Disclaimer: I do not want to tell you how you vote (I myself have a non-partisan, mixed voting record), but I do want to influence how you approach thinking about important issues.
This weekend I heard an interview where an “on the fence” voter listed a dozen reasons he was at first inclined to vote one way, and then he pivoted: “But abortion…”
The man had been convinced that one candidate “likes” abortion and the other candidate does not.
First, here are a few statements we should all agree on:
- The fact is, nobody likes abortion, irrespective of political affiliation.
- Using opposition to abortion as a voting litmus test is disingenuous and manipulative.
- It is deceptive to say that one party is for abortion and another party is against abortion.
- Pro-life versus pro-choice is not the “game-changer”, or the “bridge-too-far”, or the “non-negotiable” for Christians it’s advertised to be.
- Everyone agrees that an abortion is a tragedy.
A sad story:
When Rebekah and I lived in Pensacola we found ourselves at the epicenter of pro-life violence. The son of a friend, radicalized by distorted teaching at the church he attended, shot and killed a doctor at the family planning clinic.
Around a year later (1994) two medical workers were murdered by an activist outside a clinic.
“Paul Hill, 40, who described himself as a former Presbyterian minister… opened fire with a shotgun outside a women’s clinic today, killing a doctor and his escort and wounding a third person, police said… Witnesses told WCOA-AM radio they heard six to nine shotgun blasts…”excerpts from Washington Post report, 1994
My wife, Rebekah, fielded questions all day from national news hounds who assumed the shooter was one of the pastors from the church she served at that time! One of the more reasonable lines of questioning, however, led to her being quoted on NPR’s All Things Considered that afternoon.
It was the third shooting incident in just a short time, and with three dead, several wounded, and rhetoric escalating the atmosphere in Pensacola was tense, electric… brittle. Something had to be done.
A coalition of leading churches arranged a service of unity against violence, and an overflow crowd met at the downtown Episcopal Church that Sunday afternoon. Rebekah was one of the featured speakers, and several thousand people – conservative and progressive; “pro-life” and “pro-choice”; left, right, and moderate; Republican, Democrat, independent; Baptist, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Catholic, Episcopalian, Pentecostal, Methodist and more; black, white, brown – marched (in the pouring rain) to say as loudly as possible that we are a community and we will work together to find a better way.
Abortion is not a valid basis for political choice:
Everyone agrees that abortion is a tragedy, and nobody “likes” abortion.
Abortions will happen, regardless. The real question – then – is are we as a society offering enough reasonable alternatives? What are we doing to prevent unwanted pregnancies? Do we have adequate social services in place to support single moms and families stressed by the cost of raising children? Are we raising young men to respect women and not push for sex at the drop of a hat? Are we raising young women to respect themselves and not compromise? Is good medical care available to help navigate pregnancy? And these are just a handful of the important questions…
Do we want to force women to seek abortion in unregulated, unsafe, illegal “back-alley” locations? Because (if we fail to address the above questions) abortions are always going to be a factor.
A decision to vote for one particular party, or candidate (either way), based on abortion is bogus!
If we want to see an end to the tragedy that is abortion – and we all do, irrespective of political party – then we must work for increased respect for and commitment to life, and decency, and faith, and morality, and opportunity, and equality across the board.
For some similar thoughts, go to “Finding Common Ground on Abortion” (May 16, 2019).
May you find the peace you are looking for in this time – DEREK