Friday, September 19, 2008

Moving Beyond Abortion As An Electoral Issue

So in the midst of this economic meltdown, what made the front pages again this week? Abortion.

The New York Times had a front page story on Catholics and abortion. The Wall Street Journal had a story on Thursday on new abortion ad campaigns. I received two proud emails from groups, Catholics United and a new pro-choice organization, on their new abortion ads in key electoral states.

Now, I am consistently and historically pro-choice, and as my regular readers know, I am strongly committed to reproductive justice and to helping people understand that abortion is always a moral decision.

BUT, goodness, even I am weary of this being a front-and-center election issue, especially given what surely we all agree are the most pressing issues -- how do we keep the economy from imploding and how do we get out of Iraq, to say nothing about how we address the concerns of the most vulnerable among us.

The fact is that the two parties couldn't have more different positions on abortion, and we all know that. The fact is that most Americans have reached their own consensus on abortion -- they want it to be legal, and they want it to rare. And in almost every poll, between 8 and 9 in every 10 Americans believe we need sex education and family planning to reduce unintended pregnancies. As I often say from pulpits and in my writing, because life is so precious, surely we can agree to work together to ensure that it is not created unintentionally or carelessly.

Isn't it time we acknowledged that there is indeed a consensus on this and move on? And are there others of you out there who can't wait for it to be November 5th??

5 comments:

Robin Edgar said...

"So in the midst of this economic meltdown, what made the front pages again this week? Abortion."

I guess that means O.J. Simpson and Paris Hilton weren't available or have outlived their usefulness. . . ;-)

Cassandra said...

I think most polls show a 57/42 split in favor of abortion for all reasons and a 42/57 split against abortion simply when the pregnancy is unwanted. When a pregnancy is 6 months in, only 11% of respondents are in favor of abortion.

This doesn't sound like consensus to me. This sounds like country that is still deeply divided on the issue. And I'm not willing to just get over it because, as you state, life is so precious.

Cassandra said...

Do you have another link for the article? The link you posted says that article is no longer available or has moved.

Many thanks!

Debra W. Haffner said...

Hi Cassandra...always good to be in dialog with you. I don't have another link -- this is what the WSJ had on line...maybe they pulled it?

I'm not saying you or me or anyone else shouldn't advocate their position, teach their children, help people clarify their values on abortion...what I'm saying is that it seems to be that the vast majority of Americans know where we are, and that this doesn't belong front and center in this campaign...now the potential make up of the next Supreme Court, which affects so many areas, does.

I don't know the exact polls you site, but we surely agree that actually those numbers are pretty split (they are not 80/20) and that framing the polling question really matters. For what its worth, I don't know anyone in that 11% unless we're talking about saving the life of the mother or if the fetus has an abnormality that has developed in the later months of gestation that will surely cause the baby if it is to be born great suffering and death.

Actually, I have on and off wondered if Americans really understand that 90% of abortions take place in the first 12 weeks (increasingly in the first 8) and that most late procedures are either the result of abnormalities, the mother's health, or economic and geographic barriers?

Do you know the new study from Catholics United that restrictions will not reduce the numbers of abortion -- but that economic help for women might?

Santiago Chiva, Granada said...

On the topic of abortion, even many people who defend the possibility of legal abortions, they say they are not pro-abortion, but they don’t want to punish women who are in this difficult situation. In Germany a curious thing has happened. Something that reflects that legal abortion affects adversely to the country. And also that the change is possible: you can promote a culture of life with the support of the citizens, when really there is a real wish of avoid abortions. Since the liberalization of abortion in this country, the number of abortions is officially four million. For that reason, among others, children are seen as an unintended effect of having sex. Many people thought it was necessary to promote greater social acceptance of children in an aging society. And civil society acted, without waiting for action by the State to promote births. They joined several media organizations in a campaign. Interestingly, after the campaign, the birth rate has risen in Germany. The video is exciting. Look here: http://es.youtube.com/watch?v=SztG8JpxvHY
Santiago Chiva (Granada, Spain)