On being a pro-life voter
September 12, 2008, 1:05 pm
Filed under: politics, social action

Over the past couple of weeks, paying even a little bit of attention to the political conventions, speeches, vice presidential nominations, etc., I have done an unusual amount of thinking about the whole abortion debate.  Especially since one candidate’s running mate, in particular, seems to have been chosen based largely on this issue, it’s been in my brain.

I’ll say that in all of my political thinking that’s shifted around a bit in the past ten years or so, one of the bigger reasons I’ve maintained a soft spot in my heart for conservative politics is because of this issue.  I won’t go fully into my position on “when life begins,” because, well, it’s not anything you haven’t heard before.  Let’s just say that with advances in medical technology that push the age of viability of premature babies earlier and earlier, I’m pretty opposed to ending that life.  Oh, and for the record, I am opposed to the death penalty based on the same logic – if it’s alive, don’t kill it.

But I’ve come to a realization that I’d like to test out here.  Feel free to push back if you think I’m naive, uninformed, or wrong – I may be all of the above.

I’m no longer a pro-life voter. 

The anti-abortion people would have us all believe that if we could just elect conservative presidents over the next 10-15 years, we could significantly reshape the Supreme Court such that Roe vs. Wade would get overturned.  The pro-choice folks, of course, are using the same arguments to appeal to their constituency, but obviously in the opposite direction.  But I’m thinking this is a bit of a smoke screen on both sides. 

Let’s say for the sake of argument that they’re correct.  Roe vs. Wade gets overturned.  Does that mean that abortion will indeed be illegal in all 50 states?  I find that very hard to believe.  If anything, I can see the issue being thrown back to the states to decide.  So basically there will be an “abortion” map of the U.S., which looks will roughly look like the red state/blue state political map.

So in a pragmatic sense, I just don’t see myself prioritizing my position on abortion.  If things “go my way,” they still won’t change much  Meanwhile, we could be spending a lot more of our attention and resources on other “pro-life” issues, like poverty, prevention of teen pregnancies, and care for the mothers who choose to not have abortions when in difficult circumstances.

O.k., fire away, and tell me I’m stupid, or tell me I’m whatever.


5 Comments so far
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I really enjoy reading your writings. They are the push back that provokes thinking.

I wish that I had taken Ethics this semester because they address abortion in a way that would answer that question. As I have not and have only heard bits and pieces of it, I’ll have to table my answer to another time.

Personally, I’ve come to the point where it’s a “whole-life” approach. It’s just as important to defend and take care of all forms of human life. It’s not something where we just focus on one aspect of life. We should seek to care for life as a whole because of how precious it is. I think to often we tend to be very narrow instead of having a balance.

BTW, hope the classwork is going well and that it’s progressing at a steady pace

Comment by Michael

I think this is a grt post and I’m very sympathetic to the same well, sympathies. I haven’t fully brandished a blue flag yet but I’m def not red… so at this point I dunno. but this is one of those sore spots of contention indeed…

Comment by wayne park

Ok, I’ll push back!

Still, in spite of my pushing back let me say that I really enjoy a good debate and you’ve started one.

I have to agree with Michael in the “wholistic” approach to life which is why I am still pro-life.

The “pro-choice” side of the argument really only promotes one choice to the absence of any other–that is abortion—abortion of a pregnancy, in most cases, for convenience sake. You can’t tell me there aren’t countless individuals willing to adopt an unwanted child. I know, for I am one! “Choice” should involve more than an ultimatum. And “choice” should be given to those who have no voice—the unborn.

Yes, if Roe vs. Wade were overturned power would be given back to the states but that doesn’t mean it isn’t the right thing to do.

We have such duplicity in our society such that an individual who attacks a pregnant woman and both the mother and child die he can be charged with double murder. How is it double murder when society doesn’t recognize the unborn as a life?

We need to pursue a culture of Life if we are to remain true to the aspirations of the founding fathers in the Declaration of Independence….”life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”…or is it “life-only-for-those-who-haven’t-been-conceived-to-women-who-want-a-baby, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…?”

Comment by Stephan Koch

Thanks for stopping by and for your comments Stephan. You’ve articulated things I also believe here. I definitely haven’t abandoned a pro-life position, although I don’t think I fully agree with you regarding the “abortions for the sake of convenience” thing.

My main point here is that even though I am still pro-life, I just don’t think abortion will be overturned, and in the mean time, there are many others ways that we could be expressive of a “culture of life” than focusing political energy on that one single cause. It’s a good and right cause, but not the only one.

Comment by steve lewis

Hey, always glad to jump into a debate 🙂

I don’t think we (pro-lifers) are neglecting “other ways” of preserving a culture of life. You’re right Life for the Unborn is not the only way, other ways are: doing all we can to focus on adult stem cell research instead of embryonic stem cell research, addressing poverty through our own and church giving, focusing on all lives instead of bettering the quality of a few priveliged (sp?) individual lives, among a few.

One thing I love about this country is our ability to civilly disagree for the mutual benefit of all involved.

Comment by Stephan Koch

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