Abortion and Politics

I read a recent article by Marcia Pally, author of The New Evangelicals: Expanding the Vision of the Common Good,” in which she discussed abortion and politics.  Although she opines that evangelical opposition to abortion is firm, the evangelical vote is not fixed and many evangelicals were happy with Democrat wins.  Since the mid-term elections, she says that evangelicals “have been developing nuanced ideas about ending abortion that will appeal to Americans across the religious and political range” and quotes Shane Claiborne, who she describes as the Elvis of younger evangelicals, as saying, “if I am going to discourage abortion I had better be ready to adopt some babies and care for some mothers.”

Ms. Pally goes on to state that because 73% of abortions are economically motivated, “abortion would drop significantly if medical, financial and emotional support were provided during pregnancy along with day care post-partum services.”  She suggested that the abortion figures would drop further if changes were made in the adoption laws and “dealt with the values taught to our kids about the worth of others and of intimate relationships, and – especially for boys – about using others for one’s own pleasure.”

I agree with only a part of Ms. Pally’s position.

Yes, adoption laws should be changed to make it easier for people to adopt children in this country.  Too many people remain on waiting lists (except if you’re a celebrity) for years to adopt children.

Yes, values should be taught to our children – but why haven’t they been taught all along.  Are parents no longer teaching their girl children about self-respect and that it isn’t necessary to lie down with a guy on a Friday night because there’s nothing else to do?

My husband’s legal practice involves mostly inner-city families.  He knows and sees dozens of 14-year old girls who believe it’s a badge of honor to be pregnant.  Inter-generational out-of-wedlock children are commonplace.  A client of his was 16-years old when she got pregnant, her mother was 16-years old when she had her, and her own daughter was 16-years old when she got pregnant for the first time.  Obviously, many children aren’t being taught that their actions have consequences, and, apparently, those consequences are not a big deal.  And what about the boy children?  They’re clearly not being taught responsibility.

I don’t agree that every aspect of medical, financial and emotional support should be provided during someone’s pregnancy along with day care post-partum services – if that support is to be provided exclusively by the taxpayer. If you can’t afford to have a child, then you should take the necessary precautions to avoid getting pregnant in the first place.  If, on the other hand, the support is provided by churches or other faith-based or charitable organizations, I have no problem with it.

But, Ms. Pally goes on to quote Midwestern mega-church pastor Greg Boyd who said, “a person could vote for a candidate who is not ‘pro-life’ but who will help the economy and the poor.”  Sounds like code for spending a whole lot of money and more “cradle to grave” entitlement talk.  Unfortunately, as I’ve written many times, the government is incapable of oversight and incompetent to determine who is truly needy.

No one seems to want to face the reality that it’s a matter of personal responsibility and poor choices.  Unless someone is raped or is pregnant due to the 1% of failed contraceptive use, no one has to have an unwanted pregnancy.

When I told my husband about this article, he immediately said, “Well, what about pregnancies that result when people are in the heat of passion?”  Being a person who’s never once had unprotected sex when I didn’t want to get pregnant, this was difficult for me to understand but I conceded, “Okay, the first time someone has sex without protection, I’ll give them a pass.”  But after that, if you continue to be sexually active, every guy should have a condom in his pocket and every girl should have or be on some type of birth control.  No ands, ifs or buts.  Period.

Why should society be required to fix the problem that’s left after people’s irresponsible behavior by then providing medical, financial and emotional support?  Why isn’t the guy providing financial support for the child and why isn’t the family providing the necessary emotional support to the mother?  Why is it society’s responsibility to provide “day care post partum services?”  Sounds like a whole new bureaucratic form of welfare.

As I said, except in very few cases, there doesn’t have to be an unwanted pregnancy, thus no need for abortion.  Focus should be directed on the personal choices made by all sexually-active persons and not on finding politicians who are willing to spend more of the taxpayers’ money on irresponsible people.  Unwed motherhood should not be glamorized and men should be held accountable for their actions.

Bigger government is not the antidote for abortion; personal responsibility in avoiding an unwanted pregnancy is.

I don’t get it, but if you do, God bless you.

