Some musings around the deception that ties our conscience concerning abortion to partisan politics

– Derek Maul lives, writes, and speaks in North Carolina

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

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Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.

Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.

Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.

8 Comments Leave a comment

  1. I’m glad you wrote this, brother. It is worrying that a lot of Christians are no longer able to discern candidates’ true intentions (i.e., manipulating us through our “favourite” topic). Our role is not to police other human beings on how to live their life, becoming militant, even violent (which makes us no different from the other camp). At the end of the day, God is still the Judge. Our focus should be on the Lord, spreading His gospel of salvation and peace so that people will experience spiritual re-birth–when they do, these “clinics” will simply not be used and will go to disrepair, leaders who’ve been led to the Lord will be moved to put in place social safety nets for the poor, oppressed and disadvantaged. Instead of telling the government what not to do (I don’t think the Apostles did that), I pray that we will be given the opportunity to have an audience with governors, kings, presidents, prime ministers–and introduce them to our Lord who changes hearts and puts a new Spirit within us. Bless you.

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  2. Abortion is truly a tragedy. To have an unborn fetus ripped piece by piece from a mothers womb is truly heartbreaking. The killing of Doctors and blowing up clinics is equally wrong as the killing of an unborn child. In the real world abortions are sometimes necessary for medical reasons but there should be limitations and not used casually as a form of birth control. Because a child is created from a moment of passion rather than a committed relationship should not automatically be a death sentence to the innocent child. You’ve raised some important questions about the need for more proactive measures for the prevention of pregnancy. This could eliminate many thousand of abortions each year. I understand that you would like this to not be a political issue. But as I understand it most conservatives would like for there to be stricter requirements for an abortion. Many liberals want no limitations even up to the moment of birth. Consequently it will probably be a partisan issue for many. It’s truly a personal decision for everyone. Which is the lesser evil – to kill the child or fear it may be raised under difficult circumstances?

    It’s your BLOG and I “get it”. But In my humble opinion I think you’ve waded into a political “minefield” with this one.

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    • You are exactly on point, Harold. Heartbreaking is the word. There is so much that could be done, and both political parties have a long way to go and a lot to be held account for. That said, it is incumbent on all of us to shine with the light of love and grace and to be leaders in terms of valuing life. Thanks

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  3. Good point and a risky topic but I agree with your point. It is definitely a position used to manipulate votes to one side or the other. I hate abortion, who doesn’t, but just because a candidate says he is against or for abortion doesn’t mean the right decisions will be made to handle such a complex issue. I sure wouldn’t want to be president because all these issues are complex, and decisions not well thought out can be very dangerous.

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