Thursday, November 1, 2007

What's the Best Way To Combat Abortion?

The following is an interesting column from Sojourner's Magazine, written by J. Christopher LaTondresse, who works in the inner-city streets of D.C., about the underlying factors that contribute to the out of control abortion rate in our country.

Tackling Abortion: The Cruel Connection (by J. Christopher LaTondresse)

There is a cruel link between poverty, race, and abortion in America. Unfortunately, many pro-life advocates fail to meaningfully address this connection.Aside from age (the abortion rate is highest among girls under the age of 15) the most predictable indicator of whether or not a woman will have an abortion is her income level and ethnic background.Before Roe vs. Wade decriminalized the procedure, many American women still had abortions, though the procedure was radically unequal in its accessibility and application. Those with available resources traveled abroad for safe procedures while low-income women relied on dangerous illegal clinics operating in the poorest neighborhoods in America.As someone who lives and works in such neighborhoods in Washington D.C., I can tell you that simply making something illegal does not keep it from happening if there is a serious demand for it – as evidenced by the rampant drug, weapons, and prostitution trades still plaguing these communities.I strongly believe in the sanctity of human life from conception until natural death; that all human beings are created in the image of God and are therefore of immeasurable worth. However, I also believe that we should spend more energy advocating policies that might actually reduce the abortion rate and spend less time challenging a judicial precedent unlikely to be overturned.

This is especially true if criminalizing the procedure does little to reduce the abortion rate and actually puts more lives at risk, as a recent study and the personal experiences of those who have lived and worked in these district neighborhoods much longer than I have would suggest.Tackling poverty, providing healthcare for all low-income women and children (especially for prenatal and postnatal care), reducing teen pregnancy by promoting abstinence and making contraceptives widely available, and increasing the child tax credit for low-income mothers and families—all represent solutions that, as part of an integrated approach, would curb unwanted pregnancies and reduce the number of abortions.

Americans on both sides of the argument have been trapped in an endless debate. Continuing liberal and conservative politicking has failed to meaningfully address the issue. Meanwhile, the abortion rate essentially stays the same.

This tired exercise continued as the entire lineup of Republican presidential hopefuls addressed the Values Voter Summit in Washington D.C., an event co-sponsored by the Family Research Council Action, Focus on the Family Action, and other conservative Christian organizations.

In a room filled with the would-be kingmakers of evangelical politics, the candidates touched on issues ranging from gay marriage to the future of federalism, but the single issue gaining the most traction with the crowd was clear. Candidates hoping to do well with this audience had to address abortion—specifically, offering their best plan to eliminate it once and for all. I was disappointed to hear the same old polarizing terms that have gotten us nowhere in the past 30 years.

Many people agree that the estimated 3,500 abortions taking place in America every day are unfitting for any caring society. Significantly reducing the number of abortions in this country—ideally to zero—should be an urgent moral priority for those of us who take the sanctity of life seriously.As we move into the 2008 presidential election cycle, let's quit demonizing each other and get to work meaningfully addressing the cruel connections underlying America's heartbreaking abortion statistics. The most important debate is not between "pro-life" and "pro-choice," but between those who will continue to be demagogues on this issue and those who will choose to pragmatically work together to save unborn lives.

J. Christopher LaTondresse is the special assistant to the CEO at Sojourners. For the most recent U.S. abortion statistics, visit: U.S. Center for Disease Control.


Peter said...

Isn’t odd how most pro-lifers ignore all these other issues that fuel abortion rates? Once it is suggested that we actually start using methods (other than protest to outlaw it) that will reduce abortions, it gets labeled as a “compromise.” Well, I’m sorry, but I want as many unborn lives saved as possible. Yes, I want abortion outlawed, but in the meantime we should also be concerned with how to most effectively and lovingly reduce the number of abortions while it is still legal.

cynthia said...

Thank you for posting this. Our youth pastor is going to be talking about abortion to the youth soon. I want him to read this and see if our m.o. regarding abortion can be altered a bit.

BTW, I awarded you a Thinking Blogger award over at my blog today. I really do get a lot out of your writing.


Tia Lynn said...

Why thanks Cynthia! I’m honored!

This is article struck a chord with me because I truly believe that it is vital for pro-life groups to back up their protests and criticisms with acts of service to relieve some of the dire circumstances that contribute to the abortion epidemic. Outlawing it is not enough. We must also tackle poverty-reduction, education and adoption reform, economic equality and justice, job-security, childcare options, community support, etc. etc., to truly achieve justice and compassion for the unborn and the families they are born into.

KingJaymz said...

Amen and Amen

Anonymous said...

So according to your logic we should legalize drugs, weapons, and prostitution since laws don't really make a big difference?

Tia Lynn said...

No, Im actually for establishing better laws restricting abortions, but since it is already legal, there are ways in which we can work to drastically reduce abortions AS we continue to work towards better laws. It's not an either/or, it's a both/and.

Anonymous said...

We can't outlaw all abortions because what about the fact a mother might die or the baby is die. Not all abortions are bad. Mibeten is used is the bible as away from the womb meaning from birth. Also must Jewish people allow abortion because they believe the soul doesn't enter until born.

Anonymous said...

Also outlawing abortion won't stop abortion many people fail to realize that. In fact most women will go to take medicie and go to unsafe countries to get abortion. Even illegal abortions in USA. U can't outlaw abortion. People a cant stop abortion.