Monday, September 29, 2008

surprise, surprise

It's turning out to be a lot harder than I thought to avoid politics on our blog- I definitely have a ton of opinions and thoughts running around in my head as the election approaches. The reason, though, that I am not going to go there is that I am sick over how divisive politics have become and I really don't want to be a part of that.

But, I'm hoping that I can share one of my "stances" for the purpose of being informative, not divisive. I have spent a lot of time researching and thinking through my thoughts on this subject and I'm going to try and explain them here. Most people who know my family history would assume that I'm a Republican, but those who really know me won't be surprised to know that I'm a Democrat. (Let me be clear, though, that I don't believe any political party holds all of the answers or perfectly represents my beliefs, but I have found that the Democratic party is most in line with my political stances.) Those who really know me also won't be surprised to know that I'm pro-life. That being said, many Christians have a difficult time understanding how anyone could be pro-life and a Democrat. My simple explanation is this: Do I believe that life begins at conception and that life is precious from conception? Absolutely. Do I believe that making abortion illegal is going to help the abortion rate in this country and do I want to criminalize women who make this decision? Absolutely not.

My in-depth explanation is pretty much stolen from Tony Campolo. Campolo and other prominent Christian leaders including Jim Wallis have started a movement called Red Letter Christians. Hopefully, you have heard of them- if not I highly suggest checking them out here. After reading Campolo's book, Red Letter Christians, I have found that my beliefs and passions make me a Red Letter Christian. While I have long known in my heart how I feel about abortion and the value of all life, Campolo gives my belief a name- consistently pro-life. He writes that this means, "...life is sacred and should be protected not only for the unborn but also for the born. This requires that there be commitments to stop wars, end capital punishment, and provide universal healthcare for all of our citizens- in addition to stopping abortion." It is very hard for me to watch people place so much value on a life for the 9 months that it is in utero and then have absolutely no concern for the well being of that child after it is born. When did that life lose value? For me, the answer is never. As much as I want to protect that life in utero, I also want to protect it when it is 2, 10, and 80 years old.

As a pro-life Democrat, I believe that there are much more effective ways of reducing abortions than by making them illegal. Some facts (taken from Campolo's book):
-Studies show that a woman working full-time at the present minimum wage cannot afford the rent of even a low-cost apartment.
-In a recent study by the Guttmacher Institute, there is evidence that if Medicaid coverage included contraception for low-income women, as many as 200,000 abortions could be prevented each year.
-Also according to this study, if the government also provided medical coverage for pregnant women who cannot afford doctor and hospital care, as well as daycare assistance for mothers who are gainfully employed to support themselves and their children, the number of abortions per year could be cut even more dramatically.

So the situation is this- a single woman who is working full-time finds out that she is pregnant. She has no housing, has no access to proper prenatal healthcare (or health care for the child after he/she is born), can't afford childcare and therefore knows she will lose her job. Do I honestly think that making abortion illegal would keep this woman from having an abortion? Do I honestly know what my decision would be if I was in the same situation?

(PS- if you want to discuss the adoption argument, then I will gladly share about the foster care system and the over 100,000 kids waiting to be adopted.)

1 comment:

Kristin said...

Sarah,
This if my first time visiting your blog---and I am not even sure how I ended up here...but I think not by accident! Thank you so much for your post. I am also a pro-life democrat, but as a Christian, I often feel the struggle of defending my position on supporting a pro-choice candidate. Anyway, I cannot thank you enough for recommending Red Letter Christians...I am so excited to check this out.
Also, my husband and I are in the process of adopting through fostercare. I would love to connect with you about your experience. My email is kristinmari13@hotmail.com.
Take Care...Kristin