Belief into Action on Abortion

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Here’ s an interesting opinion piece from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on the next step in the dealing with abortion.  It does not deal with the underlying respect for all human life.  This is still needed for a new “ecology” of the human person to evolve. We have a lot of work to do in terms of dialogue and teaching. However, in the meantime we need pragmatic strategies to reduce abortions. One life saved is one life saved!


By Jonathan Merritt

For the Journal-Constitution

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

In years past, abortion has been a black and white issue. Either you were for it or you were against it. Those who support abortion rights have been villainized as murderers and those who oppose it have been called religious fanatics. But recently, this debate has evolved with the inclusion of one simple word: reduction.

Recent studies indicate that abortion reduction has struck a chord with Americans on both sides of the issue. Despite the divides over the legality of abortion, a 2008 poll by Public Religion Research found that 83 percent of voters agree that elected leaders on both sides should work together to reduce abortions through policies that prevent unintended pregnancies, expand adoption, and increase economic support for women wishing to carry pregnancies to term. This sentiment also was supported by similar percentages of anti-abortion rights voters and white evangelicals.

Will President-elect Barack Obama make good on his promises to find abortion reducing solutions? Is it really going to be a priority for the Obama administration? Does he have the resolve to spend the necessary political capital to accomplish it? Unfortunately, by all indications, the answer to each of these questions is “no.”

Obama has an abysmal record when it comes to abortion. He told the Planned Parenthood Action Fund in 2007 that the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) would be the first piece of legislation that he would sign as President. The FOCA would invalidate almost every restriction including the partial-birth abortion ban and open up federal funding for abortions both domestically and overseas. No one doubts that the result of this legislation will be more abortions not less.

This might seem confusing if you watched the Saddleback Faith Forum and heard Obama tell Pastor Rick Warren, “And so, for me, the goal right now should be “how do we reduce the number of abortions?” As the saying goes, “actions speak louder than words,” and Obama’s actions indicate that he will not remain true to his stated goal of reducing abortions.

This is unfortunate for America because we are at a pivotal, if not historical moment, in one of the most controversial debates of the last generation. Both pro- and anti-abortion rights voters have finally found something on which we can agree, and people all across this great land are placing walk with reduction talk. For example, a banner hangs in an abortion clinic in North Carolina that reads, “You still have options. Adoption is one of them. We’re here for you 24/7.” The banner was placed there by Bethany Christian Services, the largest adoption agency in the United States that has decided to work with abortion clinics instead of against them.

This sort of thinking also has spawned entities like, which supports programs to reduce teen pregnancy, expand adoption programs, support pregnant women and financially assist new parents. Like Bethany, has joined the 83 percent of voters who agree the time has come for all of us to work together where we can agree.

There is no doubt in my mind that the abortion debate is going to shift, and it has powerful implications. For those who are pro-abortion rights, it gives them a moral umbrella under which to stand. For those of us on the other side, it says our position amounts to more than just talking points. We must now begin working with real people in real communities to do all we can to protect the unborn.

I recognize that to simply say I’m “pro-life” and vote accordingly is to take the easy route. The hard work is translating belief into action, putting feet to my faith, transcending rhetoric and seeking solutions. And the government also must act. If Obama wants to add another mark on the checklist under “unprecedented and historical,” he will fulfill his promise to reduce the multitudinous number of abortions currently allowed by the United States.

> Jonathan Merritt is the national spokesman for the Southern Baptist Environment and Climate Initiative.


  1. Obama’s agenda is whatever Planned Parenthood tells him it is. They got him elected–they’ll tell him what to do.

    All this hand-wringing over what Obama is going to do is a gigantic waste of time. Those of us who are pro-life need to organize and develop a plan to counter Planned Parenthood’s efforts. The problem is, pro-abortion produces tremendous amounts of money–pro-life does not.

  2. “…in the meantime, we need pragmatic strategies to reduce abortions.”

    I know that the section in the Catechism under “What the Church teaches about abortion” (2270 – 2275), doesn’t state this, so I’m assuming that your opinion is formed by a teaching that it’s in a different section?? “One life saved is one life saved!”, Blessed be God for that! (40 Days for Life campaign I believe saved well over 600 children in North America [Lifesitenews]). One life, murdered, however, is still a mortal sin (for all those involved) that needs to be prevented…period.

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