Finding Common Ground on Abortion


Can we agree it’s time to stop politicizing abortion, and stop allowing politicians and the abortion industry to get rich and get votes off BOTH of us?  Can we agree that BOTH of us have been taken advantage of by everyone from presidents to candidates to doctors to lobbyists to organizations to political party leaders to makers of pharmaceuticals to celebrities?

Can we agree that this is in no way about religion or secularism, but about human life and its boundaries?  Can we agree that one doesn’t have to be “religious” in order to understand that human life is sacred – and that once we deem one human life as less sacred than another’s then it becomes a “might is right” argument, where no human life is sacred any longer?

Can we agree it’s finally time to stop making this an issue about rights and ideologies, and remember this is about human life? Somewhere in there we forgot that.  Can we remember that, after all the hyperbole and politics and anger are removed, abortion is about the intentional killing of an unborn human and that, really, we humans were not designed to be able to easily live with having done that?

Can we agree that we live in the most technologically, intellectually advanced time in the history of mankind – – and yet we still can’t figure out what to do with an unborn fetus other than to squash it like a spider under our shoe when it gets in our way?  Can we agree that on some level it is humanly and philosophically unconscionable that we, in effect, “eat our own”, overwhelmingly for our own convenience?

Can we agree that when we look out over the 55,000,000 unborn babies that have been aborted in the past forty years in the United States alone, that it speaks to the issue that just perhaps abortion was used as the first option rather than the last; that perhaps women weren’t supported enough to have “choices” other than abortion? That perhaps an industry has profited off the bodies of pregnant girls and women?  That perhaps many women have become lazy and unconscionably considered abortion as “contraception”?  Can we agree when a woman returns for her 5th or 8th or 13th abortion there is a profound disconnect between she and her soul – that no one seems to care enough to talk about?

Can we agree that it is despicable and tragic that an industry has commercialized abortion, has created faulty research findings, has expended alot of money, perhaps those taxpayer funds you and I both pay for, to lobby congress to allow it to get away with skirting the real issues of abortion?

Can we agree that no abortion clinic should be without emergency equipment, that it should be ADA-approved, that it shouldn’t have old blood from previous women still staining the table, that a doctor should never inappropriately pat an aborting female on the bottom or make humiliating sexual comments to her, that an uneducated front desk receptionist shouldn’t be administering death-defying anesthesia, that no woman should ever be forced to be carried out unconscious in the arms of a paramedic because her abortionist was too cheap to have a clinic in a building where a stretcher could fit inside the doorway?

Can we agree that it is not humane when an abortion clinic is sometimes not even as clean or safe or inspected as a veterinary clinic or a hair salon or a fast food restaurant?  How is this respectful to women?   Can we agree that when your dog is sometimes better cared for than women in an abortion clinic, there’s something profoundly wrong here?  Can we agree that noRoe v. Wade decision was ever meant to condone that?

Can we agree that it is dangerous to a girl’s health when she is literally left on her own, when she can buy an abortion pill out of a machine as easy as a Dr. Pepper?  And that if she’s too young to even legally sign her own name on her own medical treatment form, then perhaps that’s an indication that her abortion should be at least performed by a responsible doctor?  Can we agree that this is yet one more example of how females aren’t being treated right by this industry?

Can we agree that there is a profound cognitive disconnect when a teenage girl can obtain and ingest a dangerous abortion pill completely medically unsupervised and alone, easier than she can get two Tylenol from the school nurse for a headache?  Can we agree that just perhaps this speaks to the issue of powerful lobbying and that people are getting rich off the lives of incredibly vulnerable little girls?  Can we agree that this is unacceptably dangerous so-called “healthcare”?  Can we agree that in some ways this has eerie parallels to sex trafficking?

Can we agree that the pharmaceutical houses that create oral abortifacients are a billion-dollar industry, and powerful lobbiers getting rich off the bodies of teenage girls and women?

Can we agree that sex-selective abortion intentionally seeks to learn the sex of a fetus and then kills it when it is a girl – and only because it is a girl?  How can anyone remotely claim this is pro-woman?  What kind of message are we sending girls about their own worth and value, and we’re sending to boys and men, when we loudly proclaim our respect for womanhood – and then remain silent about girls being killed in the womb?  Aren’t we sending a profoundly mixed message here?

Can we agree that no vulnerable teenage girl should be taught how to lie to her parents about going to have an abortion, and helped to sneak into an abortion clinic – and then abandoned after her abortion to medically and psychologically heal herself afterward with whatever rudimentary tools she can find (if any), when she is too young to be left alone with this life-changing decision?

Can we agree it is unconscionable that an abortion clinic actually pays its employees bonuses when they literally sell an abortion over the phone to a woman?   That this only further documents the profiteering of the lucrative abortion industry?  Can we agree that medicine is supposed to be above profit, and that even the ancient Hippocratic Oath itself revered medicine as a noble art and not a business?

Can we agree that neither one of us want to see women hurt?  Can we agree that both our sides need to commit to not just talking, but listening?    Can we put aside ideologies and come together as intelligent and compassionate and innovative, critically-thinking women, helping and respecting women and human life?  One doesn’t need to be “pro-choice”, or “pro-life”, or hide behind any other myriad of labels, to recognize that.

Can we agree that we are ALL equally human and fallible here; that neither of us have all the answers and it’s folly to pretend that we do?  Can we agree to stop holding it against each other when both of us are sometimes erringly human?

Can we agree that we both have a lot to learn here and that we need to keep our hearts open?    I will start.  I will tell you that I respect you, that I respect your position, that I am more interested in working with you than against you.  I offer you my hand, woman to woman, in respect and friendship.”


In recent years, there has been more talk about “abortion reduction” — from religious and secular voices on both sides of the issue and from places as prominent as the Obama White House.

If the idea hasn’t caught on widely yet, it’s largely because the nature of the abortion debate has poisoned the possibilities for negotiation and common ground. Indeed, the two sides have projected their positions as non-negotiable: the right to life itself vs. a woman’s authority over her own body.

For one side, the issue is often viewed as profoundly religious, and with no shades of gray. If you’re a devout Catholic, for instance, you are taught by the Vatican that abortion is a grave evil. If your faith guides you to the conviction that abortion is killing, what ground is there to give? Yet couldn’t that same commitment to saving lives also compel one to join the cause of abortion reduction, even while working for more comprehensive prohibitions? This is not Pollyannaish fantasizing. Any rigorous study of abortion dynamics reveals significant payoffs for both the “pro-life” and “pro-choice” movements if the country undertook a sincere effort to reduce abortion.

For the Christian conservatives who have led the charge against abortion, reduction strategies promise the victory of fewer pregnancies ended — not as resounding as overturning Roe v. Wade perhaps, but nothing to scoff at. Another likely outcome: a more responsible approach to sex, such that fewer pregnancies come as unwelcome surprises, and that fewer pregnant women find themselves without the partners they need to feel confident about bringing a new child into the world. This has “family values” written all over it.


For most of the past 30 years, a majority of Americans have opted for the middle ground in answering Gallup’s long-term measure of abortion attitudes: “Do you think abortions should be legal under any circumstances, legal only under certain circumstances, or illegal in all circumstances?” A special analysis of multiple Gallup Polls conducted over the last two years shows that on average, 55% of Americans said they believed abortion should be legal “only under certain circumstances.” As is seen throughout Gallup polling on abortion, Americans are ambivalent about abortion, and this illustrates it.

What has changed over time, and what distinguishes some groups of Americans from others, are the percentages holding the two more extreme positions on the issue. Overall, 24% of Americans think abortion should be legal “under any circumstances” while 20% think it should be “illegal in all circumstances.”


Therefore, a shift in tactics must be undertaken to ensure future victories for the pre-born children.  We certainly are not suggesting that the pro-life movement adopt an “exception” mentality.   What we are suggesting is that we realign our arguments to reflect our strengths upon which the vast majority of Americans can agree.

There are 20% of the people who believe that abortion should always be illegal.  They will almost always vote pro-life.  We must aggressively court the 52% of the people who believe that abortion should only be legal in certain circumstances.  These people are already mostly with us, but we have lost them on the pro-abortion wedge issues.  If we can gain their votes by appealing to strong position on which have commonalities, we have a convincing margin for victory.

Outlawing 98% of abortion will close 100% of the abortion mills. As mentioned before, we cannot insanely continue to do the same things over and over and expect different results.  We cannot chase after the wedge issues where we face a headwind of 88% of voters who are against us.  We must remain focused on our strengths.  Abortion is generally unpopular because it kills innocent babies and hurts women.  Only a sliver of the population thinks that is a good thing.  Abortion hurts people, and the vast majority of Americans do not want people hurt.  When we focus there, we win.

We must be willing to work with the like-minded groups who want to push forward with a strategy to stop abortion.  Unfortunately, a few groups and individuals have proven themselves to be obstructions to the process, or believe that their way is the only one that is right and righteous.

We must view pro-life groups that do not share our views and goals as being simply different members of the same body—not the enemy.  As we extend grace to each other, we may actually find that the work of those who whom we may tactically disagree actually has merit.

Therefore, we propose a “coalition of the willing” of sorts.  We seek cooperation and community with those who share our vision to work a unified plan to end abortion now, at this momentous time in history.  We seek those who will help the movement refocus on our strengths in both the public square and the political realm.  We seek to build a pro-life nation that is ultimately anti-abortion enough to take meaningful action to ensure our country ultimately becomes abortion-free.  That is the path toward ultimate victory for every baby!


How about imagining a new America in which people on both sides of this battle sit down — from the local to national level — and say, OK, we’re a million miles apart in what we believe, but there’s one thing we have in common. Without demonizing anyone, let’s work together to reduce the number of abortions. … How can we respect the belief of those who are against abortion availability, while acknowledging the fact that it is legal and likely to stay that way?

Right now is the moment in our history when instead of making ourselves feel good by shouting slogans, we can take concrete steps to begin peace talks.

The alternative is dissension, bitterness, anger, and . . . more abortions.


“I think what you find is many who are pro-life are not about overturning Roe v. Wade but trying to minimize the numbness of the decision,” said one GOP pollster, granted anonymity to speak candidly. “This isn’t about Roe v. Wade. We’re to a point where that’s no longer a point of the discussion; it’s about what’s acceptable.”


And so, in this great moral battle of two generations, a strange no-man’s-land is emerging: a place where pro-choicers reshape the debate away from who’s right and who’s wrong into ways to make abortions safer, legal, but rare. Nastiness may bubble underneath, but superficially at least the ultimate goal for both sides, in this pretend peace, is the fantasy land of zero abortions.


It is true that many in the pro-life movement temporarily settle for “imperfect” law, that is, law which permits abortion under severely limited circumstances, such as in cases of rape or incest. Such legislation is “supported” only as the lesser of evils and those who support it will continue to work toward legislation which prohibits the killing of any unborn, for any reason.

This does not imply that abortion in cases of rape or incest is less of an “intrinsic” evil than in other cases, or that pro-life people accept it as a morally lesser evil. One might call it a legally lesser evil. It implies that at a particular point the political reality may be that it is impossible to bring about legislation that prohibits all abortion. In such circumstances, moral theologians point out that it is better to achieve “imperfect” legislation that may save the lives of a great many unborn babies now, while continuing to work strenuously for “perfect” legislation that may save the life of every unborn baby at some future date.

In my judgment, it is unfair to accuse those who fight for imperfect legislation, as the best they can get at a given time, of “sacrificing the lives” of those unborn they know they can not protect at the same time. I personally know public officials who have spent their entire political lives fighting to protect all unborn children. To date they have not been successful, but I thank God that they have succeeded in protecting huge numbers. Moreover, they have helped keep alive in our country the belief that all abortion is evil. They have helped keep the entire pro-life movement alive. Many of them have consistently risked their political futures to do this, and have taken bitter abuse from the pro-abortion movement. For anyone in the pro-life movement to accuse them of “trading off” babies conceived by rape or incest, as though they were callous to the sacredness of human life, or simply trying to protect themselves politically, would be unjust, uncharitable and terribly counterproductive to the cause of life.


“In my view, the pro-life movement at this point should focus on seeking to reduce the number of abortions. At times it will require political education and legal fights, at times it will require education and the establishment of alternatives to abortion, such as adoption centers. Unfortunately, such measures are sometimes opposed by so-called hard-liners in the pro-life movement. These hard-liners are fools. Because they want to outlaw all abortions, they refuse to settle for stopping some abortions; the consequence is that they end up preventing no abortions.”― Dinesh D’SouzaLetters to a Young Conservative


Avik Roy, writing for NRO, said that the “standard position on abortion” for those on the right who are pro-life should be that abortion is “illegal in all circumstances except for rape, incest, and a threat to the life of the mother.” Roy said this position:

appeals to those who want abortion to be rarer, but not entirely illegal. It offers blue-state Republicans a way to talk about the issue that falls within the mainstream of public opinion in their states. It’s a way to improve and expand the degree to which fetal life is valued.


One of the many injuries that Roe has imposed upon the country is that it has made it hard for this middle 58 percent of voters, who think abortion should be legal in some cases but not all, to find a home. Most Americans reject the radical feminist argument that abortion is the ethical equivalent of clipping one’s fingernails. But they’re also uncomfortable with the notion that every blastocyst is sacred.



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