Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Abortion Divide

Commenting in the New York Times on the controversy surrounding President Obama's appearance at Notre Dame University Sheryl Gay Stolberg writes:

In nearly four months in office, President Obama has pursued a careful two-pronged strategy on abortion, enacting policies that secure a woman’s right to the procedure while vowing to move beyond the culture wars that have divided the nation on the issue for more than three decades.

Now, Mr. Obama is suddenly in the thick of the battle he had hoped to transcend, and his delicate balancing act is being put to the test.

The confluence of two events — his commencement speech on Sunday at the
University of Notre Dame, in Indiana, and his forthcoming choice of a candidate to
replace Justice
David H. Souter, who is retiring from the Supreme Court — threaten to upend Mr. Obama’s effort to “tamp down some of the anger” over abortion, as he said in a news conference last month, and to distract from his other domestic priorities, like health care.

The invitation from Notre Dame, a Roman Catholic institution, has riled opponents of abortion, who object to giving such a platform to a supporter of abortion rights. The local bishop has vowed to boycott the ceremony. Some graduating seniors are planning to protest it. Conservatives, frustrated by what they regard as Mr. Obama’s skillful efforts to paint himself as a moderate, are all over the airwaves denouncing him as “the most radical, pro-abortion of any American president,” as
Newt Gingrich, a former House speaker, said on Fox News...

As president, Mr. Obama, who during the campaign answered a question about when human life begins by saying it was “above my pay grade,” has tried to straddle the abortion divide. He has done so partly by reaching out to religious conservatives, partly by avoiding the most contentious legislative battles and partly by reversing the policies of his predecessor,
George W. Bush, a faithful ally of abortion opponents, in piecemeal fashion — all while the nation has been consumed by the economic crisis.

He has named abortion rights advocates to top jobs;
Dawn Johnsen, a former legal director of Naral Pro-Choice America, is his pick to run the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel. He has repealed the so-called Mexico City rule, which prohibited tax dollars from going to organizations that provide abortions overseas; lifted Mr. Bush’s limits on embryonic stem cell research; stripped financing for abstinence-only sex education; and is seeking to undo a last-minute Bush regulation giving broad protections to health providers who refuse to take part in abortions.
Read the entire article HERE.

Also, check out this post by Al Mohler

Mr. Obama went on to call for "Open hearts. Open minds. Fair-minded words." In the end, the President's comments were entirely about how Americans should discuss or debate abortion. There was no serious consideration of abortion itself. President Obama merely talked about talking about abortion.

This was a moral evasion and an insult to the importance of the issue. If the President had actually addressed the issue of abortion -- if he had actually even offered a defense or rationale for his own position -- he would have dignified the issue. Instead, Mr. Obama issued what amounted to a call for civility.

When the President called for Americans to agree that, while differing on abortion, "we can still agree that this heart-wrenching decision for any woman is not made casually," he failed to make clear why this is so. If the unborn baby is not a person who possesses an intrinsic right to life, why is the decision to abort so "heart-wrenching?" If the fetus is just a collection of cells, why the angst? Furthermore, does the fact that a decision is "heart-wrenching" make it right or rational?


Kimberly said...

What a clear and thoughtful response to this issue.

Thanks for posting.



Mike said...

I liked this post...but don't agree with all of the suppositions in it...particularly Mohler's reasoning about why some women would consider abortion a heart-wrenching decision. Mohler shows his bias without any consideration as to why the decision to have an abortion might be heart-wrenching. I think there are other reasons besides the thought that you are ending a life.

..thus the debate continues with little understanding of other's views. When we stop marginalizing and demonizing each other's view and really listen, then I think there is some common ground to be found. I know many of my pro-life friends would see this as moral compromise, but on that point I understand why they think so...but respectfully disagree.

hmmm, I think I am becoming a radical moderate.

Todd Pruitt said...


So such thing as a radical moderate.

Also, the problem is that we who are pro-life do understand the views of pro-abortionists. And it is indeed moral compromise to seek "common ground" with those who think it makes sense to slaughter babies in the womb.

You see, pro-abortionists can take ground gradually. But morality cannot compromise with what is immoral. Good cannot compromise with evil. Truth cannot compromise with error.

Jill said...

Amen Pastor Todd! If we believe abortion is murder (which I do), how do I find a compromise or "common ground" on the issue? It is impossible.