A NEW APPROACH TO THE ABORTION DEBATE

Editors note: Regular readers will know that the Australian Prayer Network is strongly opposed to abortion. We believe the bible makes it clear that the shedding of innocent blood is an abomination unto God. So there can be no question in our mind that we must oppose and attempt to reduce abortion on all fronts whilst extending non judgmental compassion, love and assistance to women faced with the decision to either abort or continue with a pregnancy.

The problem we recognise however is that current strategies to limit or defeat abortion are not working and a turnaround in perceptions on abortion, as evidenced in the report below from the highly respected Christian Barna Research Insititute resulting from analysis of the recent American elections, is unlikely in the near future. This article therefore is offered as a means of furthering discussion as to whether a change of strategy is required if we are to achieve our aims in the foreseeable future.

The defeat of the spirit of death upon which abortion feeds is a spiritual issue. Our winning of that battle will be measured by the extent to which we win the battle for the hearts and minds of the people who ultimately elect those who govern us and make the legislative decisions regarding the laws surrounding aborion.

The writer of the article Rev, The Hon, Dr Gordon Moyes AC, MLC is both a clergyman, law maker and pro life advocate and one who is therefore well credentialed to argue his point of view from a number of different positions. All views expressed by Dr Moyes are not necessarily those of the Australian Prayer Network but we believe are worthy of prayerful consideration by all who see this as an important subject upon which we must have the mind of Christ if we are to ultimately win the battle for the unborn.

But firstly an analysis of the American election results as it relates to the abortion (and other moral) issues.

Barna noted that in 2008, traditional issues did not energize the right wing of American politicis. "There was substantial issue fatigue related to the moral issues that usually rev up the troops on the right. Although the candidates had very distinct and dissimilar views on moral issues such as abortion and gay marriage, those differences were not deal breakers for most voters. Voters are tired of fighting battles that seem interminable. And in a year when there were so many other significant crises and conflicts to consider, people’s focus shifted away from the usual throat-wringing issues."

A NEW APPROACH TO THE ABORTION DEBATE
by Rev The Hon. Dr Gordon Moyes, A.C., M.L.C.

The Victorian Parliament recently passed the most liberal abortion laws in Australia, rejecting all of the proposed amendments. I was there speaking with the Parliamentarians at the time and encouraging a pro-life vote. It was obvious that the old arguments no longer carry weight in the political realm. For fifty years we have argued on the same premise.

Those of us who are pro-life continue to think and pray that our arguments will win one day. Those who are Pro-choice make sure those potential women members of Parliament on the Government side always belong to Emilys List. Everyone does, and they are all committed to a pro-choice position. The pro-life faction, therefore, can never win (under current circumstances).

During the third US Presidential debate, both Obama and McCain used the old arguments, then started with some new ideas. The Republicans repeated that they think abortion should just be completely illegal; and the Democrats repeated their only mantra of a "woman's right to choose." And the number of abortions remain mostly unchanged.

US Evangelical leader, Rev Jim Wallis wrote after the third US Presidential Debate: Pro-life" battled "pro-choice" when neither party is really either one. Those positions were more like postures, and they didn't lead to solutions. What if "pro-life" really meant policies that would protect the precious gift of life wherever it is threatened and aim at dramatically reducing the number of abortions in America? And what if "pro-choice" meant extending the range of real choices available to women -- not only to terminate a pregnancy, but also to make the decision to have a child with the necessary economic support, health care, and adoption services?

Both Barack Obama and John McCain took steps toward finding some possible common ground. Both suggested some cultural commitments and policy directions that could be most effective in dramatically reducing abortion.

Barack Obama said: "I think that abortion is a very difficult issue, and it is a moral issue and one that I think good people on both sides can disagree on. This is an issue that divides us. And in some ways, it may be difficult to reconcile the two views. But there surely is some common ground when both those who believe in choice and those who are opposed to abortion can come together and say, "We should try to prevent unintended pregnancies by providing appropriate education to our youth, communicating that sexuality is sacred and that they should not be engaged in cavalier activity, and providing options for adoption, and helping single mothers if they want to choose to keep the baby." Those are all things that we put in the Democratic platform for the first time this year, and I think that's where we can find some common ground, because nobody's pro-abortion. I think it's always a tragic situation."

Then John McCain said: We have to change the culture of America. Those of us who are proudly pro-life understand that. And it's got to be courage and compassion that we show to a young woman who's facing this terribly difficult decision. But that does not mean that we will cease to protect the rights of the unborn. Of course, we have to come together. Of course, we have to work together, and, of course, it's vital that we do so and help these young women who are facing such a difficult decision, with a compassion, that we'll help them with the adoptive services, with the courage to bring that child into this world and we'll help take care of it.

Abortion reduction is the clear common ground that could unite the pro-choice and pro-life polarities and bring us together to find some real solutions and finally see some results. New and compelling studies make the clear connection between abortion and poverty, with fully three-fourths of the women who have abortions saying that they just couldn't afford to have the child. It will be a great day when both poverty reduction and abortion reduction become non-partisan issues and bipartisan causes.

Life is precious, Jim Wallis said this week. "Americans are for life. Americans are for choice. The challenge for our political leaders, our religious leaders, and every American is to hold freedom and life together even when they seem to collide. We should do all we can to make sure we have as much of both as possible. And we can start by having a better conversation about abortion".

Can that happen in Australia? I do not know. But I do know that if the pro-life forces do not think smarter, they will continue to lose each time this issue comes up. We have no mandate to continue being faithfully ignorant and ineffective. Jesus said, "Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves."

We need a lot more people on our side of the argument to think more wisely, and to stop accusing those who do of being betrayers of the faith. That closed mind attitude will never help the future children of the world.

Source: by Rev the Hon Dr Gordon Moyes AC MLC

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