent me, I also send you", I believe that sets apart his followers to give ourselves to bring abundance of life to others -
to preach the Gospel to the poor, to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, and to set free those who are oppressed. These liberating actions don't result from laws that attempt to curb poor choices, or from some political platform. They are the fruit of the loving intervention of Christ into the impoverished lives of humans who are so prone to making destructive choices. When Christ intervenes, through his followers and the work of the Holy Spirit, he creates new persons from the old ones - persons who begin to make choices that are consistent with the laws of God - "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. and "Love your neighbor as yourself". That's what pro-choice means to me - people choosing to make healthful decisions because as new creations they want to do what God wants them to do. We must keep in mind that Israel had the laws of God handed down to them and they trounced over those laws repeatedly. In his letter to the Romans, Paul agonizes over the inability of the legal system to keep him from choosing evil over good. "But now," he says, "By dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code".

Consistent with the teachings of Christ, the role of the faith community on the issue of abortion, as I see it, is to encourage families to choose to give birth and to support that decision with practical helps before, during, and after that birth. Such support will include spiritual counseling, adoption counseling and services, financial assistance as needed, and loving acceptance into the faith family - all of the helps that we envision Christ would give if he were on earth in the flesh. Of course, he really is on earth in the flesh of his church - the Body of Christ!