Why Single-Issue, Pro-Life Voters Tick Me Off

I voted for Obama. That’s right. First of all, I live in California, so technically, my vote for President doesn’t count. It’s going Obama anyway. For some in the religious right, voting for Obama means that I wrap babies in American flags and set them ablaze in my spare time.

On Abortion

I am not of the opinion that abortion is our greatest problem but rather a symptom of many problems and that it cannot be dealt with solely through legislative means. I believe that it is the job of the church and the community to work to eliminate the surrounding causes, like poverty, absentee fathers, and lack of available heaithcare and other resources. I believe that what we need is a  very comprehensive plan to eliminate the need for abortions by supporting women and families, healthcare plans, tax credits for adoption, and laws against late-term abortions.

I am completely over hearing how there is only one way to deal with this issue. Does anyone else find it curious that the religious right is for small government in all other issues, but when it comes to abortion, that’s the only way to fix this – legislation? It makes absolutely no sense. Years of research have concluded that Roe v. Wade being overturned will not significantly affect the number of abortions being performed because very few states will make it completely illegal. Their response? We agree to disagree. AGREE TO DISAGREE? The willingness to completely disregard empirical information in the name of adhering “God’s truth” is frightening. Reason and faith are not mutually exclusive. Here’s what one Catholic study says:

Overturning Roe Vs. Wade Will Not End Abortion in America

  • Overturning Roe Vs. Wade, a long time goal of the pro-life movement, would not end abortion in the United States, it would simply send the decision to the states.
  • If states with more than 45% “pro-life” sentiment chose to outlaw abortion, this would only impact 16 states accounting for 10% of abortions nationwide, or less than 100,000 abortions a year.
  • Women in these 16 states would still be able to travel to seek an abortion in another state, or seek an illegal abortion, making the impact likely less than a 10% reduction in abortions nation-wide.
  • States with the highest abortion rates in the country, like California and New York, would be unlikely to outlaw abortion in their states.

Source: Catholics United Study “Reducing Abortion in America: Beyond Roe v. Wade”

On Whole-Life v. Pro-Life

Jim Wallis of Sojourners describes a more consistent ethic of life that resonates deeply with my view. It is “both broader and deeper, it is inclusive of abortion, but also of the many other assaults on human life and dignity. For the new generation, poverty, hunger, and disease are also life issues; creation care is a life issue; genocide, torture, the death penalty, and human rights are life issues; war is a life issue. What happens to poor children after they are born is also a life issue.”

This new generation of Christian voters is deeply searching scripture and when we go there, we find THOUSANDS of passages that tell us of God’s concern for the poor. Here’s just a handful:

Ezekial 16:49

This was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy.

Isaiah 58:10 – 11

if you offer your food to the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the afflicted,
then your light shall rise in the darkness
and your gloom be like the noonday.
The LORD will guide you continually,
and satisfy your needs in parched places,
and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water,
whose waters never fail.

Leviticus 19:10

You shall not strip your vineyard bare, or gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the alien: I am the Lord your God.

Luke 4:18 – 19 18

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

James 2:1-6
My brothers and sisters, do you with your acts of favoritism really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ? For if a person with gold rings and in fine clothes comes into your assembly, and if a poor person in dirty clothes also comes in, and if you take notice of the one wearing the fine clothes and say, “Have a seat here, please,” while to the one who is poor you say, “Stand there,” or, “Sit at my feet,” have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters. Has not God chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor.

(What was the sin of Sodom again? Oh, wait. That’s another post).

If scriptural evidence doesn’t suit you, here’s some research:

Studies Show that Economic Support for Women and Families Reduces Abortion

  • In a recent study released by Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good finds that social and economic supports such as benefits for pregnant women and mothers and economic assistance to low-income families have contributed significantly to reducing the number of abortions in the United States over the past twenty years.
  • Economic assistance to low income families is correlated with a 20% lower abortion rate. Across the entire United States, this translates into 200,000 fewer abortions.
  • In the 1990s, states with more generous grants to women, infants and children under the age of five as provided by the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program had a 37% lower abortion rate.
  • Higher male employment in the 1990s was associated with a 29% lower abortion rate.
  • The abortion rate has declined most rapidly from 1990-1996 when there was an economic boom under President Clinton. While rates have continued to decrease, they have declined less rapidly in recent years when poverty rates have been climbing.

Source: Joseph Wright and Michael Bailey,  “Reducing Abortion in America : The Effect of Economic and Social Supports” (Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good) and The Guttmacher Institute “An Overview of Abortion in The United States”

My experience with the hard-core Pro-Lifers is that they are arrogant and refuse to learn. They will not admit that there is another way to look at the issue. They completely remove compassion from the equation and cloak their judgement of dissenters with God language to make themselves feel superior. I have a view, you have a view. Why don’t we see where we can find common ground and work together to get something done? Don’t think the government should be handing out all that money? Fine. You do it. The government wouldn’t have to do it if the church had done its job from the start, but it hasn’t. Regardless of your political affiliation, it’s time to work together and do something. Stop sitting on the sidelines and pointing fingers. Jesus called us to action for the sake of the kingdom and he taught us to value all life at all stages. Let go of your dogma and take a step toward life.


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