Author Bio:

For over twenty years, Leona has tried to heed her husband’s advice, “you don’t have to say everything you think.” She’s failed miserably. Licensed to practice law in California and Washington, she works exclusively in the area of child abuse and neglect. She considers herself a news junkie and writes about people and events on her website, “I Don’t Get It,” which she describes as the “musings of an almost 60-year old conservative woman on political, social and cultural life in America.” It’s not her intention to offend anyone who “gets it.” She just doesn’t. Originally from Brooklyn, and later Los Angeles, she now lives with her husband, Michael, on a beautiful island in the Pacific Northwest, which she describes as a bastion of liberalism.
Author website: http://www.idontgetit.us
  • Gena Taylor

    good Lord, I agree with everything you said in your article and I’ve been saying the same things for years. Why should the taxpayers be expected to support the children of people who use no sense of responsiblity when having sex? Why do both men and women seem to feel now that if you even go out to dinner with a guy you are obligated to go to bed with him, and then not have the brains to use any sort of protection? And then either use abortion as your post sex birth control or expect other people to provide for the often unwanted child? And why is adoption so expensive in this country that so many people end up having to go overseas to adopt children, when if adoption was more affordable perhaps people wouldn’t feel the need to kill their unwanted babies? Agree with you, I do not understand the rationale here.



  • norman

    On the subject of morality……your lost in space son..

  • chief98110

    I have no idea where Ms. Pally is getting her information. I work directly with a lot of women who have had abortions. In my experience most if not all were done as a matter of convenience. An example of this was a client who aborted because she planned to go on “party” vacation and did not want to miss out on booze and drugs. In a twisted way she was actually thinking about the danger to the baby but what a way to protect this innocent life.

  • A. K.

    Sorry, unless you implement intrusive policies like China (home to two of mine), you will not stop many unwanted pregnancies. What does your husband think of that?

    You will never force people to act responsibly, maybe we can at least stop subsidizing it. We’ve replaced private charity with the ‘church of the great government’, where people weekly line up to worship at their local office, and now we suffer the consequences.

    Some random thoughts:

    First: parental rights. When my family tried domestic adoption, discovering that the child would remain the ward of the state in our custody turned us to foreign, five times (at least one the product of rape).

    Second: parental responsibility, starting with a father’s name on every birth certificate if mother ever seeks public assistance.

    To your husband’s clients: sorry bout your irresponsibility, will do what I can to help, but keep your hands out of my pocket and your government god out of my business.

  • DOOM161

    When I went through sex education in Fairfax County (Virginia) public schools, they weren’t allowed to teach us about contraception. They were required to teach us how to have sex, but weren’t allowed to teach us how to protect ourselves if we chose to do so. That didn’t make sense to me then and it doesn’t make sense to me now.

  • Ron F

    I understand that people should be responsible but not all people are and not all parents teach children values. I know people should use contraceptives but I doubt teenagers are listening to us. If a poor teenager has a baby, it is society’s problem, not just churches and other social organizations. The example of your husband’s client is a perfect example of a never ending cycle. What to do is another issue. As for Greg Boyd, I do not know if he is calling for a larger government program. I looked at his website and he stated that he is pro-life but does not believe he should get involved in politics about the issue. “First, I see no precedent in the ministry of Jesus or the entire New Testament for Kingdom leaders to be steering Kingdom people on `the right way’ to participate in politics. Jesus never so much as commented on the politics of his day — despite living in politically hot times, and despite people constantly trying to get him to weigh in on various issues.”

  • Roger Ward

    Although I am a conservative and nominally a Catholic, I find it difficult to get excited about abortion or the question of taking the pill …. though I agree that personal responsibility should dictate the use of some form of birth control. The problem is (and I have no answer for this), we’re asking the least responsible segment of society to take responsibilty for their actions. That’s unlikely to happen until we remove the safety net of expanded welfare for pregnant, unmarried girls/women …. but I doubt that the politicians and the liberals are willing to let this happen and to force illegitemate parents to live with the consequences of their actions, without the support and benefit of my tax dollars.

    • Glen Stambaugh

      Roger, seems when the “liberals & pols” assume responsibility for the results of our poor choices it’s human nature to let them. Thus we teach people to be irresponsible.
      I agree with your assessment and that significant change seems unlikely aside from some inspired sweeping cultural improvements.

    • Ron F


      I agree with you but the problem is not only do the parents have to live with their actions but the children do as well. I am not sure there is a good answer that is fair to the children and the taxpayers.