If you know me well, you know that my world changed dramatically when I became a father. I was completely blindsided by how strongly I could *feel*. I've never recovered and I can't imagine life without them.
We all understand that we live in a broken world, and that women often find themselves in a place where raising a child would be very difficult. Perhaps impossible. It was the bravery of Isaac and Will's birthmother that resulted in the greatest gift I've ever received. I've always been pro-life (now more than ever).
With that said, I have not found the "Pro-Life" political movement to be adequate in its advocacy on behalf of LIFE.
I do not consider it to be effective in influencing people to think and act in ways that truly and expansively value all human life.
I do not feel that it adequately addresses some of the complex dimensions or scenarios that comprise the abortion issue.
I consider its legislative efforts to be ineffective in addressing the root of the issue, and in some ways counter productive.
Additionally, I believe that people of faith must always be careful when they become passionate about any cause. For me this becomes even more true when a cause focuses my attention on evil that is *outside* of myself.
This kind of cause, even when it is rightfully motivated, can easily become a diversion from honest introspective inquiry. I believe that in many ways the issue of abortion--particularly as it is framed by the pro-life movement and political conservatives--has become one of those diversions.
I don't believe anyone has ever truly wanted to abort a child.
When I think about the abortion issue, the most important questions for me center on the systemic forces that create those desperate situations. I want to consider the ways that my personal and political decisions contribute to those forces. I'm primarily speaking of poverty, lack of opportunities for minorities and inequalities in education.
For me, this is a more productive way of addressing evil in general, and a way that seems to align more closely with the teachings of Jesus. I want to always start by looking inward.
An externally focused legislative approach to the problem of abortion is (in my mind) an unrealistic solution in today's political climate. In addition to being unrealistic, I believe that the Pro-Life legislative agenda offers a largely ineffective solution because it only addresses the surface layer of a deep and complex issue.
I'm not saying that the issue is of little importance. I find abortion to be horrific and deeply saddening. I am saying that the for people who are called to advocate on behalf of LIFE, there are *many* other important considerations in this year's election.
While many billions of dollars have been spent rallying Christian Americans around [the 'pro-life'] cause, there is very little effort to understand the impact of the American lifestyle on the poor of the world.
There has been very little inquiry toward unfair trade policies, the enormous loss of civilian life as "collateral damage" in our military operations, or the daily opulence we enjoy as millions of children in the developing world starve.
We've not closely examined our own domestic systems of discrimination and inequality that repeatedly cultivate the kind of desperation that brings someone to an abortion clinic.
I find the stance taken by Barack Obama on many of these issues to be far more consistent with my Christian (pro-life) values.
I find the rhetoric and policies of George Bush and John McCain to be very centered in preserving and protecting the "American Way of Life", instead of preserving and protecting LIFE wherever we find it. I find them to be more focused on creating opportunity for the wealthy, than for the poor. (I'll save my thoughts on sustainable free-market economics for a different post).
I have a lot more I'd like to say about that, but for now I'll focus on the practical ramifications of this election for abortions in the United States (because that does matter to me very much).
I feel strongly that the policies of the Democratic party do far more to address issues of poverty, inequality, and the education of at-risk youth. I believe that this type of focus has proven to have an immediate, direct, tangible, and statistically demonstrable impact on the number of abortions performed in America.
It's not just that I find Barack Obama's plan to be more holistic or philosophically sound in the way it values (all) LIFE. I find that it is more effective--even when it comes to the specific issue of abortion. Caring for the poor, creating opportunity for the disadvantaged, and making adoption more accessible, simply does more to prevent abortions than having a president who is endorsed by the Pro-Life Movement ever could.
In the last few decades, the greatest declines in abortions occurred during the Clinton administration when impoverished mothers had more options, resources for adoption were greater, and the under-privileged had greater access to education and job training. The last eight years have seen a diminished reduction of abortions as many of those programs have been cut.
Sadly, those tax dollars were reallocated to a war that has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians (both born and unborn).
I'm pro-life and I'm voting for Barack Obama.
I'm open to your thoughts. Let me know if anything requires clarification.