June 26, 2009

Common Ground on Abortion

If you were to drive across I-90 in SD and observe the billboards, you'd think the most popular place in the state was Wall Drug, a little tourist shop with free ice water and $.05 coffee. However if you were to criss cross through the state and observe the billboards, you'd think the most important issue in SD was abortion. After two statewide votes to ban most abortions in SD, the issue continues to be a source of division between people.

All across America battles have been waged and millions of dollars have been spent by the pro-choice and pro-life movements. In the struggle for dictating the laws of the land, it seems as though little has changed except the deterioration of dialogue and relationships. Often those on the far left and the far right can be heard demonizing their opponents by labeling the other as baby killers or women haters. Meanwhile abortions continue, children born into poverty continues, and unintended pregnancies continue.

So when Obama began talking about finding common ground in the area of abortion, I was deeply pleased. His desire to bring folks together to find places of agreement filled me with hope and resonated with ideas that I had already been thinking about.

That work is continuing and many courageous people are stepping forward (often at the cost of being attacked by their friends) and extending their hand to their opponent. They are joining together with the people like me in the middle who see this issue as a complicated one, but who agree that we should find ways to reduce abortions. I personally identify myself as pro-life, however I'm not so sure that we should criminalize abortion.

Just in the last two weeks there have been some exciting developments and conversations taking place about common ground on abortion. I encourage you to check out the new blog: www.rhrealitycheck.org/commonground as well as watch this civil and sincere dialogue of Jon Stewart and Mike Huckabee discussing abortion.

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This isn't so much an update as a really great article that I forgot to reference. It's about a similar effort occuring in Canada.

"If we made abortion illegal tomorrow it's not going to change anything. I am not concerned with the law," said Yvonne Douma, the executive-director of the British Columbia-based organization.

Her group's goal is to "create a Canada where demand for abortions dwindles and decreases until there's none left -- not because it was forced upon anyone, but because that is what women choose."


  1. I like that. Pro-life, but not willing to criminalize abortion. I might just use that in the future. What makes me saddest is people who want to criminalize abortion but not work to help the problems that proceed abortions. I fail to believe that many or most abortions happen without regard to a plethora of factors. I fail to believe that women decide to have abortions without thinking of the reprocussions. Women make the choice because of the stigma of pregnancy without support. Women make the choice because they don't have money to feed themselves or take themselves to the doctor--let alone another human! Women make the choice because they are alone and scared. I just wish we were doing more to help reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies that might lead to abortion and to eliminate poverty instead of spending money on billboards, bullets, and red tape........

  2. I think several of your points are right on. Not everyone is on board of course, but there are some folks in the pro-life camp who are realizing that more support needs to be provided for women before and after pregnancy, as well as for children once they are born.

    Just two weeks ago the new head of Focus on the Family, Jim Daly, was quoted as saying:

    "When those who are right, left and center all say, 'Let's make abortion rare,' let's meet at that starting point," Daly said. "Let's shove off the rhetoric and get together on practical matters."


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