As Passions Flare
The New York Times ran a front-page story: As Passions Flare in Abortion Debate, Many Americans Say “It’s Complicated” (June 15). The first part points out that many people are conflicted on the topic, but it also discusses consistent-life viewpoints, and covers our member groups, Rehumanize International and Feminists for Life. The photo is of Jeannie Wallace French, a board member of member group Democrats for Life.
Evangelicals on Consistency Christianity Today published an opinion piece, Pro-Lifers Aren't Hypocrites, by Tish Harrison Warren. It specifically cites and links to us, along with several of our member groups. See Quotation of the Week below.
Sojo Summit CLN board member Lisa Stiller attended the Sojourners Summit in Washington DC this week. Sojourners, a member group, is an ecumenical group with social-justice-oriented evangelical origins. She reports: The workshop that stood out for me was Rose Marie Berger, senior associate editor and poetry editor of Sojourners Magazine. She’s active with CLN member group Pax Christi. She discussed Pax Christi’s Catholic Nonviolence Initiative, and efforts to move the Catholic Church from a Just War stance towards being a more nonviolent peacemaking church, with nonviolence a part of Catholic Social Teaching. This would require that Pope Francis put forth an encyclical. The Vatican has hosted a meeting starting this discussion. Berger pointed out that in the age of nuclear weapons and region-wide conflict, Just War has been less effective as a doctrine. So there’s an urgent need to shift to Active Nonviolent Practice.
Rose Marie Berger & Lisa Stiller at the Summit
Letting Non-Doctors Do Abortions On June 10, the U.S. state of Maine joined others allowing other medical professionals to do abortions, thinking this would increase access. While the pro-life reaction is naturally negative, there is this point: It could have the opposite effect from what they intend. Doctors who perform abortions already suffer stigma for being abortionists – but at least have the prestige of being physicians. If what they do can be done by people with lesser training, those doctors lose some prestige. Accordingly, many doctors might not stick with it. Yet the stigma that goes with doing abortions remains on the other medical practitioners. The law’s proponents thought only of adding other practitioners - not of subtracting doctors. We might not need to worry about this increasing access to abortion.
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In The Mirror-Image Counterpart of the Selfish Society, Richard Stith (pictured) points out how selfish interest tends to take care of the strong and wanted, but the unborn are the “underest of underdogs.” This also means that being on the side of the “unwanted” – whatever reason society has for not wanting them – means we can’t ever expect to be popular, because once we do become popular, our work is done and we need to go on to the other “unwanted” needing protection.
Quotation of the Week Tish Harrison Warren (pictured) Pro-Lifers Aren't Hypocrites, Christianity Today, June, 2019
Nonetheless, this accusation of pro-life hypocrisy emerges—and will likely persist—in a context where neither political party has a consistently pro-life ethos and platform, and that is indeed worth lamenting and seeking to change. Put simply, the incessant charge of pro-life hypocrisy is certainly a caricature, and yet—on a political level—there is still much cause for concern and much work to be done. Many evangelicals (myself included) are calling for a consistent ethic of life in part because we see rampant inconsistency in contemporary politics.
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