Sunday, February 13, 2005

Pastor on abortion

Maybe there's some hope for this world after all. I've chosen to publish an article by a man of the cloth who is pro-choice but anti-abortion, much like the majority of sensible Americans (and Australians who are in the throes of a national debate at this time.)
Grodge True Ozarks
Published Wednesday, February 9, 2005
To end abortion, address poverty
Rev. Roger Ray © 2005, Springfield News-Leader -->The subject of abortion is one I have resolutely tried to stay away from, not because it is so controversial but because I am a man. As desperate as the decision to abort a pregnancy is, I have always felt that it was not the business of men to legislate a woman's decision about her own womb.
Still, this matter of governance of women's reproductive life has been made political fodder in the last presidential election and more recently in a series of Cal Thomas articles, which are so full of out and out lies that I feel that I must say something. Thomas has sought to make the topic of abortion a Republican vs. Democrat issue with Democrats being the cause of abortion and Republicans being the knights in shining armor setting out to save the lives of the unborn.
What Thomas knows (and what politicians know) but would never say, what he knows but would find to completely undo this horrible manipulation of uninformed voters, is that the abortion rate over the past 20 years has risen while Republicans have been in the White House and fallen while Clinton was in office.
During the eight years that Clinton was in the White House, the abortion rate fell by nearly 50 percent. Ironically, the anti-abortion rhetoric of the Republican candidates becomes a reality of more than 500,000 more abortions per year than during Democratic administrations.
If we could just get this topic out of the despicable partisan manipulation of voters and look for the truth, some clear insights emerge. Why did abortion (as well as violent crime and homelessness) decline during the Clinton years? Because of the economic circumstances of America's poorest people.
Abortion is almost always a decision of desperation. Poverty is the single largest issue in the abortion rate. We can teach sexual restraint, but we all know that sex still happens. Poverty can be changed. If you remove the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion while leaving young women in desperate poverty, then you will have little impact on the real abortion rate.
What would dramatically reduce the rate of abortions in the USA? Here is a list of absolutely effective measures:
• Raise the minimum wage to a livable level.
• Make health care universal.
• Give universal access to higher education.
Great, you say, but who would pay for it? Take a look at the European nations that already do these three things. The drop in crime, welfare and prison populations will more than balance the economic equation. We can be a better, healthier society and economically thrive at the same time.
The myth is that somehow democracy depends on continuing the rapid rate of transferring wealth from the poor to the rich, as if Jesus went to the cross to give the rich a capital gains tax cut.
The message of the gospels is clear: Show compassion to the poor. When we take that mandate seriously then we find that not only the poor suffer less, but the whole of civilization becomes much more healthy. Jesus seemed to know what was important.
Roger Ray, Springfield, is pastor of National Avenue Christian Church, Springfield , MO.
Copyright © 2005, The Springfield News-Leader, a Gannett Company.
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