Thursday, August 17, 2006

Search for Common Ground

Two stories showed up in my inbox yesterday about the abortion debate. NARAL Pro-Choice America released a new poll on abortion that found that 77% of likely voters say that "government and politicians should stay out of a woman's personal and private decisions whether or not to have an abortion."

Eight in ten agreed that American's are tired of the divisive abortion debate.

Me too.

And that leads to the second story. Thirty clergy met earlier this week in Rapid City, South Dakota to discuss how to help their congregants address the abortion debate. One participant, the Rev. Jeri Behringer, who retired in May from the Spearfish UCC, said the seminar was helpful in providing a model for congregational discussion. She told the paper,

"Something has happened in the last few years that seems to have divided us in ways that I've never seen before in 36 years of ministry. There's an inability to hear each other and respect each other and respect that we are all Christians together, regardless of whether we agree on every issue."

It's been said for more than thirty years, but it bears repeating -- pro-choice is not the same as pro-abortion. Pro-choice is common ground. Only an individual woman can make this decision. The moral agency of women must be respected and affirmed, and as religious leaders, we must work to assure that abortion remain legal, safe, and accessible. We must also do all we know to prevent the need for abortion -- as our "Open Letter to Religious Leaders on Abortion as a Moral Decision" says, "it is precisely because life is so precious that it never be created carelessly."

No comments: